Invest in Your Network

A woman laughs. Text over her reads, "Invest in Your Network."

Instead of cold-messaging on LinkedIn, we recommend spending time building your network in a thoughtful and strategic way. If you’re early on in your career, or have just never understood the value of having a network, we’re breaking it down for you because it is, without a doubt, the single most important thing you can do for your future self. 

SpinSucks points out that no one who achieves massive business success does it alone. In fact, success in any field is usually the product of collaborative effort.

Yep, that 👆

Do you think 8THIRTYFOUR is successful just because of Kim? Nope. She spent over a decade (ok, it was decades), building her network. She sat on committees, boards, attended morning/midday/evening business events and then she followed up with notes, LinkedIn connections, emails, etc. It was hella hard work. Those connections live on today, and she is still at it…because it’s important.

Make Time

This is our favorite excuse, “but I’m just so busy.” First off, strike “busy” from your vocabulary, no one gets a prize for using it and no one cares cause we’re all “busy.”

Finding a group of people, who can counsel you throughout your career with you doing the same for them, is priceless. They’ll help you problem solve issues, listen when you just need to vent, make connections to resources and they will talk you off the ledge when needed.

The cool thing is you will grow together. When Kim’s group came together, most were event coordinators or marketing assistants, that same group of people are now running companies, departments and their own businesses. That is one powerful network.

Commit to Long Term

These are or will become your people. They might text you on a Sunday and need advice because shit has hit the fan, and you’ll do the same with them. It’s important to put the time in and not reschedule when you get busy. 

Set up regular meeting times, maybe it’s breakfast once a month with a few people or it’s happy hour on a Thursday. Make plans to attend luncheons together, or networking events. It’s a great way to stay connected while also expanding your network.

Get Involved

Research organizations and groups to join. If you’re in marketing look at the American Marketing Association or the Public Relations Society of America. Google exists for a reason, so use it. Google “Networking events in Grand Rapids, MI” or “Professional associations in Grand Rapids, MI.” We just literally gave you the search terms, stop being lazy.

We also have a plethora of nonprofits in our town. They all have marketing, finance, PR, event committees – ask to sit on a committee or volunteer. If you commit to being involved, show up for meetings, do what you say you’ll do and invest the time. Don’t be the guy that signs up for a bunch of stuff, shows up for nothin but still takes all the credit. No one likes that guy. 

How you choose to build your network is up to you, but don’t downplay the importance of it. Some of us owe it all of our success.

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