Know and Be Known
It all comes down to who you know. That is a very true virtue in the business world. The best way to increase your network is to be active. Participate in community and industry related events, groups, discussions, etc. The more you network while in college, the greater your opportunities will be once you graduate. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. When you stretch yourself, you grow the most.
I knew no one before my shoe venture took foot (stupid pun intended). It wasn’t until I discovered how to put my passion into a business did I begin networking. By networking, I simply mean meeting people. I was, and still am, a shy person. But, I knew that if I didn’t force myself out of my comfort zone in order to network, then no one else would for me.
Somehow I was able to work my way into the back tunnels of the Palace, just outside of the Pistons locker room (which is another story in itself)... Anyways, I remember my heart bumping out of my chest with my mouth feeling like I’ve been sucking on a dozen cotton balls. As players like Chauncey, Tayshaun, and Rip began to come out of the locker room, I mustered up the courage and ignored my fears to introduce myself to them.
After I probably stumbled over my first few words, I realized they were just people – like me. Granted, they had more money in their pocket than I had in my entire bank account, but they were just people. Luckily for shy-little me, they were really nice people.
Moral of this story: Hustle your butt off to grow your most valuable asset - your network.