By Scott Britton
Size and Quality of Your Network + Transparency + Perceived Ability to Create Value = Volume of Opportunities
Your “true network” is not everyone you’ve ever met. Your true network is the group of people who’d gravitate towards helping you out given the opportunity (assuming the ask is appropriate).
The larger your true network, the larger the pool of people who might decide to send an opportunity your way. Network quality has implications, too. Because better networked, influential people are privy to more opportunities, having them in your corner correlates to a higher volume of opportunities.
People are much more likely to help you if they know how they can help you. No one’s a mind reader. This is why it’s imperative to make sure people know your objectives. The greater the awareness people have about how they can help you, the more likely people will funnel opportunities your way.
Ability to Create Value
Let’s face it: a majority of people are self-serving. If they’re going to expend time and energy on something, they hope to receive a return some day.
Thus, when people perceive that you might be able to create value for them, they’re going to be more willing to provide or help you find great opportunities. An unspoken karmic debt is created that they hope you will repay some day. Those familiar with the law of reciprocity know exactly what I’m talking about.
So, your ability to project that you can create value increases the amount of opportunities you’ll receive.
Becoming an Opportunity Magnet
- Increasing the amount of opportunities you receive is as simple as maximizing these variables.
- The larger and higher quality your network becomes, the more opportunities will come your way.
- The more you make objectives known, the more people will help you out.
- The more you project a propensity to create value, the more people will help you find great opportunities.
There are many ways to maximize each variable, which is why stacks of books have been written about each subject. So for the sake of your attention, I’ll just highlight a few things you can do to amplify each component; these come from personal experience.
Take a targeted approach to building your network instead of treating its growth and who you invite into your life as something that occurs due to circumstance or convenience. Going to a networking event and hoping you meet someone cool is not a strategy.
Start a blog. Publicly sharing your thoughts on a consistent basis not only helps provide people with a deeper understanding of how they might be able to help you, but also makes you more salient. Your goal should be to become the person that people think of when [insert interest/niche/need] comes up.
Stop being shy and start asking for what you want. If you have any social tact, most of the things you’re afraid to ask your network for are actually things they’d be more than willing to do. Try to build a habit of asking people you know and trust for things. Your cadence should be calibrated with the amount of value you provide to their lives. It’s about establishing give and take relationships where both parties win.
Stop being proud and tell things like they are. If you hide all your problems behind the veil of pride, other people will never understand how they can help you out. I wrote a post a while ago about how startup founders should be authentic when people sling the “How’s It Going at X?” rock. Creating the capacity for others to help, along with engendering intimacy, makes being honest and authentic the optimal strategy in 99% of scenarios.
Strategy: Ability to Create Value
Start a blog and get in traffic. If the only people in your industry who know you’re the best at what you do are the people in your office, then you’re squandering opportunities.
If you want to anchor the perception that you’re a badass, you must relentlessly demonstrate this to as many people as you can. Opportunity magnets I know achieve this by knocking it out of the park at their companies, building relationships in and outside their companies, creating actionable content that can be shared, and actually creating value for others. To my last point, the best way to “derisk” the perception that you can create value is just by doing it.
Being intentional about maximizing these variables has had a tremendous impact on my ability to attract great opportunities.
Do you know people who are looking for their next great opportunity? Send them this post so that they have a better understanding of what it takes to get there.