Growing your network is paramount. There is not one person who has made anything of themselves without having a strong network (or support system). Networking gets people their first jobs, their first clients, their first gigs, record deals, etc. The point that I am trying to make is that in order for you to be able to get to point B of your success plan, you need to create a great support system at point A with people who are in the position to help you get to where you want to go.
Networking will allow you to meet the people that you should call your mentors, and in special cases, build friendships with. Below are four ways to quickly grow your network so you can start making your dreams a reality ASAP.
Attend Events Specific to Your Area of Expertise
You should always be on the lookout for events and conferences in your area that coincide with the career you want to have, the industry you are trying to break into, or who you are trying to become. If you are interested in being an entrepreneur, attend some entrepreneur seminars or business pitching events. If you are trying to be an actress start attending Improv classes, movie premiers, and hang around after local plays in your area. If you are starting a brand, attend a couple of events that showcase brands in your area and even think of becoming a vendor at some events if you are trying to get your brand off of the ground. Great websites to help you find local events are Eventbrite and Meetup.
Join an Organization
One of the best ways to network is to join organizations specific to your interests. So many organizations, whether it’s based around a career or hobby, are composed of people that are extremely established and well connected in whatever it is that you are trying to do. When you are apart of these organizations, you will be able to interact with well-established members on a daily basis when attending member-exclusive events. Do your research on who to reach out to and do not hesitate to ask for contact information when you come into contact with these individuals. Also, extend the invitation for someone to be your mentor after having an initial talk. It never hurts to ask and you just may learn a lot from a more seasoned individual.
Create a LinkedIn Account and Stay Active
LinkedIn just may be the top way to network in the digital age. From what I can tell, the most ambitious and dedicated individuals populate LinkedIn and are active almost everyday. Honestly, I received my last two jobs (and clients) through making sure my LinkedIn account was up-to-par. Ways to network on LinkedIn would be to find individuals who work for companies may want to work for, hold positions you aspire to have, or work for companies you may want to partner with… and add them. It’s that simple. Send them a follow request, actively like their posts (only if you agree with them), leave respectful and thoughtful comments, and send them a message letting them know that you are interested in working with them or having them as a mentor, etc. You will be surprised at the amazing opportunities that can come from adding people that you never would have thought would have given you the time of day.
Join Facebook Interest Groups
Facebook has tons of closed groups that are focused on different topics, careers and hobbies. In these groups, you will see many people interact, have discussion forums, post jobs and events, and some even allow you promote your brand where the members of the group will actively support or re-post about your efforts. You can make the best connections this way, meet people in high places, and stay on top of whatever it is that you want to do by continuously being exposed to news that you would have not known if your group members did not share it. On top of everything, you will also have exclusive privileges to opportunities that your group members may present to you.
Now that you know these four ways to network, I truly hope that you implement at least one! Happy networking and good luck on your journey to success.