There Are Two Ways to Build a Network of Creators -- Only One is Right
Long story short, stop being needy
A big-time creator is like an extremely attractive woman.
Gents, if you were to look at the Instagram DMs and tinder likes of an attractive woman (I have), your mind would be blown.
Hundreds, if not thousands of men, constantly reaching out to her and trying to get attention.
99.99 percent of them do it in the worst way.
They slide into her DM’s with the magical pick-up line of:
I bring this up because most creators who try to network online are the equivalent of a thirsty guy who sends “hey” and gets left on seen.
Here’s how to network the right way.
The Iron Clad Rule of Networking
Nobody owes you anything.
If you inbox a big creator with any underlying sense of neediness they will smell it and you’ll be on their shit list.
Avoid phrases like:
Can I pick your brain?
Can we hop on a quick call?
Thanks in advance
It shows a gigantic lack of self-awareness.
These people are busy.
You’re being disrespectful to them because you’re trying to extract time and value from them — the same time and value other people pay for — while providing them nothing in exchange.
Let’s say you’re an accountant and some stranger walked up to you and asked you to do their taxes for free. Would you say yes? Exactly.
This isn’t to say other creators aren’t willing to help you for free. They are.
I do it all the time, but you have to have one trait to attract the attention of other creators and get the opportunity to collab with them, talk to them, and get mentorship from them.
The Trait You Need to Naturally Build a Network
You need to be someone worth knowing.
There has to be some quality about you that makes other people want to get to know you.
If you’re a newb without much to offer, there’s one way you can stand out. You have to have what I call “going places energy.”
If you’re a self-starter who’s proactive about your own career and you’re hungry to succeed, people will go out of their way to help you.
I got an editor at Thought Catalog to take me under his wing early on in my writing career. He gave me feedback on all of my articles for free, which helped me a ton.
I didn’t even ask him to do it either. He suggested it.
I started submitting articles to the website and after the first one got accepted, I went on a tear. I was submitting something new every other day.
I was an object in motion.
People will help you accelerate your momentum, but they will not drag you out of inertia.
Honestly, it has less to do with us trying to protect our time or anything like that. We just know that if we bent over backward to help you it would be a total waste of time.
A lot of people reach out to me for writing advice. I have dozens of 4-10,000 word guides with step-by-step directions and screenshots that they just skip right past to ‘pick my brain.’
Then they will ask me a vague question like “How do I start my writing career?” I don’t answer because I know that if I took the time to break it down and explain it to them it would be in vain.
Start trying some things on your own first, then, when you bump your head and have a specific question, ask someone, and the odds are pretty high they’ll tell you.
So there’s becoming someone worth knowing to get a mentor, but there’s also a way to do it to attract like-minded peers.
How to Build Your Own Circle
Like attracts like.
I have met dozens of other writers over the years. We’ve done affiliate deals together, promoted each others books, shared each other’s content, and traded secrets.
All the big-name creators work together.
It’s leverage on steroids.
There are a bunch of easy ways to build a network of friends you can learn from and grow with:
Add your own $.02 - On Twitter, I have gained several influential followers by quote-tweeting them and adding a unique insight to their posts. Step your comment game up. “Nice post!” is the equivalent of sliding in the DMs with “hey”
Work to get your name to pop up - Slowly but surely, my name keeps popping up more and more on Twitter because I am intentional about getting it to pop up. I’ve posted there regularly without expectation and commented on other people’s work. My name is starting to stick more over there. You want to get your name to stick in people’s minds. Even if they don’t interact with you right away, they’ll have no choice but to know who you are.
Learn how to court - Dating is just a great analogy for this. If you walk up to a stranger and ask them to marry you, they’ll think you’re weird. If you go on a first date and you’re trying to make out with them after two minutes of talking, they’ll think you’re weird. If you abandon talking to them because they don’t have sex with you after meeting them for the first time, you’re weird. The same works with building a network. Drop some comments for a while. Send a DM with a compliment and ask for nothing in return. Eventually, you can ask a question. If they take a liking to you, hop on a call. The bigger your brand grows the faster this process will go but in the beginning, you have to be patient.
My Philosophy on Networking
I’ve never been a hardcore networker.
My philosophy is simple.
If I show up and create good content, people will recognize me as a byproduct.
If I show love to other content creators who I am genuinely interested in and enjoy their stuff, I will make friends as a byproduct.
None of it is super contrived or planned. It’s natural.
Making friends online is exactly the same as making friends in the real world. Nobody likes a try-hard who seems to be working too hard to get other people to like them. Nobody likes that feeling of neediness or desperation.
It works the same way online.
Learn how to be cool.
Have some self awareness.
Next thing you know, you’ll have a network without ever having “networked"
If you want to stop being broke and make money with your craft, sign up today because it’s the smart thing to do
Links to other cool stuff you might enjoy
Watch this webinar replay I co-hosted with Self-Publishing School to learn how to write a best-selling book
Take my free 5-day course that teaches you how to make a living writing on Medium
Buy my best-selling book - Real Help: An Honest Guide to Self-Improvement