On the eve of my twenty-ninth birthday, I can honestly say I now realize that the key to leveling up in my thirties will be through the curation and fostering of an ecosystem. An ecosystem is not simply going through a Rolodex of contacts when you are in need of a last-minute favor or getting the hook-up for a section at Compound on New Year's Eve (although this is still clutch). Establishing an ecosystem means investing in the cultural capital of like-minded individuals to cultivate a professional network of reliable businesswomen and men. Right now I know at least three make-up artists, two photographers, four lawyers, three catering services, countless other small business owners, and a brother-in-law that can make even the smallest of yerts into the smart home of your dreams! You also have to be willing to pay people what their worth and know that ultimately, you get what you pay for.
Your ecosystem can serve whatever purpose you desire. I value genuine connections with the people I regularly interact with. My web of entrepreneurs, corporate connects, and creatives have grown out of personal relationships across varied industries and interests on the premise that if I cannot be the one to help, I can confidently defer. To quote New New's daddy, John Garnett, from the classic film ATL, "It's not always about what you know, but who you know" and I'm trying to know everybody! Utilize social media as a tool to follow people within your industry as inspiration and look for potential networking opportunities. That's one small step that I'm learning goes a long way.
I didn't even realize how many valuable connections I already have until I took the time to write it down. Above all, there is intentionality required to finesse this kind of movement. I cannot put my name on everyone and it's important that we all realize not everything that glitters is gold. Make meaningful connections now and watch each person pay it forward. You never know how that one lasting impression can be what propels you into rooms bigger than you could ever imagine for yourself.
Until next time... Be Great!
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Thank you for reading this week!
xo Mia Shantel
#Networking #Ecosystems #Entrepreneurship #BlackOwned #SmallBusiness