I’m having my final headshot party of 2017 on Saturday November 18th. Not only will you leave with new headshots that can be used for your website, business cards, or LinkedIn profile, you will leave with new professional contacts from the Richmond community…and you never know where that could lead! Sign up here!

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“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” While “what you know” is of utmost importance, this old adage hasn’t stuck around through the years for nothing. More than ever, our professional networks are playing huge roles in brand and business developments. Networking should be considered an important part of growing your brand and business and here are a few reasons:

Learning opportunities: Everyone has something to teach and expanding your circle expands your knowledge both within and outside of your own industry.

Meet new potential clients: By networking, you increase your brand awareness. Every new contact you make spreads your reach, whether it be by simply increasing your network or by offering referrals. Either way, the more people who know who you are, the better chances you have of attracting more business.

You get what you give: Keep in mind that it’s not just what you can gain from these relationships; it’s also what you can give. It’s a two-way street and being of use to other professionals can be just as beneficial to your professional growth as finding others that can help you out (fortunately, both are possible!).

How to do it:

  1. Be Intentional: Don’t wait for these connections to enter your life, go out there and make it happen.
  2. Join professional associations and attend networking events: You’re not the only one wanting to meet and know more people in your professional community. That’s why these groups and events exist and it’s up to you to take advantage of them! Bring business cards and an open mind. Everyone has something to offer (Check out meetup.com, eventbrite.com, or eventful.com to get started looking for events).
  3. Be active on LinkedIn: Having a completed profile is a must, but also be sure to join  groups and participate in conversations. You are allowed to join up to 50 Linkedin groups, but according to this Entrepreneur.com infographic, only 16% of users have joined the maximum number of allowed groups.
  4. Follow up: How many awesome people have you met and connected with and then never spoken to again? Think of all the near-opportunities that were missed! After you meet someone, whether in person or online, set a reminder for yourself to reach out again in the next week, while it’s still fresh on both of your minds.
  5. Keep in touch: So you’ve attended an event or done some due diligence in the online social networking world, met some awesome individuals, and even followed up, but you’re not done yet! Don’t let months or years pass between communication with your new professional friends. Show interest in staying updated on their professional lives and keep them updated on yours. You never know when one of you might benefit from knowing the other and you don’t want to have lost touch when that time comes.

Mistakes to avoid (don’t do these!):

  1. Wait until you need something: Don’t wait until that job has already been posted to start introducing yourself to and interacting with people in your industry. Start now and you’ll already be in the right place when the right time comes.
  2. Think it’s all about you: Yes, it’s a chance to share your value with others in hopes that they can use it or connect you with someone who can, but these interactions are also opportunities for you to take an active interest in who others are and what they have to offer.
  3. Forget that it’s an ongoing process: Set networking goals and reflect on your progress as you go.

Sign up here to get your headshots and meet some great new professional contacts.