Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
After graduating college, a lot of people do not know what is next in their path. I remember finishing up my degree and realizing that it was time to get a “real” job and make it on my own. It was a lot to handle in a short amount of time. Moving to a new city and meeting new people can be hard. I found some easy ways to get involved and to network around my area in San Antonio, Texas.
A little background for you; I graduated college from Texas Tech University, in good ole’ Lubbock and then I moved back home, as most of us do after college, to San Antonio. I knew that living at home in my early 20s was something I never wanted to do, but hey, the free meals were great; other than that, it was time for me to hit the ground running. Networking was my next challenge to tackle. In order to do this, I focused on these three things: Joining an organization, finding a non-profit to get involved with, and attending business mixers and conferences.
- Join an organization that you are comfortable with and that gets you involved. For me, I found the San Antonio Media Alliance, which is a board member group that improves the quality of the media and involves itself within the city. Each year we have fundraisers, such as Media Olympics, that raises money for college scholarships. Within these organizations, you can make new friends and new business connections. Another popular organization for recent graduates is the Junior League. This organization is one of the best to get involved with in a city, and almost all cities have it. Every month you have volunteer hours to fulfill along with meetings to attend. This is another great way to get out there and meet new people. Furthermore, if you join the organization in one city and have to move, you can transfer groups to your new city. You never have to miss a beat in your networking.
- Find a non-profit to join that gives back to the community. This was a fun one for me as I love giving back to San Antonio and surrounding areas. I joined CAM, Christian Assistance Ministry, which is a non-profit that assists lower income families, children, veterans, military, those that are homeless, and so many more, in San Antonio and surrounding areas. I helped CAM with their fundraising event, Queso Meltdown, which helps raise money for the organization as a whole so that they can continue to provide service for those in need in the community. Joining a non-profit that does fundraising is a great way to meet people. You are forced to network and cold call on people and groups that you would have never talked to before. I recall calling restaurants around town asking them to join our food competition or to donate items to the event. You may never know who will answer on the other end or who you will meet until you give it a shot.
- Attending business meetings and conferences is extremely important in networking. This is an amazing place to meet new people and to pass out those business cards. A great place to start is YP, Young Professionals. This organization is almost in all cities and a good place to get your feet wet in the networking world. In San Antonio, the group is called SAYP, San Antonio Young Professionals, where all the meetings are free. Furthermore, you cannot leave out the city's Chamber of Commerce events. These events are always a blast and are in most large cities. The goal of the Chamber of Commerce is to further the interests of businesses. These gatherings are tailored to meet new people and that is what networking is all about.
Now, let’s tie this all together with advertising. I get asked, why is it important to network in advertising? Networking and advertising go hand in hand; it is good to know people and to get your business cards passed out. Advertising can work for almost everyone and for every business. Networking opens the door for new clients. Once they learn about the advertising world, you can paint a picture of why advertising would work for them. Without networking, some of these opportunities can be passed up. It is also important to always follow up after each networking event. I like to write down notes on each card to help me the next day in my follow up email. Business Insider read my mind when they said, “… networking is one of the most valuable uses of [your] time in terms of return – and not just in monetary terms.” Networking can always lead to new business deal and, better yet, new friendships. How do you network? What networking tools have helped you out? Let us know down below and head to our blog page to read more.