Hipolito Navarrete, Managing Editor/Publisher

I remember when I first started looking for a job, I was `17 turning 18 in high school and one of my friends asked me if I could handle working in a small room counting money. I have no idea how I eventually ended up doing that for I don’t remember how long, and I don’t even remember when and how the job ended. I just remember going on the weekends and being in a small room for 8 hours counting and dealing with one of the ladies who smoked like a chimney. I have always been grateful for the job, especially much later when I knew I absolutely did not want to be an accountant. However, that job came after a stint on a stand at the 1984 Olympics where I got my first taste of business politics and learning who to give away free soda to. If you don’t remember Evander Holyfield, look him up. He came to our stand and one of the servers recognized him and she told me not to charge him because Mr. Holyfield was cool and an Olympic athlete boxer. Our stand was set up on the lonely side of the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena. Well, I will never forget that we got a rush of folks when he told folks to stop by and say hi to us.

That was the year I began to understand deeply what networking for business meant. I still hear stories about and from folks that constantly attend events looking to expand their network, the problem is that most have no idea how that could happen, they also get upset when someone just befriends them because of the opportunities they have access to, really?

There are rules that anyone who is trying to expand their business network should live by. There are many, and depending who you ask, it could be a list of 3 or a list of thousands. Here is the most important question you must ask yourself; what are you able to offer that person in front of you? She is also expanding to expand her business network, how can you collaborate with her?

The question is one that demands that we take an inventory of our skills and our personal business network. But, what does that really mean? When should one start? I would say as early as possible. So as a high school senior, what do you do? As a college Senior what would you do? Networking is a skill of augmentation. A challenge for folks in communities that do not have an industry that they can claim is that they have no real road to a career or job, except for those that they see on TV or films. What about if you need to start another career or just need to start one now, in mid-life?

So how do you strategize for networking? Instead of asking yourself what would you like to be? Ask, what do you like to do, now, not in the future but now. If you start identifying some of the things that you do at this time, you can start figuring out ways to get paid for it. Everything can be a career, absolutely everything. There is a lot of information out there on the process and of those that have achieve financial success in their profession, let’s get real, yes all humans are all artists, but we like to be those that actually get paid. That is not impossible, but it is tough and exciting. Start looking for events that will help you understand what basic skills you need to have to begin your foray into your chosen career.