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How To Establish A Network In A New City

Published on Mavenly + Co. on August 3, 2016.

Two and a half years ago, I made the crazy, spontaneous decision to move from Dallas to Boston. I knew no one, had no job, no place to live, and yet I still booked the one-way ticket in the hopes of making it work. After living in an Airbnb for one month, eating at restaurants by myself and going on several interviews, I now find myself in my Back Bay apartment thinking “how on earth did I make it work?” So I’m here to share some of my biggest takeaways with those of you looking to make a bold move.

Leverage Connections

I reached out to lots of people in the network I had, because people know other people. Whether it’s a person you met through an old job, an organization, or a friend of a friend, it’s amazing to see how much people are willing to help others–all you have to do is ask. Start by asking if they know anyone in your new city or if they have any favorite restaurants you should check out. By initiating the conversation, you are ultimately leaving that door open for new connections, excellent recommendations, and useful advice.

The Two C’s

Invite anyone and everyone you first meet to one of the two C’s: coffee or cocktails. Set aside a budget solely for this purpose, because I have yet to have one person deny me for a beverage. This is the perfect opportunity to speak to XYZ about what you’re looking to accomplish and experience in your new city. Having a drink with someone doesn’t necessarily mean talking shop–it’s all about forming relationships with the right people.

Fill Up Your Calendar

My friends and family are always commenting on how busy I am with my organizations, side hustles, and networking events. By getting out in my new community, I have met so many people of different backgrounds and have gotten to experience new things. Sign up to volunteer for a nonprofit or cause you are passionate about, join a book club, or take a class at your local adult education center. Staying busy also wards off the dreadful feeling of homesickness.

Follow Up

With every new connection you make, follow up! Show them that your time spent together was meaningful and useful. In doing so, you show that you’ve made an investment in getting to know them and that you’re willing to foster that human connection. After all, they are people, too, and people shouldn’t be used and tossed out.

Not knowing anyone shouldn’t keep you away from moving to your dream city–trust me. You have one life to live, so live it to the fullest and take those risks that seem scary. You never know who you will meet along the way.

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