Case study

Founder — Isabel Sachs

Isabel achieved a Bachelors degree in Brazil before moving to the UK to study a Masters at City, University of London, and has set up I LIKE NETWORKING, a mentoring and networking organisation for the creative industries

Why did you decide on a career in the creative industries?

It kind of just happened. I was lost and had no idea of what I wanted to do - all I knew was that I wanted my work to make a positive impact in the world.

I had an office internship at an NGO (non-governmental organisation) and loved my boss but hated the work and the standard nine-to-five job.

So, a friend asked me to help out with his university film project. I then assisted on a few more projects and started getting odd gigs here and there, mainly as a runner on film sets.

I later found an internship at an art gallery and applied. I had zero knowledge of it or any experience, but through networking - I called a friend who knew his art - and he prepared me for it.

From them on I continued to freelance as much as I could taking on different projects.

One day, a few friends I worked with told me I should open my own company. And so I took a leap of faith.

Why did you start the I LIKE NETWORKING career platform?

It was during the first COVID-19 lockdown in 2020 and a friend told me she'd pay someone to do her networking for her. She hated it but couldn't see a way to progress in the creative industries without it.

Data gathered by LinkedIn in March 2020 showed that women around the world are 14% to 38% less likely than men to have a strong network and a recent report told us we have at least 100 more years to achieve gender equality.

So, I decided to act on that since I'm someone who thinks that networking and sharing expertise and resources can be fun. I'd been working in the creative industries for 18 years, so have built up a strong network during that time.

I asked these connections if they'd like to do something to create a more diverse industry, by giving up some of their time and expertise and that's how it all started.

How does the mentoring scheme work?

There are four mentoring sessions tailored to the needs of the mentee, and mentors will support mentees in achieving their chosen career goals, whatever they may be.

We also have launched a new group scheme with a focus on peer-to-peer support. Mentees can access a minimum of eight sessions of virtual learning and networking with industry-leading experts on topics around recruitment, networking, careers in visual arts, music, live arts, communications, wellbeing for creatives, how to go freelance and more. They also get to access a networking portal with additional learning resources and video recordings.

What sacrifices have you had to make to get the project off the ground?

Time is the biggest sacrifice, although I prefer the term 'trade-off'. If you want to launch your own business or project, no one will care as much as you - so you need to be able to allocate time accordingly.

I'm not telling you to go and burn yourself to the ground, but sometimes you'll have to say no to a dinner or night out if you have an application due or a lot of work to go over.

What advice would you give to candidates looking to break into the creative industries?

  • Network, by attending events, listening to podcasts, webinars and talking to your peers.
  • Ask yourself what type or roles you're interested in and why, then go find people there. This will be beneficial. You can do this in-person, by emailing friends or using social platforms such as Instagram or LinkedIn.
  • There are so many career paths out there to explore. I'd urge people to experiment and experience things any way you can - from writing blogs to helping on student projects. This helps you to understand where your strengths and skills are best suited.

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