How To Network Without Any Networking Skills

6 (ish) months ago I decided to start a blog.

 

I get that on here that’s not a very original action-but I did it and it’s part of the story so just stick with it, okay?

 

So I started this blog while I was waitressing at a dive bar in Nashville, Tennessee. 

 

The bar was full of regulars, I’m talking people that I saw every single shift that I worked. Unsurprisingly I got to know these people really well and they got to know me pretty well too.

 

There always hit a point where they would say to me, “Is this your only job?”

 

At first I felt really weird saying that I was a blogger.

 

Like, I’m talking couldn’t even get the words to form in my mouth weird.

 

It felt as if I was being a poser. As if I was acting like I was something that I wasn’t. 

 

My audience was minuscule, I had NO idea what I was doing or how to get traction and the only thing I had going for myself was that I was posting every single day.

 

At first I would tell people that I was a freelance writer on the side and honestly that felt just as weird. Did my $25 a week count as being a freelancer writer? If I felt like strange telling people that then I felt ten times weirder telling people that I was a blogger who made $0.00 off of her blog.

 

Then one day I forced it to happen.

 

Imagine a mom at the park with her child and the kid’s too scared to go and play with everyone else. The mom knows that playing with the other kid is going to make her child’s park experience that much greater and so literally (in the gentlest mom way) pushes him towards everyone. The child doesn’t really want to go, but because his mom is pushing him he quits fighting and just goes for it. He runs in and starts playing with the other kids.

 

In the blogger world this is the equivalent of saying, “I’m a blogger.”

 

When I forced myself to tell people that I was a blogger-I suddenly became…a blogger.

 

People would ask me for advice, better yet sometimes they would even give me advice. I started to get feedback and I started to do something that I never intended.

 

I accidentally started networking.

 

I quite literally stumbled into a network that is the reason that I got my first job as a social media manager.

 

If I had never gotten over my own fear of being vulnerable and telling people what I was working on behind the scenes, I’m not sure where I would be right now.

 

All I had to do, was say “I am a blogger.” “I am a freelance writer.” And suddenly WA-PAH! People knew that’s the work I did and a job opened up for me.

 

It took no skill, no work shop, no reading material, nothing.

 

Just me and four words. 

 

If you have absolutely no network and you want to start building one, here’s your first step:

  1. Start telling people what you do

 

The next step is in fate’s hands.

 

This has been one of the biggest lessons that I have learned while quitting my job and going for my dreams.

 

I have to vocalize what I’m doing, why I’m doing it, and how I’m doing it. What happens when I do that?

 

People know what I’m doing, why I’m doing it, and how I’m doing it-and they want to know more.

 

It positions you to be able to talk to people about job positions, to get some free advice (let me tell you-you NEVER know who you are talking to when you’re talking to a stranger. Some of the most down to earth people can have the biggest connections.) and to practice talking about what it is that you do.

 

I’m going to say this once and only once:
 

Stop being scared. When I first said the words, “I am a blogger.” I stuttered my way through the entire sentence. Let’s just say-that person didn’t hire me and it was with good reason.

 

By the time that I got around to saying it to my current boss, I was confident and poised. I’d told fifty people before him and I was sure to tell fifty more after. 

 

That confidence in myself is the light that he saw in me to bring me on to his team.

 

Networking is everything in the blogging/entertainment industry. Talent will get you damn far but if you can network yourself you’ll get your talents to their end goal a hell of a lot faster.

 

Take step one today and say the words out loud. “I am a _______.” Stammer. Mess up. Completely butcher the sentence.

 

As you stumble your way through talking about the thing that you most want to be, you’ll realize that you are actually stumbling your way into an incredible networking web.

 

Good luck my friends :)

 

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