Add These Five People to Your Network
It seems that networking is the big thing in our business world today. I thought I had escaped the hand shaking, follow-up letters, luncheons with people who might help me get ahead world behind me when I resigned from my position at a bank, but as it turns out networking is also immensely important in the world of academia, freelancing, and any other field you could think of.
I don’t think I need to sell you on the benefits of networking; as every how-to-succeed-in-business book will tell you, meeting the right people can help you land a new job, give you clients to build your business, and, in my case, even give you connections for publishing opportunities.
What I am here to tell you is that networking does not have to be awkward. In fact, this network for financial success can be made up of people that you already know! The key to building this network is not to go out and make small talk with people in the hopes that they will help you; instead, your goal is to form mutually beneficial relationships with people around you in order to set yourself up for key financial success.
Let’s introduce the key players in your new financial network. Not all apply to every financial need, but we’ll get there soon.
Whether you are sending out queries for publication, writing cover letters for job applications, or trying to pacify an angry customer via email, sometimes we all need a second pair of eyes to look at our written work. Having a proofreader or two that you can call on when you are stuck.
The best people for this job: Anyone who is both knowledgeable about your subject or situation, and will be brutally honest with you. The second part of this is really the key. In return for this person’s honesty, you cannot be cranky or get hurt feelings. After all, if you chose this person as your proofreader, you must trust his or her judgment.
I have multiple proofreaders in my network; some are for more general pieces of writing, while others are employed in academia and have better ideas about what cover letters and curriculum vitaes should look like than those outside the profession. I have a give-and-take relationship with my proofreaders; I have also served as proofreader to many of them, making this a better situation than if I were simply calling up favors.
I am definitely a lookout by nature. The lookout is known for passing along opportunities to those who might be interested. I hold one of my three teaching positions because a friend was looking out for me; she received a job interview, and was offered two courses that did not fit her schedule. She dropped my name, and I was hired the next day.
The best people for this job: This can vary. Often, someone in the same or a similar field is your best bet; however, this person may also be your competition. Therefore, opportunities that are passed on to you may not be stellar. Other times the best lookouts are those who have absolutely no interest in your field, and may be conducting a general search of the opportunities in your area.
I receive daily emails about jobs in our area, partially because I swear I unsubscribed from Monster, and yet the emails keep coming, and partially because I am looking out for a few different people right now. A quick skim through the titles of job postings lets me know if there’s anything worthy of passing on to my three friends looking for positions in management, customer service, and scientific research.
The positive thinker
I don’t see my positive thinkers nearly enough. This person is the one who can spin any seemingly negative situation into something positive. So you didn’t get the promotion at work? Your positive thinker will encourage you to either try again with a different method, or may show you that your tunnel vision may actually be keeping you away from other, more suitable opportunities. Positive thinkers are extremely important to have around when you find yourself struggling with meeting your goals.
The best people for the job: Obviously, someone who is positive. However, you have to look for the right kind of positivity from this person. If you do not believe that everything happens for a reason, having a positive thinker who simple repeats that saying will drive you nuts. You have to be able to believe your positive thinker. One of my positive thinkers believes that our thoughts about a situation control its outcome to an extent. If I thought she was crazy, she wouldn’t be one of my positive thinkers – she’d just be that lady in the office I tried to avoid if I had a problem. As an added benefit, when your positivity style connects with your positive thinker’s style you two form a fantastic team, particularly if you can alternate needing and giving positivity!
This is the person you go to when you need to make plans and get things done. The brainstormer can be a business partner, helping you to design products; the brainstormer could also be a friend who listens to your own ideas, adds input, and has no immediate stake in the idea. Whether your brainstormer is benefitting from your ideas or not, this person is your go-to guy or girl whenever you need an idea to go from the little spark to a full-blown lightbulb.
The best people for this job: Innovative, creative people work best as brainstormers. The brainstormer should be someone who not only listens, but contributes to the conversation. Brainstormers don’t always need to have the best ideas – however, the contributions they make can either help you propel your ideas forward, or at least help you see where you don’t want to go.
The accountability buddy
Support is absolutely crucial when you are striving for financial success. Sometimes, we don’t want to admit we have a problem. Sometimes, we don’t want anyone to know how much debt we’re sitting on, that we haven’t been able to find a job in months, or that our income is not meeting out needs. Society makes us feel embarrassed by these problems. Your accountability buddy is someone you can trust with your goals.
The best people for the job: Someone who is trustworthy and good at follow-up. I decided to tell the blogging world how much student loan debt I have, but I haven’t been completely upfront with my whole financial situation online. I’m not yet comfortable sharing these numbers. My accountability buddy, however, knows where I am financially, and she knows what my pre-baby financial goals are. She’s a good choice, because she is not judgmental. Additionally, she follows up with me, and we chat about finances almost biweekly. It keeps me on track knowing that someone else knows how I’m doing, and is there to push me or cheer me on, depending on how my weeks are going.
Who you have in your financial network depends on what your goals are. If your larger goal is to pay off debt, you may need a positive thinker to keep you motivated, and a lookout to help you find more customers or side job opportunities. If your financial goal is to secure a promotion, sending your application materials to your proofreader can make a world of difference.
Who do you have in your network for financial success? Are there any key players you recommend keeping in the network?