If you don’t think you have time to network, you’re probably thinking about networking wrong.
Most people think to network that they have to set aside extra time on weeknights to go to “networking events” and other dubiously valuable meetups.
It’s an unattractive prospect.
The good news is that if hard work is your main obstacle to this kind of “networking”, you’re probably already well on your way to a strong group of professional connections.
I’ve made my best connections by doing my job really well – or by doing work that really helps someone else out. In my day job alone I have worked with great talent within my organization. One of my colleagues worked for Visa and has decades of payment industry experience – and he speaks Mandarin. My manager has deep knowledge of digital marketing. Our head of people operations has worked in her field for over a decade. One of our designers worked for Spotify.
Even if I never left our doors I could spend forever building and forging deeper and deeper connections and knowledge-shares with these people.
But I also have met CEOs, worked with marketers from other companies, and interacted with representatives of companies from Microsoft to PayPal (once) as part of my job.
Through all of these interactions at work I have had constant opportunities to show my value as a potential employee, client, vendor, or investor to people far more interesting than the kind I would meet *after* work.. I’ve been networking without “networking” and so demonstrating an immediately real and telling version of myself to the fellow businesspeople I meet.
And I don’t have to go to a single networking event.*
When I leave my position I think I’ll find just how strong my network from BitPay is. But I hope until then that I can be conscious of just how much networking I’m doing by working. And with a conscious attention, perhaps I can get even more value from the opportunity to work with the amazing people right in front of me.
If anything, I just need to work harder and ask more questions.
*Of course other connections come in through events I go to for my company. But part of the reason I’m able to attract good connections there is because of the work I’ve done with my employer.