3 Ways You Can Network with Connections You Already Have

You’ve established your goals for going for your dream job, right? Your dream job incorporates your life purpose and drives the fire in your belly and you are ready to go! To pursue this career, you have created actions steps and a plan to help you get there. SOOOOO, NOW WHAT? You need to network to find connections that will help you reach your goals!  How do you good about finding connections? Why not start with the connections you already have?            When I was a senior in high school, I started my own pet sitting business to help pay for college. I had everything in place from business cards to prices and services to a wide-open schedule. The last aspect of my business I needed was clients. I needed to establish and build my clientele and I did not have any way to explore my market besides my existing pool of connections. My connections mostly consisted of friends and family, but had a sprinkle of mentors from 4-H and dog showing.  Besides those connections, I did not have any professional connections or really any connections that would help me build my business.            I was lost as to how I could get clients, so I asked my mother’s advice. And her advice helped me to launch my business! After being in business for roughly a year, I had thirty regular clients! For a sole pet sitter, that is a lot of clients to manage! The doors to more clients just kept continuing to open!            As the years went on and I continued to pursue my degree, I was able to pay for most of my degree myself! I would not have been able to achieve if I did not take my mother’s advice!            You are probably thinking, “Ok, that’s great and all, but what is this grand advice and how can I apply this to my life?”  Well, I would love to tell how!

1.    I asked my existing connections for work.

Together my mom and I made a list of people, that we knew, that would be a great candidate for my business. Once we established this list, I approached each person on the list and asked if they would be interested in supporting my new business. I even offered my first services to some people for free to get them hooked on my services! PEOPLE SAID YES!!! So, I instantly had clients and they loved my work and eventually, I became their regular pet sitter. Don’t be afraid to approach your personal connections and existing connections and ask them about the field you are looking into entering! People may surprise you!            While you are pursuing your dream career, why not gain some job experience? Make a list of people you know that you think would be the ideal connection, that is related to your field, to approach and ask them if you could do some work for them. Gaining some job experience related to your field will not only help you gain job experience and give you confidence, but it will also help you gain potential references for when you land your dream career!

2.    I asked for references/ recommendations

I was surprised by everyone’s support and willingness to give me and my new business a shot! After my clients got a sample of my services, I asked my clients if they would recommend me to other people they knew that needed my services. I started to get requests like crazy! Later on down the road, I asked those same clients if I could use them as job references for job applications and they were more than willing to be a job reference! My hard work and job experience from my pet sitting business became a voucher for me when I was ready to move closer to my dream career!            Not everyone can become an instant success overnight, right? So that means the Average Joe has to take baby steps to become successful. As you are doing jobs that are essential building blocks to your ultimate career, remember to do well at each position, so that you can have some excellent job references to use to help you land your dream career! Don’t be afraid to ask your connections for recommendations and references. Those personal recommendations and references can make the difference when you are applying for a job. 

3.    Seek advice from knowledgeable connections

           Even though I didn’t know anyone else in the field of pet sitting, I sought out individuals who would be willing to mentor me in different aspects, such a running a business, how to become a better professional, pet care advice, and more. Not only was the advice I learn valuable and helped me to improve my business, but these mentors became some great professional connections which led me to more opportunities for expanding my business and opened doors for me to land a job in my desired field later on down the road. In general, seek out people you know and talk with them! Seek their advice, be teachable, listen well, and be fearless when pursuing new opportunities that may come your way! You never know where each opportunity may lead you! Written by Cheyanne Flerx