Networking is the new career, which means you can’t afford to be shy (or lazy) about it any longer. Learn how to hustle like a pro to get your name out there.
Everyday I’m, everyday I’m, everyday I’m hustlin’
Ev-ev-ev-everyday I’m hustlin’
Everyday I’m hustlin’
Ev-ev-ev-everyday I’m hustlin’
Ev-ev-everyday I’m, everyday I’m, everyday I’m hustlin’
Everyday I’m hustlin’ hustlin’ hustlin’ hust-hustlin’ -Rick Ross
I’ve never thought of myself much as a hustler. I’ve always been an extremely hard worker, but being a hustler is different.
Up until now, it always had a bit of a negative connotation for me. A hustler is pushy, demanding and maybe a little shady. If you watch the spectacular trailer for the new film American Hustler, you’ll get my point. (Bradley Cooper’s hair alone is convincing.) However, recently I was called a hustler, and I realized it was actually a compliment.
I’m currently in the midst of establishing myself as a freelance writer, editor and content strategist. I’m talking to everyone I possibly can and promoting myself. I’m writing tons of emails, being persistent (remember, there’s a difference between being persistent and nagging), and I’m networking — or power networking, as I like to call it. (With power networking, you burn more calories.) I’m not a shy — or, rather, lazy — networker anymore because I can’t be. My livelihood depends on it.
“Hustling” in the working world just means strategic self-promotion and constant networking, as well as looking for non-obvious opportunities. I’m not walking around with a cane and a hat throwing my cards at people, but I am trying to get more people to listen to me. And it’s actually working! Yes, I’ve had to eat more Ramen noodles than usual this month, but that’s OK. It makes me feel like I’m 24 again. Fun!
I’m taking my work ethic and channeling it into all these different things. It’s hard work, but also exciting. I’m getting to see a whole new side of myself. There are a lot of things I can’t control right now, but one thing I can control is how much I’m networking and promoting myself. I can take charge of that — and so can you.
So, here are my tips for being a hustler. Hustling 101, if you will.
1. Give everything you’ve got
It won’t work unless you’re putting everything you’ve got into it. It’s not going to be easy. It’s cliche, but no pain, no game.
2. Be fearless
I used to be the person who hated to write those emails once again asking if someone has read my stuff or could meet for coffee, but now I do it all the time — and most of the time, people thank me. I’ve been in the other seat, and it’s hard to answer those emails when you have a million other things to do.
I’ve found a second email is just enough of a push that people realize you’re seriously interested and excited. It’s not embarrassing. If they never email you back, then it’s their loss.
3. Network until the cows come home
Last week at a Marie Claire event, Krawcheck, owner of 85 Broads, said, “We should embrace networking. It is the number one unwritten rule of succeeding in your career.” It’s almost a hundred percent more likely your next job is going to come from a loose business connection and not a friend, she said.
I’m a social person, but it takes me a little while to warm up. I don’t have time for that anymore. If you have this problem, too, take a sip of wine and bring a friend who can be your networking wingman, and get to it. It will get easier every time. Talk about how awkward you are. That’s one of my best ice breakers.
4. Love it
Hustling is work, but it’s really exciting. You never know who you’re going to meet or what opportunity may present itself. Right now, literally every day something happens that I couldn’t have predicted. I’m introduced to another person or made aware of a company or job I didn’t even know existed.
Embrace it! That’s the only way you’ll thrive. Remember, “Good things happen to those who hustle.”
Meredith Lepore is the former editor of the women’s career site The Grindstone. Before that, she was on staff at Wall Street Letter and Business Insider and was a contributing writer for LearnVest. She earned her Masters in Magazine, Newspaper and Online Journalism from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University after graduating with a degree in Brain and Cognitive Science from the University of Rochester. Meredith resides in New York full-time and enjoys reading, jogging, shopping and playing with her puppy, Otis.