“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”

—Unknown


It’s All About Your Personal Network

If people don’t know who you are, they can’t hire you. So don’t go hiding under rocks — it’s your obligation to yourself and your business to get your name, face and website out there. Carry business cards with you. Start conversations with strangers. Unless you’re in the shower or asleep, you’re always ’on’ — think of yourself as a walking billboard. Okay, you don’t have to wear a sandwich board when you go get coffee, or tattoo an ad across your forehead, but remember that you’re a business person and you’re representing your business whether you’re out in public, or in cyberspace, wherever.

Join online groups and forums that are relevant to your industry, join a gym, join a supportive community. Think about ways you can meet new people and make new connections. (It doesn’t have to be just work-related to be a good contact.) Volunteering, sports, leisure pastimes, charitable fundraisers, and other community and social settings are all places where you may come across someone is interested in your line of work . And if they don’t need your services they just might keep you in mind for someone they know who does.

Consider making a list of your friends and family and asking them individually, or via a mass mail-out, for leads or word-of-mouth promotion. As they say, it’s not always ‘what’ you know but ‘who’ you know. And everybody knows somebody. Who is more likely to want you to succeed than those close to you? People always like to work with businesses that in some way have a personal connection — there is a built-in level of implied trust if you know them, or know someone they know.

So, even if you’re just taking the bus or waiting in a grocery store line-up, start a friendly conversation. Opportunities are everywhere, and you never know who you’re standing next to.


When I think about the active projects in my business, I can always trace them back to an event I went to where I met somebody who either hired me or introduced me to somebody else. Or both.