From starting creative projects from scratch, I learned that friends and family might be a great starting point to get you going, but it is imperative that you go out of your own way to find your target audience and expand your circle of people.
I found this lesson most obvious earlier in January when our team at the Habit Factory was launching our first UX Interview Workshop for UX Designers and UX Researchers. I found myself going around asking old peers and classmates (knowing that a handful of them would already be in the UX industry) if they knew of anybody who needed help through the UX interview process.
Roughly half knew somebody who might be interested in our workshop, and the other half didn’t. It was a 50% chance I’d find a lead with my current strategy.
While the odds weren’t too bad, I thought there had to be an easier way to find the people I wanted to help.
This is where expanding your network comes into play.
Say I don’t bother connecting with new people and rely 100% on friends and family for leads. I really don’t think I’d get that far by doing this long term. I’m locked in with the people I currently know, and depend on them for expanding their circles instead of me expanding my own.
On the other hand, if I take some time to introduce myself to new designers, new creatives, design students, people transitioning into the UX industry from all over the world—suddenly the world feels a lot bigger and thus I have a larger pool of people to connect with.
If you’re starting a new business, a new project, a charity or a kickstarter, go past your family and friends as customers. Expand your immediate circle. Find the people that are interested in the help you offer.