How To Build Valuable Connections in a New Industry Where No One Knows You
Forget networking and shift your focus to engaging people from your target industry in a project.
Traditional guidance suggests we should send emails, invite people to coffee, or virtual coffee call in order to pick their brains about their experience. However, if your true mission is to build ‘valuable connections’ then this won’t do the job. At best, you’ll get a free coffee and some advice that you may or may not even use.
You can get and create so much more value from this interaction by inviting them to help you on a project you are bringing to life. This will engage the new mentor in a way that turns them into much more than mentor. After helping you bring a project to life, they become a dear friend, partner, and/or collaborator. When someone works with you in this way, they see you as someone they would be happy to go out and advocate on behalf of or even fight for if the right opportunity presents itself.
Projects to Help You Meaningfully Connect with New People
So what kind of project could you create? Honestly, there are almost endless possibilities. But here are a few ideas I often suggest to get your momentum going. Once you do one of these, you’ll have plenty of ideas for follow-up projects.
Investigate a hot topic in your target industry by researching it and interviewing people for your articles. Commit to 10 articles and aim for 1,000 words each (minimum). What’s in it for you? First, you learn a lot about a trending hot topic in your target industry which will position you as someone who knows what’s going on. Second, you will meet very interesting people that you interview and will be able to stay in touch with so that you can share your finished product with them. Third, you start to build the foundation to potentially becoming a future thought leader in this space.
Similar to the blog series, however, this time you will record your interviews for the purposes of podcast episodes. For the research you do, instead of writing it for a blog, you will write it up as a podcast script for a solo episode. Commit to 10 episodes of 5 interviews and 5 solo-episodes.
Again, similar to the first two projects, this is just a video expression of the same work. This time you’ll use video from the interviews and create your own solo video episodes sharing the insights you discover from your research.
Powerful Benefits of Launching Projects in Your Target Industry
All three of these projects achieve the same outcomes:
- Exploring your new target industry in a meaningful and purposeful way.
- Connecting in a meaningful way with players in that industry.
- Adds value to people in that industry.
- Positions you as someone who is interested and on the path to thought leadership.
- Even if you decide against moving into this industry, this shows the world that you are someone who makes things happen and has the output to back it up.
I suggest picking the one that connects best with your skills and interests. However, if you want to double-dip and use this as an opportunity to develop new skills, pick one that will challenge you to learn new skills (i.e. writing, recording/editing, video production, etc.).
Want help? Book a coaching intro call with me and we can discuss how I can help you take your project idea from concept to creation in 4 weeks!