Don’t be afraid to take risks, like introducing yourself to someone — in person — on a whim.
I still remember the early days of networking, before LinkedIn existed to help organize your professional life. When you’re fresh out of college, networking typically means going to happy hours, checking in with former classmates, and keeping in touch with mentors from your summer internships. But it’s the people who decide to go above and beyond college or corporate happy hours — with creative approaches to introductions — who can really stand out.
After you’ve been in the workforce for 15-plus years like I have, your networking strategy needs to evolve to place you in front of the right senior executives at innovative, cutting-edge companies. Remember that you are your own best publicist and it’s OK to be forward, ambitious, and scrappy to open the right doors. Don’t be afraid to take risks like introducing yourself to someone — in person — on a whim. Don’t hide behind LinkedIn connections online. Instead, create real, long-lasting relationships that will connect you with the biggest opportunities of your life.
The other day, I was in a meeting with my entire company when everyone started clapping for me. I work at a company with a supportive culture where we regularly celebrate one another’s accomplishments, so the clapping wasn’t particularly surprising, but what they were congratulating me for was. It wasn’t a campaign or piece of content for a client—in fact, it wasn’t related to my full-time job at all. The CEO had announced that I had an article published in Fast Company, a personal goal for my freelance writing career. It was that meeting that got me thinking more about the ways that a side hustle can help your full-time job.
There is a common misconception that having a side hustle is detrimental to one’s career. The myth is that if you’re doing something on the side, you aren’t 100 percent focused on your full-time job. I’ve found the opposite to be true: My writing and marketing outside of work makes me better at my job. I am constantly learning about new industries, fostering relationships, being creative, and making my writing stronger. Still skeptical? Here are five ways that a side hustle can actually help you at your full-time job.