I just recently read Reach Out by Molly Beck and it was such a good reminder to keep networking, something I touch on when I speak on tips and tricks for business, whether to students or established professionals. I ALWAYS stress the importance of networking, building relationships and strengthening connections. Today I'm here to share some ways to expand your network with a few stories from my personal success:
Attend Local Events- use Facebook events, MeetUp and word of mouth to discover events in your area. Events to attend can be anything from networking based, industry focused or even fashion shows. Years ago, actually while still in college I attended a fashion meet and greet with costume designer Eric Daman at Nordstrom, it was there that I meant fashion illustrator Dallas Shaw. We got to talking, exchanged numbers and I ended up interning with her, my first fashion internship. Just last year I attended her book signing and reconnected. She may or not have signed my book to "the most overqualified intern ever" ;) You just never know who you'll meet.
Join Networking Groups- ask other professionals and friends what networking groups they are part of. Networking groups are great as they are career focused, be prepared with your elevator pitch (and get ready to listen to a a handful of others). While through networking groups I haven't received clients or direct business, the purpose they serve to me is connecting with a group who have the same struggles and successes to celebrate or commiserate with, they are also the first people I go to when I have a business question or need a good referral. Just last week I asked the FEM City Philly president if she knew a small business lawyer to help with some new contracts and she provided me with a list of recommendations. Some I suggest with national chapters are; FEM City, LEVO League and PRSSA.
Give Back- there certainly are more important reasons to volunteer your time and skills to a charitable organization or cause but the fact that they connect you with other individuals you may have never met is certainly a good second reason to give back. Many organizations also have young professional committees that are perfect for those 35 and under to mix and mingle. I currently volunteer with JDRF, Breastcancer.org, Devereux and The Arthritis Foundation, all of which are important to me for different reasons and have allowed me to meet wonderful people while using my PR skills for the good of others.
Reach Out to Individuals- this might seem silly and I've mentioned it time and time again but simply email someone you admire and ask them out to coffee. I did this years ago with my friend Haley of Mae Movement, I admired her for her entrepreneurial spirit and hustle so I simply asked her to lunch. To this day she is a good friend. I also did this back in college with a local fashion editor which led to me writing a story for her, shadowing a photo shoot and now she covers my client's events and launches. I ran into her last week at a sample sale when she stopped to tell me how impressed she was with how far I have come from helping her while being a student to now owning a successful business.
At the end of the day your connections are so important, whether you're a business owner, student or working professional. You never know who might be a valuable person to know and when you may need their help. If you ever want to connect with me please don't hesitate to reach out!
PS. stay tuned for an interview with Molly soon!