One of my biggest struggles that I’d like to make a strength is… networking! Networking is super important especially when you’re a start up. And it needs to be happening continuously, no matter how established you are. Making connections helps in ways you sometimes never even thought of. You discover opportunities, find inspiration and sometimes come up with creative ideas through collaborations.
There are two reasons I struggle with this: one, being the fact that I’m more of an introvert, especially with new people and second, being that I find it really difficult to ask people for help. Of course networking isn’t only about asking for help; it’s a two-way relationship and reminding myself of that is a little comforting – it’s an exchange.
The reason why I’m talking about networking is because a lot of the advice I got early on was to “find a mentor”. Having one is a great advantage. I did push myself to attend fashion-related events and met people with similar interests. I may not have found a ‘mentor’ per se but I did make a lot of great connections and learned a lot about current fashion trends.
If you’re anything like me and can relate to this, I can tell you what one of my professors at Pratt advised me to “have an advisory board”.
Try to find someone, or a group of people who will be your advisory board. This can be your siblings, your friends, even acquaintances, people who have experience or knowledge in certain fields that would be of help to you. A lot of times I find myself stuck about a decision and it really helps to have someone who understands your market/audience/industry and has seen your growth. This not only helps when you feel stuck at any point, but also sometimes you just need the encouragement and someone who can remind you to keep going and see how far you’ve come.
*I am currently reading “Never Eat Alone” by Keith Ferrazzi & Tahil Raz. It’s a New York Times Bestseller about networking and building relationships for success. It was highly recommended by a friend who also has a startup. I’d love to share some highlights once completed.