What if I told you there was one simple thing you could do every day that would save you thousands of dollars a year in expenses and even have the potential to make thousands more a year?
It’s so easy, little kids can do it!
I’m not referring to pooping your pants (although if anyone has a side hustle of pooping their pants for $$$ I am mad impressed!) or crying for a nap at 1 pm.
I’m referring to the ultimate life hack of networking!
Intentionally and unintentionally networking with people has led to amazing things happening in my life. I encourage everyone to talk to people in their lives as you never know what will happen. I’ve saved a lot of money over the years and even gotten a better job thanks to the power of networking.
My Networking Skills and Results
I think every major thing that’s ever happened in my life has been a result of networking. At age 17 I unintentionally networked with my fellow Girl Scout counselors that led me to figure out which university I wanted to go to.
I intentionally networked during my internship to form a positive impression at the company to get hired back upon graduation. Likewise, I also made a point to talk to the dean of my college and form a good relationship with him. He was begging me to stay and get a graduate degree but when he couldn’t pay for it, gave me a glowing recommendation and made me Departmental Scholar for our college at graduation instead.
Good networking looks a little like sucking up, but it’s only sucking up if you do it too much and make it too obvious. It’s called networking when you just pause and talk to someone that you maybe wouldn’t do otherwise.
I unintentionally networked at a class I attended for work. I started talking to a guy over lunch and it turns out we both like knowing useless knowledge. He invited me to be on his trivia team for an event the next week, so I went and had a fun time showing off my knowledge of baby animal names. You never know when knowing what a baby goose is called will come in handy!
It didn’t stop at having fun at trivia nights, though. Later, when I moved back to town I was looking for a short-term rental to stay in until I found a house to buy. Instead of helping me find an apartment complex, he offered his basement to me for a few months. I got a nice place to stay for cheap and he got some help with the bills. A win-win for both of us!
Little did I know, blogging and podcasting are also networking. Sure, going to meetups and fun things like Camp FI and the Chautauqua is an obvious form of networking but it goes further than that.
I am networking with each and everyone one of you, my readers and listeners, every time I write a post or release a podcast episode. I didn’t realize it at first because it’s only in one direction (no, not the band).
However, several good things have come from readers reaching out. I found my new job in DC because someone reached out to me and let me know they’d refer me to any open job in their company. Internal referrals are awesome and set you apart from the rest of the candidates. Earlier this year I went to a retreat in upstate New York and mentioned I’d be staying in the city the weekend afterward. A reader reached out to me and offered her couch for as many nights as I needed. She turned out to be one of the coolest people ever and we’ve stayed in touch since then. I saved a bit of money AND had a fabulous time. Win-win again!
Lastly, I mentioned moving here to DC and I got an email from a reader offering me to let me stay in their basement until I get to know the area better. I met them for dinner when I was here last week and they decided I was as I appeared online (aka a little quirky but not like serial killer level weird). I am incredibly grateful to have a nice place to stay while I settle in and figure out what I want my life to look like here. Instead of having to find an apartment on Craigslist or Padmapper, I can explore different areas to see what works best for my personal life and work location. I can take my time to find the best deals in the DC Roommate Facebook group and find a place with a nice, clean, quiet roommate who loves cats. I also didn’t have to move all my stuff with me at once since the room they offered is furnished. (oh — more networking: my stuff is at a friend’s house back home for the low price of a surprise Christmas present and a $20 hidden under a plant in her dining room.)
Start Networking Today!
“But Gwen,” you say “I’m not good at talking to people like you are.”
Here are words of wisdom: Practice makes perfect! Ask cashiers how they’re doing. Crack a joke to someone standing behind you in line. Make a comment on something happening to the person standing by you. Ask a person in a class or on a beer league team something about the clothes that they’re wearing.
Example: Someone is wearing a Cambridge sweatshirt. They either went to school there or they visited for the day. Ask them about it! You can have a fun conversation about life at Cambridge or have a good conversation on travels and if they’ve been other places. Notice the end goal isn’t to get something from them — it’s about talking to people and getting them to remember you for later if need be. Once the ice is broken, you can ask them other questions and deepen that connection.
Or they look at you like a weirdo and move to the next train car. Either or haha.
This world we live in is already difficult enough as it is. Having a network of people who care about you and want you to succeed makes dealing with everyday realities so much easier!
informercial voice start networking today!
Thanks for reading! How have you benefitted from networking? Sound off in the comments below!