This week, I started my research on Orlando’s business community. When I lived here a decade ago, the idea of an Orlando business community was a bit of a pipe dream. What a difference 10 years can make. I don’t know much about the landscape here so I started with a simple strategy—I contacted all of the companies on the “2014 best places to work in Orlando” list published by American City Business Journals. (They probably have something similar for your city, too!) I sent off a simple email that explained my interest in what they do and a bit about what I do.
Within 10 minutes, I got a response back from a business owner and we set up a brief phone chat. His company wasn’t the right fit for a content creator like me, but he gave me the names of 5 other companies that he thought would be. (Incredibly generous on his part!) After our brief chat, I immediately emailed all of the contacts he gave me. 24 hours later, all 5 had responded positively asking to meet me, set up a phone chat, or refer me to another company they felt would be a good contact for me.
This same strategy has worked for me as I’ve slowly but surely worked my way through the channels at a certain very large and highly-matrixed company that has *just a few* theme parks here in Central Florida. I’m in the midst of the (very long) interview process though all of those contacts have been made by directly emailing leaders at the company whose work interests me, not by applying to any public postings.
For me, the lesson has been clear: whether it’s freelance work or a new job, we can’t wait for postings. Being proactive and highly engaged is the name of the game, especially in a new city. If someone writes something, builds something, or talks about something that interests you, reach out, connect, and see if there’s a way to collaborate. It takes some effort, but is ultimately much more fruitful than endlessly sifting through job postings. Don’t wait for the job, or collaborative business partner, you want to become available. Create your own opportunities.