Networking can be nerve-racking! A motivational quote to remember what really matters anyone? Networking is about making a connection, but getting there people struggle with. You essentially have to approach a total stranger and figure out how to spark a viable conversation without any background. It can be tough and the brighter side is you’re not alone.
I still freeze up and revert back to my comfort zone, my friends. But, at the San Francisco Fashion Week reception a light bulb clicked for me. I knew I decided to attend SFFW because I wanted to network with other bloggers/fashionistas in the SF Bay Area. I knew if I walked out of that event having zero new contacts I would feel like a total failure. The pressure was on and with a clear goal, a good friend, a glass of wine, and a plan, I finally got the job done.
I approached a few ladies I had previously spoken to on Instagram but never met in person, and the others I simply approached with a ‘I like that” statement. Once the ice is broken the conversation takes off and it is your job to keep it going, if you want. I have put together a few quick tips of my own and from the awesome career website The Muse to help you upgrade your networking skills.
1. Have a goal– Before committing to attend an event/mixer consider why you need to go and turn that into a goal. If you need to meet some folks in the finance industry set out to meet at least 3 of these people. This helps you hold yourself accountable.
Can you imagine making your own make-up and saving that $50 dollars you spend ever so often? Well that’s what entrepreneur Grace Choi wants to make a reality for all women. Her product, Mink, will allow you to create your make-up at home. All you will need is: a printer, vegetable based ink, white/un-dyed make-up base (powder, lipstick, creams,foundation), containers, and tools. Just listing this sounds daunting honestly, but I am so intrigued by this awesome woman.
After reading the Business Insider article I was inspired to do some more research. I have picked out what we can learn from her and why I she rocks. Catch her video to see the concept in action below.
c/o-Business Insider via Grace Choi Vimeo
What Can We Learn
1. Gain knowledge early on
She had entrepreneurial influences since she was a child and when she reached adulthood she had multiple mentors. Having an understanding of business early on is a great seed to begin planting those thoughts. When you have been privy to ownership in action you get an itch for it and I think this helps you in your own business planning. Also, mentors are key as I mentioned previously, you will need people who believe in you to achieve your dream. I recommend getting your hands on some books if you haven’t found the right person. From her story I see that having a good foundation can help.
2. Do not settle and do not quit
One of the things that intrigued me about Grace was she did not settle, at all. Her degree was in something totally different and after she realized Hotel Administration was not going to work for her, she didn’t just stick with for the hell of it. She had multiple jobs but once they didn’t work for she left. I admire that she did not depend on a job for her career, she made her own lane. Fulfillment is key to your career happiness and commitment to it, if you’re not fulfilled why stay? I think we can learn that fear and comfortability should not hinder you. Do not be afraid to find what will make you happy. I do not know what her money situation is and that was one of my questions. How could she just up and quit and still make a living? What about my responsibilities? These thoughts are fueled by fear and whatever your situation my be I suggest making a way when there is none.
3. identifying a problem then find the solution
The second thing that intrigued me was her outlook on the beauty industry in America. “I felt pretty insignificant when there was no Asian Cover model… America is supposed to be progressive” Grace Choir via Bus Insider. I could easily replace Asian with African-American and it becomes a problem I have as well. I think a great way to start your next big thing is to look inside first to realize what’s not working for you, more than likely a ton of people in the world are thinking the same thing. The key to entrepreneurship is fixing a problem for the masses. Once she found a problem she was passionate about she went to work on a solution .
I’m the nice girl who is always smiling, does SOX work, and usually wearing something interesting. This is how I’m known at my current company and even in my earlier company. I’ve come to this conclusion by just aggregating what people know me as and these were always mentioned. Now if you ask my boss he would say the smart girl, the hard worker who he can always depend on to get the job done. How would you rather be known by the people in your company?
Me personally I would like a few of both; online and offline skills that are key to climbing the success latter. Currently, I’m caught in a flow that started in the beginning of my career that is slowing this progression. I come in and make friends while quietly getting my work done to the best of my ability. I’m not running to the front of the line saying look at this or constantly asking questions. I’m not claiming I am the best or taking on way to much work just to please everyone. I’m not saying any of these traits are bad, do not get me wrong, but for me they have never been a path option. My thoughts are the right people know what I can do, and this has gotten me where I want to be. So there you have it, I’m known for what I show, but a question is what about what I didn’t show? What if I could be way further in my career if everyone knew how hard I worked? How many other projects would have been offered to me?
So I’m pretty sure there are other emerging young women in my shoes who want to be known for that mix of everything great. I’ve gathered thoughts from my peers, managers, mentors, and personal thoughts to put together this list. This list is a get starter kit to develop the identity (work brand) you want while making yourself known in your workplace.
Adding a pop of color to your business casual is an easy way to show off your personal style
It’s hard to not be inspired by Sophia Amoruso, CEO/Founder of Nasty Gal, who is thee ultimate symbol of the Effortless Composition ‘personal style+personal career’ motto. I have not yet read her book #GirlBoss which details how she grew the online clothing shop into a multi-million dollar company, but I plan to soon.
This video came across my desk and really bumped it up on my to do list. Watching the clip reassured me that my dreams are worth pursuing, unconventional and all! The quick interview with the Wall Street Journal touches on being the CEO Nasty Gal and the work wardrobe. I had to share it with you ladies and I hope it gives you the inspiration you need to conquer the week.
“Get a mentor” “I met with my mentor” “My mentor told me” mentor this and that blah blah! You have probably heard these phrases from your co-workers or girlfriends; its a common theme among young women so I imagine you may have once pondered the thought of what having a mentor really means. Well, thats of course if your like me, a young woman who hasn’t actually had a true mentor before recently. I wasn’t privy to this type of support system growing up or even in college so it was a new concept for me up until a year ago.
So now that the research is done I figured I would share a important tidbit about mentoring: What Qualities you Should Be Looking for ?