Everyone seems to be booked, busy and living their best lives. If you are in pursuit of a new job, more (or your first) clients or figuring out your next move, this post is for you!
I want to share 3 things that I’ve been doing that have generated opportunities, exposure and schmoney.
Within 60 days of leaving corporate America, I:
- Partnered with Walmart and Target to provide professional and fashion content targeted toward millennials
- Landed a regular fashion contributor role with QCityMetro, an online publication
- Secured my first event as ‘media’ under my company name
- Was invited to speak internationally
- Was featured as a fashion expert on a panel for Goodwill Industries
Here’s my formula:
FOLLOW PEOPLE/COMPANIES THAT YOU WANT TO WORK WITH
You are probably already following accounts of people or brands that inspire you. Are you following the people or brands that they are following? As an example, I want to write for Essence. Not only do I follow the Essence account on social media, I follow the contributors, influencers and brands that Essence engages with. By doing this, I’ve discovered accounts like Brown Girls Who Write, 21Ninety and HuffPost Black Voices, all of which share informative, relevant content that I would have missed out on! I have also followed fellow influencers and content creators that I’ve connected with, learned from and shared information. In Essence, pun intended, create a community of resources that will in turn develop into opportunities for you to learn, partner and work!
SHOOT YOUR SHOT
We’ve all heard some version of the saying, “When opportunity knocks…” But, what do you do when you are prepared, but opportunities aren’t knocking, ringing the doorbell or sending smoke signals? You create your own.
Whoa there…slow down. Before you slide in a DM or send an email, first make sure your ducks are in a row.
- What specific opportunities are you seeking? Reaching out to say “I’d like to partner with you” is NOT specific. Share your experience, how you can solve a problem, identify synergies, and ASK for what you WANT.
- Is your resume/portfolio/website clean, easily accessible and up to date? Ensure that links work and provide instructions to direct to content that you want to highlight. With hundreds or thousands of pitches/resumes/emails to sift through, no one is going to jump through hoops to find links to your work if you forget to include them.
- Do your research. Don’t ask a question or for an opportunity that is outlined on the brands website.
To save time, create (or google) a few templates that you can easily customize. I like to keep a pipeline, so I send out 3-5 emails a week. Keep in mind, not every opportunity that you seek will generate a profit. For example, if you are transitioning into a new field or need experience, some of the shots that you shoot may be for opportunities to volunteer your services or to gain exposure for your brand/business. Other shots may be to invite a person that you want to build a relationship with to lunch or to an event that you are hosting.
Be sure to get clear on what you are asking for, provide supporting documents and shoot your shot!
You’ve reached out to a company or brand, it’s been weeks and you haven’t received a response…now what? Some interpret a lack of response as rejection and move on. In a perfect world, companies, brands and people would always extend the professional courtesy of responding to say no instead of not responding at all…but we know that doesn’t always happen. I always follow up. I’ve received responses like “Thanks for following up, I’ve been busy but would love to work with you…” or “We filled the position, however, a colleague has a role that you may be interested in…”. Following up shows that you are genuinely interested in the opportunity so don’t allow your ego to stop you from reaching out if you don’t receive a response.
If you take action by engaging with people and brands that you want to work with, asking for what you want and mastering the art of following up..I guarantee that doors will open and opportunities will begin to present themselves!