BU$INESS WEDNESDAY: Networking Tips

A lot of people will tell you networking is the way to make it in any business. And I'm here to confirm that 75% of the time, that is true. Other factors are important, but networking is the reason why the Kardashians are famous. Networking is how celebrities build up their fanbase from 1,000 to 1 million. Never forget about your talent, integrity & faith...but ALWAYS keep networking in mind. Networking is honestly just a hobby of mine, and I found it to be beneficial to me not only as a business woman, but as a human being. Here are my personal favorite ways of networking.

1. Craigslist: Many people stay away from craigslist because it's full of scammers and pedophiles. Which is true. While apartment hunting, I can't even tell you how many owners were "overseas with their family" and wanted us to "send over the money to get the key." (Good one.) But between all of these scams, you will find hidden treasure.

To keep up with the latest opportunities, check craigslist every few days in the categories that are applicable to you. (for jobs and gigs) While living in New York, I got my first NYC job and my first internship within weeks. You're probably not going to get a lead role in a feature film from craigslist. Cosmo magazine doesn't post "hiring" on craigslist when they need new editors. HOWEVER, a lot of small and upcoming businesses post on craigslist, and it's a great way to build your resume. Whether you are a model, photographer, writer, journalist, graphic designer, actor, etc - you can start getting gigs on craigslist and work your way up to better gigs. 

Because I'm constantly on the move, I'm always checking craigslist in different cities. NYC, Cleveland, LA, etc. And you know what I found to be true? A great majority of the gigs are worldwide. If I want to work for a website, send submissions to a magazine, or do a product review, I can do that no matter my location. If I see something I'm really interested in, I can always relocate or the company can figure something out. This has always been helpful to me. 

2. Immersing yourself in your education: Whether you are in high school, college, trade school, or living the work life, IMMERSE yourself in it. Most places offer perks! Listen to your high school guidance counselor, he/she may have great local internship opportunities. And who knows what benefits that internship will give you. You may think those job fairs are lame, but they are actually really helpful. During college, the theatre department would always give out free broadway and off broadway tickets. Um, yes! My college gave me free tickets to opening night of The River and I got to meet Hugh Jackman, Anna Wintour, Jerry Seinfeld, Ivanka Trump, etc. Talk about networking. Take advantage of those opportunities. No matter where you are on the journey of life, immerse yourself in all of the awesome things your school or workplace will give to you. Even if it's free meals on your break. Still pretty cool, right? 

If you immerse yourself in your education, you will be learning. You will be there. We can touch the surface of every life experience just to get through the day, but if you really dive deep into every experience you will find it beneficial.

3. Get to know your peers: For my age, I've been all over the place. I've had tons of groups of friends, that changed yearly due to us just being in different places. And by different places I do mean location, but also different places in life. HOWEVER, this doesn't mean we left on bad terms. It just means we don't see each other daily like we used to. But knowing all these people in my life means something to me. They have all touched my heart and soul in ways I can't even express, and if it were my choice, we would all still be in touch. 

Getting to know those around you is one of the most beautiful things you can do. At my last job, I worked at a coffee shop with some pretty ordinary people. But those ordinary people were so full of diversity and artistry and I loved having conversations with them every day. From musicians, to graphic designers, to makeup artists, to martial artists, to journalists. From college students to mothers, I learned so much from them and it was always more than just making lattes: it was an inspiring, joyful experience. Imagine if I just looked at them as coworkers. What would that experience be? 

When it comes to my peers, past and future: I never update my contacts on my phone because you will never know when you will need someones contact information. I have people in my contacts I haven't talked to since middle school! Insane? Maybe. But at least if someone contacts me I won't have to ask who they are because I deleted their contact. For example, there was this girl I was really good friends with in high school, but after she graduated, we didn't talk for 2-3 years. Then I randomly saw her on the subway in NYC? What? I still had her number and that made me feel oddly accomplished. You never know where fate will throw you. 

4. Social media: Some people may look at me like I'm crazy. I love instagram, sue me. Honestly, instagram for me is a way of expression. It's like a photo album of my life...in little snapshots of my day to day activities. Not only that, it helps promote my blog, and I get to meet other cool people from all over the world. The reason why instagram is my favorite form of social media is because twitter and facebook give too much away. I find it hard to be expressive and artistic through that. To me, twitter has always been fun but also in a sense, kind of pointless. And facebook is so you can put every detail of your life so everyone and their family can be nosy and know every life experience you've ever had. (No shade, haha.)

My advice when it comes to social media? Be yourself. Capture the things that make you happy. I've always been self aware and self confident, but one thing that makes me proud is my instagram showcases who I am. If you are afraid of certain people seeing your instagram, maybe it's because you're afraid of showing who you are/or not BEING who you are via social media. It's true, a lot of people use social media to take on another identity. But if you can say, "I don't care if my mom, my ex boyfriend, my friends, my coworkers, or my family sees my instagram. It's me and they don't have to like it." That's when you're rocking who you are and that's something to be proud of.

People will see you on social media. And if you are being yourself and they like you, you get a follower. But maybe it's not just a follower. It can turn into someone you may collaborate with...which has happened to me several times. And once you collaborate with someone, they're always on your business list!

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So there you have it. My favorite networking tips. There's always the obvious ones - handing out your business card, meeting new people, etc. But I found these to be incredibly helpful for myself and I hope they helped you too!