‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ – another very useful and well known idiomatic phrase when it comes to the hustle.
I was in my mid-teens when I’d finally shed my “puppyfat” and shyness, had swapped horse riding for a social life and had become one of those people who frequented lots of different circles.
Due a multi-faceted character, I was, and still am, very much a social chameleon. And it was that ability to adapt, plus an open-mind and a genuine interest in others that became the secret to my networking success.
At L’Oréal, if I remember correctly, networking was one of our company-wide KPIs (key performance indicators) and it paid off in dividends.
I’d spend my days knocking back the cappuccinos with everybody from the interns to the directors. I’d know exactly what was going on with every brand and every new product launch and I’d be invited to events that nobody else knew were even happening. I could pull strings and ask for favours whenever I needed them and I always knew who to turn to.
My bonus rewards came in the form of thank you notes and gifts of skincare and make-up left on my desk and I could get my hands on my favourite Stella McCartney perfume whenever I was running low.
The effort was minimal and the returns were high. So after leaving L’Oréal, I’ve made networking both a personal and professional KPI.
The Social Network
As we all well know, the internet has elevated the power of networking to a whole new level and across myriad platforms.
Through both personal and professional applications we’re now connected with strangers who become friends through likes and comments. Our social networks are expanding – and over the last twelve months I’ve called on mine to get ahead.
And although these connections may begin online, I make sure I keep my networking game offline strong too – human to human.
Linked in has cost me countless coffees but every single one of them has been incredibly worthwhile. I’ve met with students, lecturers, social media gurus, doctors, beauty therapists, WAGs, property developers, technology addicts, entrepreneurs and more.
Nowadays, there are so many ways to mingle and it’s so important to put yourself where you want to be.
I’ve attended Mastermind workshops for entrepreneurs and business networking events, flinging my business cards in all directions and telling my story to anybody who will listen.
I’ve sought out like-minded individuals by going to meditation workshops, yoga classes and talks on consciousness, spending my downtime the way I really want to.
And I’ve met some incredibly important people by just having a networker’s mindset wherever I go – even lying down on a beauty therapist’s bed about to get a facial.
It’s through networking that I’m here right now; running two start-up businesses that are about to rocket launch forward, guest lecturing at Liverpool John Moore’s University Art & Design School and soon to flee the city I was born in for exciting things in pastures new.
So this post is a thank you to all the people who have crossed my path this year; to the conversations – those that have led to nowhere and those that are racing ahead of me to build the path I’m walking along.
Because without you, I wouldn’t be me.