Hands down, the most common advice I hear when it comes to business: Do what you love, and the money will follow. But what if you love to do a lot of things?
Until recently, I didn’t realize the value of my personal, untapped network. I’ve always separated my personal life from professional one. I love to dance, rock climb, train in MMA, and take photos. I don’t think there’s a career that includes all of that (if so inbox me, we need to chat).
I grew up in the competitive b-boy (break) dance scene, and have travelled the world, meeting amazing individuals who love what they do. To me, these people would always be dancers, and I categorized them as such. In my mind, they simply weren’t affiliated with what has now become my career as a creative director in the advertising and content creation world.
I never thought of reaching out to them regarding professional issues; they’re just dancers, right?
Now, years past my athletic prime (unadmittedly), through social media I’ve followed the personal growth of my former dance colleagues. It has been impressive to see where some people have ended up and what they’ve accomplished– small business owners, Fortune 500 Execs, and in many cases, creative like me (not surprising I guess).
Caveat: By nature, I’m not the most social bee when it comes to networking.
Within a few degrees of separation, I began to reach out and connect with other former and current dancers on a professional level. The beautiful thing was the leg work was done for me– already sharing a common interest upon which to bond, or at the very least, start a quick conversation. We knew the same people, we’re inspired by the same things, and we have an irrational love for dancing that other people would never understand.
With barriers lowered and a relaxed conversational setting, it’s been incredibly easy to generate new leads, ask for professional advice, or find new candidates to hire. All of these channels felt narrow to me in the past. This has worked so well for me because it allows me to stay authentic and comfortable to who I am– no need for a salesy facade.
We’re all just regular people who have different interests in life. We make friends in niche hobby communities– people you like and trust, which also happen to beessential building blocks of forging great business relationships.
You’d be surprised what your sparring partners or your gym buddies do for a living. Tap into those wells; they can run deep. And if you haven’t already, find a hobby,even if it is spinning on your head.
Do what you love, build meaningful relationships, and eventually the money will follow.
Follow me everywhere @matthewencina