Alright, curvists, let’s dive right into three ways to find YOUR tribe:
1. Start Online:
First, follow and engage people on social media.
Find people with quick keyword or hashtag searches on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+, etc…
Also, don’t just follow the “big dogs” in your industry. Find people who just seem generally and genuinely engaged in conversations online. Follow who they follow.
On Twitter, create some lists to keep people straight. Subscribe to lists that OTHER people have created. Then, pull up those lists and check in to what’s going on here and now to stay current and create online relationships.
Facebook groups are AWESOME for finding like-minded individuals. A quick search of whatever it is you are into or trying to do I’m sure will pull up several. So, join a few and find the right 1-3 that you can keep up with.
On LinkedIn, connect with anybody and everybody you can come up with an excuse to connect with–from people you went to grade school with through people you’d love to meet at a convention someday. Make sure you fill in your profile as completely as possible, using lots of relevant keywords to help people find YOU.
Whichever platform, now that you’ve started making connections, engage, engage, engage! Don’t be annoying or act like a creepy stalker, lol. But, like and comment on articles, posts, etc. On LikedIn specifically, don’t be shy shelling out those endorsements. Most people return the favor.
The more you engage online, the more that certain other profiles will bubble up, and you’ll start recognizing, reengaging with, and forming stronger, productive professional online relationships.
2. Get out of the door
Second, remember that greatness can’t be born by just sitting behind your computer or on your smartphone all day. Get out and see the world. Meet REAL PEOPLE!! (Some of us have started to actually forget what those are… sacrilege, lol!)
Find yourself some in-person groups, such as a local business association, alumni group, or even just start super-easy with MeetUp. If you haven’t heard of it, MeetUp.com is basically a site where different groups go to schedule when they are going to meet in real life and engage in a certain activity together, talk about a certain thing, or whatever. There are different MeetUps in just about every town for just about everything you can imagine. It’s pretty cool. It’s like an online adult play date scheduler, when the play dates are paddle boarding, writing code, kid crafts, or any other common interest you can think of.
And, if you can’t find one, the great thing about MeetUp is that anyone can create one. So, if there isn’t one already established, create one, and let the like-minded peeps come to you!
Aside from MeetUp, Google to find any local workshops you can go to. Or, if you have the means (financially or just plain creatively), make your way to a convention or conference around what you’re going for. If you need ANY evidence of the power of what I’m talking back, rewind back to episode #110 and my experience at Podfest. That episode pretty much speaks for itself!
Once you are out there in the real world, don’t be shy! Be confident and start conversations with people. Get business cards from EVERYONE!! And, if you are a big event where you are collecting a ton of them, I advise putting the highest-priority business cards in a separate, special place, like a separate wallet. But, then, just don’t lose it, like I did at Podfest, lol!! I was soooo lucky that someone turned mine in, otherwise I would have lost ALL of those high-priority contacts! But, when I got back home after that crazy weekend, I had a shorter stack to focus on immediately, and the rest already separated out to avoid cluttering the others.
Keep notes as to how you met people, what you talked about, and why/when you need to follow up.
3. Take action!
Finally, now that you’ve connected with people online and shaken some humanoid hands, take it to the next level with some real action.
Join a local organization, such as an advisory board or volunteer group or, as I suggested before, start your own MeetUp group. The possibilities are endless as to how you can REALLY get engaged in your industry.
See, some of us make the mistake of thinking that it’s impossible to get our foot in the door for this reason or for that. What’s true is that most opportunities come not through a resume or a video that was stumbled upon online, but through personal connections. Word-of-mouth, when done correctly, will always be the most powerful marketing tool. And, no one can be a better billboard for you than YOU. So, get out there and get engaged!
And, that is today’s Learning Curve.