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Monique’s September Challenge: Finding the Magic in Networking

I did it!

My September challenge was to reach out to, and meet up with, three people. This goal was definitely set with “mo’ progress” in mind. I wanted to conduct informational interviews with industry leaders about their fields and possibly even gain some work as a result.

After returning to Canada from a year abroad, I realized that (besides reporting) networking is the best way to get to know your city. Or, in my case, to get reacquainted with your city.

September was a flurry of emails, cold calls, researching networking groups in my industry, and attending events. It was busy: I’ve been freelancing and holding down a part-time job at the same time.

On a whim, I decided to sign up for CreativeMornings and attend the organization’s monthly event. Each month, CreativeMornings chooses a theme that sets the tone for the guest speaker’s talk. September’s theme was MAGIC.

With 154 Creative Cities around the world, I highly recommend checking out what’s available nearest you. I met some fabulous people, including the guest speaker, digital artist Eric Chan, aka Eepmon, who spoke with us about magic in the entrepreneurial journey.

(Event crib notes: Eepmon said magic = passion!)

The CreativeMornings event really changed my perspective about how I want to approach networking. By setting the intention from the start, you better understand what value you want to bring to the conversation and how you intend to help the person who is meeting you.

October’s CreativeMornings theme is TRANSPARENCY. I love that! I will definitely act accordingly this month.

There is a common belief that networking is schmoozy and slimy and that everyone wants something from you. The truth is that it’s all up to you. If you approach people as though they are out to manipulate you or use you, then that’s the kind of people you will either consciously or subconsciously seek out.

If you go to events and make phone calls and emails with the intention to offer your skills, personality, and resources to others, they will respond genuinely to your efforts. Many people are flattered to get a request, as long as you don’t waste their time.

It’s important to always be clear about what you want or what you can offer, can meet them on their terms (ya gotta be flexible, fam!), and be diligent and prompt in the follow-ups. It’s only polite and portrays you in a positive, professional light. You never know who you might meet next or what may come of an out-of-the-blue cold email.

As for my progress, there have been a few ongoing chats to organize follow-up meetings in the coming weeks and some of my contacts even connected me to their extended network. One meeting keeps leading to the next so October is also going to be a full month!

I’m very excited for October, though I’m also keenly aware that my schedule is all over the place. So my October challenge is to revisit my productivity strategy and try out two new techniques to streamline my workflow and work-life balance. I’m going to use the Bullet Journal technique and some key lessons I’ve learned from entrepreneur Marie Forleo to make the most of my time and energy.

“[A] calm mind brings inner strength and self-confidence, so that’s very important for good health.” – Dalai Lama

How do you intend to make mo’ money and mo’ progress this month? Let us know in the comments below or on Instagram or Facebook!

<3 Monique

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