I moved to Nashville a few years ago with a slightly different objective than many of my peers. Rather than focusing solely on getting a job, my goal was to get in front of as many people as possible and build relationships. The music industry is a relationship-based business and I felt that building a web of connections within the industry would serve a greater purpose than immediately plugging into a job.
Here are a few things I have learned in this ongoing relationship-building journey:
Anyone who met me in my first year of living here knows me affectionately (I hope) as “the girl with the spreadsheets.” I kept track of everyone I met and who introduced us, which leads me to my next point.
Gratitude goes a long way:
Many business relationships are a result of an introduction and I have found that these relationships are strengthened when I go out of my way to thank the person who introduced me to this new connection. It can be as simple as an email saying “I met with ___ today and we had a great conversation. Thank you again for the introduction!”
Go up and introduce yourself:
I love live music and frequent a lot shows each week. Soon after moving to Nashville, I started to see a lot of the same faces at all of the same shows. Many of the relationships I have formed have been a result of me simply walking up to these individuals and introducing myself. If you keep seeing someone out and about, you are clearly running in the same circles and on the same schedule. You may as well put a name to the face and get to know them a bit better.
This is an important point. If you are introduced to someone via email, follow up and schedule a time to meet. Make sure to send a quick thank you note, highlighting the topics that most resonated with you when you met. If the person you met with offered to introduce you to other industry professionals, send a friendly reminder note that you would love to be introduced to those people if they are still willing to make the introduction. If you meet someone at a show, follow up the next day asking to meet for coffee. This is a great opportunity to get to know one another and learn about your respective journeys in the music industry. The next time you see each other out, this connection will feel more genuine and authentic. Someone once described me as “politely persistent.” I have never been more flattered.
Build relationships with people at different stages of their careers:
Someone well into their career gave me some great advice once. He told me to “get to know my graduating class.” He was essentially telling me to socialize with my peer group because my peers and friends today will eventually be the people I’ll be making big deals with. Additionally, it is also important to build positive relationships with individuals further along in their careers because they will provide much-needed mentorship and guidance. As a female in the music industry, I have especially focused on building authentic relationships with female leaders in this business. I work for a company with phenomenal female leadership and seeing women I so greatly admire, and who I have built strong relationships with, advance in their careers empowers me as a young hopeful in this industry. It inspires me to do my best in this field and continue to strive for greatness.
Give it time:
Authentic and positive relationships are not built in a day. Put your best and most honest self forward and then trust the process. A mentor of mine said that experience is just time in disguise. Neither can be truncated or expedited. You just have to keep showing up, keep expanding your reach, keep learning and growing, and individual relationships will fall into place as they should.
The relationships I have built over the years have absolutely carried me to where I am today. I am grateful to surround myself with so many people who I am inspired by and who make me feel empowered. I know I will continue to put myself out there, walk up to that familiar face and introduce myself–I encourage you to do the same.