The idea of networking can be a little intimidating. What, we wonder as we hover around the perimeter of a just-started conversation at an industry event full of people who we’d love to impress, what if we say the wrong thing? What if we fluff our lines and watch that possible commission or collaboration sail down the river? What if we don’t make the impression we thought we would? Far easier, then, to stay at home with a boxset and a bowl of pasta, right?
“Networking should be a joyful experience, because it’s about meeting new people. It’s not just a trick to generate more sales or find some humdrum job – we see it as a lifestyle,” says Shapr CEO Ludovic Huraux. “Connecting regularly with inspiring individuals is the key to a more meaningful, fulfilling, healthy existence. And that’s why we made an app.”
Shapr is a free networking app that’s helping creative professionals make the right connections. Its algorithm works to put the right people in front of you based on your location, goals, and interests. Are you a documentary filmmaker looking to float a possible new project to a potential producer? Try Shapr. Got an amazing idea for a zine but no access to a risograph? Try Shapr. Just want to meet someone like-minded for a macchiato and a natter? Try Shapr.
Fundamentally, the Shapr team believe that meeting new people is a healthy way to grow personally and professionally. They want to make meeting a new professional every week into an ongoing habit for freelancers and creatives. And here at It’s Nice That, we think it’s a good idea.
For all the joy and freedom that a freelance life offers — you can go swimming whenever you like! You can eat lunch at 11AM! Every day can be a duvet day! — there are times when the sense of routine, structure, and stability that comes with working in an office or a studio can be beneficial to the creative process.
Unfortunately, it isn’t always as easy as strolling into the nearest agency and seeing how long you can hover by the fancy new coffee machine in the kitchen eavesdropping on strategy meetings before security twig that you’re not in possession of the right lanyard and turf you out.
That’s where Shapr comes in handy. Find someone inspiring to spend time with, book that time in, commit to that time and then reap the rewards of time spent well. There’s no right or wrong way to do that, of course. Maybe you’re both early birds who want to get the creative juices flowing before the sun rises, or perhaps you’ve come to realise that you work better after Countdown has ended; either way, you’re likely to find someone with similar proclivities using the app.
If you get on like a house on fire — and why wouldn’t you, you’re doubtless both uber-charming, massively talented creatives, after all — then it could become a regular thing. That’d be nice, wouldn’t it? Making new friends is always nice.
When we speak to freelancers, they often mention the fact that spending a lot of time alone means you can occasionally lose perspective on your own work. It’s all too easy to get sucked into worrying about microscopic details, forgetting that more often than not the bigger picture is what really matters. Then there’s the fact that most of us are our own harshest critics.
Meeting a stranger, however odd and daunting it might initially seem, can be a brilliant way of getting an objective set of fresh eyes on your latest project. Which, sometimes, is all we really need, and want.
Whether you want the Spanish Inquisition or a just friendly chat and an excuse to get out of the house, using Shapr to get you in the mindset of arranging weekly meetings with new people could be just the thing you’re after.
So what are you waiting for? Download Shapr today and get started.
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