Hey everyone! My name is Deanna and I am the owner of Deanna Rachel Photography. I am a wedding photographer for couples who are intentional about planning their wedding around what matters most to them and their journey. Being born and raised in Calgary, I’m truly grateful to live in a city that values community over competition, and was honoured to have been asked to photograph this month’s YYC Girl Gang event. 

Running your own business can feel like one of the hardest things you can do. There’s a never ending list of things to do, decisions to be made, and people to follow up with. Because of this, “networking” isn’t often high on the list of priorities. However, as I’ve come to learn in the 3 years of being my own boss, networking is one of the BEST things you can do for business.

When I first started out as a photographer, my number one source of referrals wasn’t through friends or family; it was through *other photographers*. Seems backwards, doesn’t it? I had taken the time to meet with them, hear their story, ask questions and get to know them on a personal level. What ended up happening in many scenarios was that when those photographers were asked to shoot a session and they were unavailable, they sent those clients my way. That was huge for me, as we all know how hard it can be getting business when you’re just starting out. While most people avoid getting close to their competition, I don’t think my business could have gotten to where it is today without their help.

As a side note, I’m obviously not telling you to go out and meet as many people in your industry in the hopes of getting their business from them; it must be earned through trust and a genuine interest in them as a person. 

Now I know it’s easier said than done – networking events can often feel awkward and uncomfortable. But when it comes to a YYC Girl Gang event, it feels less like a networking event and more like an opportunity to gather with friends. 

This month’s event was held at Starbelly, a beautiful restaurant in South Calgary. Upon arriving, we were greeted with the most amazing swag bag from some awesome local businesses. We filled up on Starbelly’s delicious brunch, grabbed a coffee (and maybe a mimosa or two) and sat down to meet other boss babes at our table. We then got to hear Kate Klassen of Dote Magazine share her beginnings with the magazine, the challenges they went through and where they are today. She also spoke on how to get published in magazines, and gave specific Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to contacting magazine editors. Kate took the time to answer our questions and give encouragement. Afterwards, we were given the chance to simply hang out and continue the conversation. It was the perfect way to spend a Sunday morning, and I could not have been more grateful to have been part of it! 

9 times out of 10 I have walked away from a networking event with something – whether it’s information, an opportunity to collaborate or simply a new friend. If you haven’t made it out to one of the YYC Girl Gang events yet, do yourself (and your business) a favour and make it happen! I can guarantee you’ll thank yourself you did! 

Thank you to Jillian, Chantal & Nicole of YYC Girl Gang for allowing me be part of your amazing event and to Starbelly for hosting us in your beautiful space! Also thanks to all of the sponsors for the sweetest swag bag ever, and to Kate Klassen for sharing your story and providing us with valuable insight into the magazine world! 

Follow Deanna on Instagram at: @DeannaRachelPhotography

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