Welcome to the weekend everyone! It’s time for me to remind you about work on Monday morning and let you know what you can do right now to help you achieve your career goals. After all (I’ve seen this quote literally everywhere last month) ‘dreams don’t work unless you do’. Okay, I know you just want one day off but I promise it’ll be worth it if you do a little hustling on the weekends too. Here’s why it’s good to network and what you can do today to get started:It’s not what you know, it’s who you know
Honestly, most of the best opportunities I’ve worked on have come from knowing the right people. Okay, maybe I didn’t know that they were the ‘right’ people when I met them, but when the time came for them to commission a new project, I was the girl they called! Am I just lucky, being in the right place at the right time? No! I actually had to get up, go to events, meet people, chat in real life and maintain those relationships. Thankfully for me, it’s not a chore; I love finding like-minded souls and catching up with them on a regular basis, because the life of a self-employed gal can be quite a lonely one. Having that human connection makes me happy and, honestly, most of the people who started out as business acquaintances are now good friends.
See and be seen
So how do you meet ‘the right people’ in the first place? I’ve already said that you have to leave the house, but that’s not all. To actively start networking there are plenty of places you can look. Let’s start with local business communities. Google it – there WILL be a business breakfast club or networking evening taking place somewhere near you. Often, these events have free refreshments and sometimes have a local business person speaking about their career, so you can learn from their experiences and ask their advice too. Other events include shop, gallery or restaurant opening events so keep an eye out in the local paper (you can sometimes get a good discount on the first day too!) or product launches, so look up PR agencies nearby and get yourself on their mailing list. If you’re invited to an industry conference, an expo or awards event, go to it if you can, even if that means travelling across the country to get there! Once you’re at the event, it’s likely that you’ll be able to pick up flyers advertising other similar events, and do the cycle of networking continues!Here’s my card…
It’s not just important that you go to these events, it’s important that you make the most of being there. So, no matter how uncomfortable you feel, please go and talk to someone! If another person is stood on their own, the chances are that they have no one to talk to either and will be grateful that you went over to them. Get to know people on a personal level (not just what their job is or what they can do for you!) and see what you have in common. When you’re finished chatting, always always hand over your business card and this will prompt them to hand over their details. Okay, you could probably look them up on twitter for a chat, but what if you don’t remember their name or twitter handle? You could miss out just because you didn’t think to get their card! Don’t have a business card of your own? Get one now! That’s something you can do TODAY to help you in your career. If you want your business cards to last for a few years don’t include a job title because this could change. List your skills e.g: Cassiefairy: writer/maker/curator of cool (ooh that calls for a smug winky face methinks 😉 ) and all your contact details.
Can you think of any other places that networking could happen? What techniques you do sue when you meet someone new to turn that acquaintance into a working relationship? Leave me a comment below and let me know. And if you’ve had a good experience of connecting with someone ‘in real life’ that eventually led to a business collaboration I’d love to hear about it!