You never know where something will lead. I believe this as one of the core tenets of my business and try to treat every opportunity and connection equally.

I know that the best things in life rarely come from constructed opportunities or scripted events. They just happen, in an unlikely place, in an unlikely time.

The path is the road less traveled. The unconventional way. But the chance for making things happen is even greater, because it’s less cluttered.

When I first started this blog, I  couldn’t find a full-time job for the life of me. I tried all the traditional avenues. I applied relentlessly to full-time jobs and kept sending shot after shot in the dark, hoping someone would give me a chance and realize that I wasn’t some sort of loser.

Now that I’m a full-time writer, blogger, and brand connector, I’ve seen how things can shift by trying a new approach. A few examples:

I reached out to Kathleen and she encouraged me to start this blog. I may have never met her as well as a whole other slew of great people in Portland if I didn’t start this blog. I’ve pretty much written for nearly all the local Portland bloggers in some respect and they are all dear friends.

I met one of my business partners on Twitter. We connected over the fact she lives in Brooklyn, where I used to live. I dug her work. That simple connection has now launched a different aspect of my business.

A few months ago in the FinCon Facebook group, there was a post looking for freelance writers. I responded and applied. I got it. They’re now one of my best paying clients.

I got an editing job in another Facebook group I’m in.

I pitched a company in my niche and said I love their content…there was just one problem. There were no female voices. I boldly sent an email and said I’d love to add my voice to the mix. Now I’m a writer for their site.

Last year at FinCon, I met someone for approximately 10 seconds. I was on my way out, but we both joked that we should “network” and exchange cards. So we did and I didn’t think about it that much. But after FinCon, I spent hours sending every single person a unique follow-up email. This 10-second connection in-person turned into one of my largest partnerships.

One of my writing clients saw that I enjoy Twitter and asked me to manage their social media. I happily obliged and got an increase in pay.

I got a consultant gig from a company that I followed on Twitter. I sent a simple message that said, “I love your mission!”. A relationship formed and now we are great colleagues.

Instead of ignoring a press release, I responded and pitched an idea. It worked and now I have an exciting opportunity ahead.

Aside from these professional successes, I even found love the unconventional way when I was set up on a blind date by a friend. To be honest, I was not really into the idea. I could have said no, but I’m so glad I didn’t.

My whole point with this is that so often we think we are doing things the “right way” but they are clearly not working. Try to step outside of yourself and see what you could be doing differently.

Your approach is EVERYTHING. I cannot emphasize that enough. Your approach is everything. If your current approach is not working, stop beating a dead horse. Try something new.

Be bold, ask for what you want, and be confident in what you can deliver. We all have to deal with the perils of Impostor Syndrome coming to rain down on our parade, but get an umbrella and keep going.

You never know where a connection will lead. You never know where your next gig is coming from. Opportunities are right around the corner.

The key is to keep at it and put yourself out there, everywhere. Be unabashedly yourself. I know for a fact that my freelance business took off once people could “see” me — both literally and figuratively. I stopped hiding behind the mask of anonymity, put a picture up and started writing about things in my own voice that felt authentic to me and not veiled under fear.

If you’re looking to start a business, get a new job, fall in love, etc. and what you are doing isn’t working, try something new. Keep putting yourself out there on social media and follow-up with everyone you meet. Everyone.

Your network is your net worth, so foster your connections. Be yourself and believe there is something out there for you greater than yourself.

Melanie

Melanie is a freelance writer currently living in Portland, Oregon. She is passionate about education, financial literacy, and empowering people to take control of their finances. She writes about breaking up with debt, freelancing, and side hustle adventures at DearDebt.com.

Currently she puts more than 50% of her income towards debt, while living a frugal, fun life. In addition to her love of personal finance, art and music, she is also a karaoke master. Follow the adventure @DearDebtBlog.

