I moved to a new city almost three years ago. My husband was offered a wonderful job in a city that our firm was looking to expand in and just like that we packed up our beautiful house, our 11-month-old, our dog and ourselves and moved from Florida, which both my husband and I had called home since birth and frankly thought we would never leave.
Luckily, Charleston is our dream hometown and our family felt at home with our surroundings from the moment we drove in, however, at times it has been lonely and difficult to acclimate to a new town with new networks of people and a new business climate.
The first thing I was determined to do when we got here was to network. Networking is the most important part of getting your bearings in a new city both professionally and personally. Within the first 3 or 4 months, I had attended as many networking opportunities as possible. I met some incredible people and made some important connections right off the bat. Finding networking opportunities is easy with Facebook and MeetUp, and once you go to one ask around (network) for other networking opportunities!
Now, I am an introvert by nature, so networking doesn’t come easy but if you can “fake it” for one or two hours a couple of times a week you will get the hang of it and soon it will come more naturally.
Once you are at a networking event, make sure you are connecting with people and immediately setting up coffee dates or lunch meetings. Actually get to know people in your community whether you think they can help your business or not, you never know down the road who you will need. Just as in client development, the follow up is just as important as the introduction.
Another big part of connecting with people in your community is connecting those people to other people who may be helpful in their work or good for them to know. This type of introduction can be invaluable for your colleagues, they will not forget it, trust me!
My last tip is to just keep going, even if you have been in the city for five years, keep networking, setting up meetings and connecting people.
Acclimating to a new city wasn’t always easy, but these are a few ways I got started. Another thing to remember is, whether your city is big or small, new people are moving in every day, so chances are you aren’t the only newbie wanting to get acclimated to your new town.
That’s the benefit of networking — the odds are in your favor that someone going through a similar transition, but you’ll never know if you don’t explore your new network!
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