It’s no secret that to be successful in business and career, the key is not what you know but who you know. Your resume is only as good as your references.
On a “traditional” career path, you would start networking in college. You’d meet lots of new, like-minded, and interesting individuals who you may inevitably meet again during stages of your career.
There are plenty of stories of college roommates who got together to found a successful startup.
How to Network in Today’s Corporate World
Networking today is easier than ever before. I remember my dad used to have a giant Rolodex on his desk that I would play with by spinning the business cards around.
Today, you just need a LinkedIn account and you’re good to go! You can start adding connections right away, and begin expanding your network.
LinkedIn’s algorithm is so good that they dig up people you probably know or knew based on the connections you currently have and your other data.
But LinkedIn is only partially effective when it comes to networking – if you depend on it alone.
In a world where everyone is online, the value of a personal relationship, a phone call, or a meetup for coffee or business lunch is much, much greater than a direct message sent through LinkedIn.
Even email is very effective – a personal email goes a long, long way and in my experience, they’re much more likely to be remembered than a random message on a social media site.
I am not downplaying LinkedIn in any way – I just wish to point out that effective networking happens when you rise above what everyone else is doing!
The Most Important Part of Networking
According to this excellent article on Inc, one of the most effective ways to network is to be intriguing.
That means you can’t be “just like everyone else.” There needs to be something unique about you that will catch your influencer’s eye and leave a lasting impression.
Your unique angle can be anything – it can be a challenge you have overcome, a unique service you provide, unique working circumstances – anything that sets you apart from everyone else!
That’s where being a digital nomad comes in.
Networking as a Digital Nomad
As a digital nomad, you have already set yourself apart from everyone else – you’re location independent and are taking advantage of the internet to earn a comfortable income(or getting there) that allows you to live the life you want.
In a corporate world where nearly everyone is working long hours and some are even subjected to long commutes, the idea of working when you want and from wherever you want is certainly going to be intriguing and leave a lasting impression!
Being a digital nomad also enables you to attend a lot more conferences than you would have been able to have you been tied down to a desk.
Plus, you can pick and choose whichever conference you want to attend – you don’t need to attend only conferences that are relevant to your current job. You are not tied down to any location, so you can happily hop around all over the world without having to get any boss’s permission or corporate approval.
See a conference you like? Hop on a plane and go!
This presents an amazing opportunity not just to meet new people but also to learn new things – just imagine the phenomenal exposure you’d be able to get and the industries you get acquainted with by attending different conferences.
Often, our horizons are limited simply because we don’t have the exposure to certain businesses – there have been many instances where I’ve met someone who introduced themselves as selling product X, and I would be wondering to myself “People sell this too?!”
Just getting to conferences easily is half the equation, though. Once you are at the conference or convention, you can make a lasting impression by introducing yourself as a location-free digital nomad.
You’re certain to shore up some envy amongst other participants, and this puts you in quite a unique position – suddenly, you’re the influencer that everyone wants to network with instead of the other way round!
To leave an even bigger impression, try to highlight how you’re living the nomadic life.
You could be traveling the country full-time in an RV(and earning while doing so), or you could be living the island life in South East Asia.
Or you could just be working from home, when you want, and how much you want.
The way you’re living your nomadic life would be your “hook”. Digital nomads are more and more common, but how often do you meet someone working and living from an RV? Or how often do you actually meet someone who lives full time in Thailand?
Finally, by hitting up the digital nomad “hotspots” like Chiang Mai presents another networking opportunity for you where you would meet other nomads in person.
Meeting them online and being in touch is one thing, but meeting them in person is something totally different.
The exchange of ideas that occurs when meeting in person is also very different than the exchange of ideas online.
As a digital nomad, you’re uniquely positioned to be able to tap into both the traditional corporate networking structure as well as the digital lifestyle networking structure.
It would otherwise be very hard for someone in a corporate job to head over to a conference in Chiang Mai, right!
What This Can Do For You in the Future
The more connections you build, the more opportunities you will open up for yourself in the future. Suppose you wish to start a new online venture and you need influencers to help you get started.
Or suppose you decide you enjoyed the nomadic life, but wish to settle in one place and start a more local business, or maybe even re-launch your career.
The connections you built and the lasting impressions you made will definitely help you in standing out in whatever you wish to pursue.