Are You Forgetting to Network With Your Friends?

chocolate-muffin“I get by with a little help from my friends.” – The Beatles

True story: for a long time, and when I was a child, no less, I thought that line was, “I get high with a little help from my friends.” This was before I actually knew that you could get high, and that it involved consuming illegal substances. I think I had some vague idea that it had to do with kites. ANYway . . .

Why haven’t you hit your friends up lately?

The other day, a friend of mine asked me if I knew anyone who could write great copy and call her up every morning to taunt her mercilessly until she got her butt out of bed.

I stared at the screen. Was this like when those infomercials ask you questions like, “Wouldn’t you like to live fungus-free?” Was this a sly way of asking me to do the work, the way guys will occasionally ask you out if they want a subtle in? (“I don’t suppose you know any sexy, intelligent single women who would be interested in a guy like me?”)

It turns out that no, it just hadn’t occurred to my friend that I’d be interested. This is my fault. Most of my friends apparently don’t know what I’m interested in. Your friends probably don’t know what you’re interested in either.

Oh, friends have an idea of what I do for a living. They know I write, for example. But some of them only have a vague idea of what copywriting is. They have no way of knowing that their job is either something I do for a living or something I’d be interested in doing for them.

Guess why my friends don’t know these things?

If you guessed, “Because you haven’t told them, nimrod,” you win a shiny prize.

Tell your friends what you’re up to. Send an email to a friend now and then and mention what’s new in your business world. Talk to them about your plans, like expanding your business or taking on a partner or getting into synchronized swimming with dolphins. Ask your friends to refer anyone they know that might have information or resources that would be helpful to you.

Thank them, tell them you miss them and that you’d love to talk to them soon, and sign off.

Something weird will happen. Your friends will call or write back. They’ll have ideas for you. Help. Advice. They’ll say, “I saw you were going to run a contest and you know what? I would love to contribute a prize. It’ll help me promote my own business.” They’ll say, “Hey, I didn’t know you were into journalism. You should meet my friend Mark. He’s been writing for the New York Times since he was in diapers.” Or they’ll say, “You like muffins? I ALSO like muffins! We should make muffins together sometime!”

Seriously. Opportunities only happen when you make them happen. Go tell your friends what you’re up to you. They’ll help you out. Sometimes they’ll even make muffins for you when you can’t make your own. Who are you to turn down a good muffin?

The authorities out there always tell you to work a contact if you really want a job or an opportunity. There’s a reason. We’re more inclined to talk to, help out, and collaborate with people we know – OR with people our friends have endorsed. And there’s a lot of evidence that friend assistance is better than any other kind of assistance you can name, including financial.

Anyone got a good story about a boost from a friend?

Post by Taylor

Taylor Lindstrom (fondly known as Tei) is a twenty-something copywriter and journalist from Boulder, CO. She’s the team’s rogue woman who wowed us until our desire for her talents exceeded our desire for a good ol’ boys club. She loves the color green, micro-point Uniball pens, and medieval weaponry.