When people start finding success, they note how it becomes easier and easier to reach that same level of success in the future. A big part of that is the connections you make as people take note of your success. People like to help others be more successful – it’s a mutually beneficial arrangement, since people often reciprocate in kind.
Recognizing this, I realized I had a problem. I don’t invest in meeting new people. Sure, I can work on my blog in a coffee shop next to other people on their laptops, but that hardly creates serendipitous encounters. Reading The Startup of You by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha only made this point more obvious. I don’t network nearly enough.
The Startup of You had many fantastic suggestions for managing your career, but one of my favorite ideas was that of the “Interesting People Fund.” This is a portion of your savings dedicated to meeting new, interesting people. For example, did you take someone in your field out to lunch to pick their brain? Take the cost out of your Interesting People Fund. Is there an interesting networking event a few towns over next week? Use your Interesting People Fund to pay for transportation and event costs.
Surprisingly, the biggest benefit of this kind of fund isn’t the financial resource. Something clicks in your mind when you start dedicating your resources towards the explicit goal of meeting interesting people. You begin to take networking more seriously. And when you do that, you begin to see the true value in it.
Meeting more interesting people is a win-win. The ROI on your Interesting Person Fund will likely be through the roof compared to that 7% return you saw on your stock portfolio last year. If even one of these interesting people points you towards a career-altering opportunity, it will have been worth all of the money you invested.
Homework? Create an Interesting People Fund, and start using it.