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.