As you’re preparing to “take the leap” into your next professional endeavor, being as aware as possible of your current and existing professional footprint is key. Whether it’s being aware of exactly where your existing network is or learning to be more aware of how your past experiences could be marketed in a different way, self-awareness and a vision will likely serve you well. Last post I mentioned (and highly recommended) digging into creating a document of your network as it currently stands. This could be broken down in a variety of ways, but for the nature of remote work’s non-committal geographical mandate, I’ve personally found it incredibly helpful to segment based on geographic location of my network and their industry.
Prior to jumping into (or creating) a location-independent role, it can be especially helpful to have a solid grasp of where you currently stand and also a vision and plan for where ideally you would like to go. Who is already in-network that can help you get there? Who is in-network that would like to be included in the journey with you?
The following are a few simple, quick, and thoughtful (but easy to implement) tips on locating your existing network and getting a plan for international expansion prior to jumping:
1. Tap into your existing network. Through the internet, we have access to the entire world at our fingertips and the freedom to do with it what we so choose. Take time to do the groundwork. Figure out where you’ve come from, determine where you currently are, determine where you want to go (very specifically not only from a geographical perspective but from a financial, professional, holistic life, and legacy-perspective), and go get it. Having the privileges and access that we do, the only thing holding you back from achieving and accomplishing your goals is you. The only thing holding you back is the mindset and perspective from which you approach things, your commitment to self-awareness and challenge, and your relentless commitment to those dreams. Given that we do have access to the entire network of the world at our fingertips, once you’ve taken the time to get specific and dive into those dreams as well as establish your existing network, take a minute to determine the overlap between the two. Based on your established network, see who is currently in-network to give you leads and who may want to come along for the ride. LinkedIn is a mega-resource for this and at the moment, is only gaining traction. Who is where? What are they involved in? How can we help each other get where we want to go? What is the actual problem? What’s the most simple and effective solution?
2. Check out local co-working spaces or local branch offices. Local offices, coffee shops, and businesses can be a fantastic way to meet local people wherever you’d like to go. Whether it’s a smaller, more start-up environment you’re seeking or a corporate conglomerate,begin putting feelers out. One incredible resource? Google Maps on incognito mode. It won’t track your cookies, and it will give you semi-unbiased information. Give “coworking spaces” or “coworking cafes” a quick Google in your desired location — see what you can find! With 70 percent of professionals working remotely — a phenomenon known as telecommuting — at least one day a week, while 53 percent work remotely for at least half of the week, the demand for collaborative and communal spaces is abundant. It’s just a matter of seeking them and finding a good fit. See what you can find, and then use social media and other resources at your disposal to see who is there. Based on the communal nature of co-working spaces, you may be able to have virtual meetings with a few existing members. This momentum can be not only encouraging, but very effective even prior to landing.
3. Take advantage of local opportunities. Conferences, meetups for like-minded in-industry professionals (and even those outside of your industry), and events like Creative Mornings are incredible opportunities for network expansion, professional development and finding others who are seeking a similar life experience. Particularly due to the independent nature of remote-work, finding and creating community is key. The combination of local and digital opportunities to connect provide a unique junction of connectivity and expansion.
*This post was written in partnership with America's Future Foundation.