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23 responses to “You Never Know Where a Connection Will Lead”

  1. I have had a similar experience with Facebook groups. I think they are the hidden gems to blogging, writing, and media gigs. It’s all about who you know and are connected with!
    Natalie @ Financegirl recently posted…How To Pick the Right Financial PlannerMy Profile

  2. I love it! Yes, being open to new opportunities is half the battle. Some people are so busy thinking “I can’t” that they never see all the opportunity around them. You have to seize it, but you also have to see it first!
    Holly@ClubThrifty recently posted…Our Budget Italian GetawayMy Profile

  3. So true Melanie! This is why people need to work on their people skills just as much as their writing/social media/etc skills. Sometimes a meeting may be brief, but a lot can be “said” in those moments. And even if the person you meet can’t help you, they might have a friend of a friend, so treat everyone as if they are the most important person in the room.
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted…How Much Would You Spend to Optimize Your Health?My Profile

  4. Michelle says:

    Melanie, this post is one of the most important posts that most of us will read this year. One of the biggest goals that I set for myself this year after I quit my job was to grow my personal and business connections. But as you rightly notice and mention-approach is everything. I hope that a lot of people see this post and that they take some time to re-imagine how they can meet people professionally and personally. Fantastic post!
    Michelle recently posted…What Is A Mastermind Group? And Why I Love Mine!My Profile

  5. You are such an inspiration!!! I love all of your networking stories and it’s so true, you never know when a connection will lead to something else. I just did a podcast about networking and I love that my guest said that your network is like a garden. You have to plant it and tend to it and let it grow and at some point down the line, it will feed and nourish you. My network has definitely fed and nourished me for years in ways I never imagined.
    Shannon @ Financially Blonde recently posted…Music Mondays – UnwrittenMy Profile

  6. Kristin says:

    Yes, I totally needed to read this! Sometimes I stress that everyone around me takes the more traditional route on things and I’m the only person who thinks like this 🙂 I like how you take chances and just go for it!
    Kristin recently posted…5 Ways I Plan To Work From Home And Save MoneyMy Profile

  7. Melanie this was a great article to read as a newcomer to blogging! This is information that I did know. As a social worker, people skills are a must. I try to always threat people how I would like to be treated and I think that keeping that in mind improves my people skills. I’ve never considered the possible opportunities that could arise from an encounter however, that is an added bonus!
    Thanks for the inspiration
    Shirria @GDTH recently posted…Debt Payment Progress or NotMy Profile

  8. Jason B says:

    This post is a good reminder that you should always treat every opportunity the same. 2015 has been a great year for me. I feel that some of the connections that I will meet at Fincon will make it even better.
    Jason B recently posted…In-Depth Guide to Saving Money at TargetMy Profile

  9. Great reminders, Melanie! Especially with FinCon happening this week. Being kind, genuine, and helpful is everything. I’ve got a recruiter friend who’s always asking how she can help promote a projects or offering to make a new introduction when we get together for coffee. It’s really refreshing.
    Kate @ Cashville Skyline recently posted…Social Media Productivity Tools for #FinCon15My Profile

  10. Inspiring post…just what I needed to hear as I’m preparing to head to FinCon for the first time. Hope to meet you there!
    Gary @ Super Saving Tips recently posted…How Turmoil in the US Stock Market Affects Everyday LifeMy Profile

  11. It’s so inspiring seeing all of these ways that you’ve branched out with your work (and love life!) by taking that little extra step and reaching out. I would add to your list: Talk to people on airplanes! I always used to want to be in my own private little bubble while traveling (which is very often, for my job), but in the last few years, I’ve pushed past the discomfort and have had several incredible conversations with folks sitting next to me, and even count a few as clients now! A flight gives you a longer time to talk about yourself and what you do, and to make a more personal connection, and unless it’s a flight halfway around the world, there’s a good chance the person sitting next to you is local and could maybe use a consultant or freelancer for something. 🙂
    Our Next Life recently posted…The Joy of Better Late Than Never // Gratitude on the Road to “Late” Early RetirementMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Thank you! That’s such good advice. I’m usually a fan of napping on planes, but next time I’ll try to reach out. You never know where a connection will lead 😉

  12. Alan P says:

    A connection can lead to a fantastic opportunity, definitely. That’s why a substantial professionnal network can be very useful to find a job, develop a business…
    Alan P recently posted…Why Should You Choose Binary Options Broker Banc de Binary ?My Profile

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