Build Your Little Black Book, Part 3: Connections

Welcome back to the “Little Black Book” series. In today’s blog post, we will be diving further into your book with the topic around connections. First, you developed your book around beauty (the external). Knowledge was introduced to build your book (the internal) for you to enjoy. Lastly, you will be developing your book around connections (the results).

Where we are:

Internal + External = Results.

How to Build & Where to Start

The first thing you would like to begin is where you are in your journey. As we are discussing in this month’s book club, the key quote you need to adapt is the mindset of “to get to where you want to go, you have to know where you are.” (‘The Old Money, New Women Book’, Page 27) You will need to take a moment to reflect on where you are, where you want to go, and how you want to get there as the essential parts of your process.

Let us begin from scratch here. I am going to give you an example that you can follow along.

  1. What is your goal? “I want to become a beauty editorial writer in the luxury beauty space.”
  2. Is there anything I can do to begin this role? “I can create a blog where I begin to write about beauty topics from makeup launches to new store openings. Next, I can read other blogs, editorial platforms to see what they are writing and what the writers are doing.”
  3. How can I use my own experience or non-experience to connect with other people? “I can go to events (online or not) to ask in-depth questions to other beauty writers, influencers, and editors. I can engage in the online space on pitches, beauty topics, and videos. I can head to stores to try the product to give feedback on my website or to a pitch. I can search up websites that need writers or email to ask for writing opportunities for my portfolio.”
  4. Is there any direction I can ask for from someone else who may be in the environment that I want to be in? Do they trust me enough to tell me the truth without sugar-coating? “I can reach out to a mutual on social media who may lead me in the right direction. I can even book a consultation to get specific advice on where I should go after developing my research on what I want to do.”
  5. How can I apply the mindset of “learn, adapt and shift” to each goal/environment I enter for connections? What is my ‘why’ (sense of self blog post) for entering the space? “I desire my ‘why’ to be exploring what the world of beauty has to offer through a writer’s lens. I can apply this mindset to whoever I met and how I handle my feedback on my writing.”

Use these three questions as starting points on where you would like your first connections to go. Understanding what perspective you bring to the connections makes it a mutual benefit connection. If you feel like you are doing too much for the relationship, make a conscious decision to back away now. It does not feel great and you will crash.

Now, you can apply these questions to things like getting into a sorority, applying for a charity initiative, connecting with other industries, etc. Learn, adapt and shift to your needs. Connections are what make the world go round. How you connect with people changes how you see the world. Strategy is an essential part of how you walk into the room.

Why add these to your book?

You will need other people in your corner outside of your close friends. Your close friends and family think the same way that you do. A stranger/acquaintance is more likely to give you a different perspective than your friends and family. This idea is called a ‘weak tie’ in psychology.

You can build your black book with a mix of close and weak ties to showcase a diverse set of views. The ‘weak tie’ is the person who can open your eyes to new information and spreads new concepts much further than your close friends. (See Weak Ties’ Chapter in The Defining Decade Book for more information on this.) Close friends are the strong and thick roots of your tree of knowledge. However, weak ties are the newer roots on your tree of knowledge. You will need both in your book.

Give and Receive Back vs. Ask for a Smart Favor

There are two methods that you can apply to your life. The first is called the give and receive back. This method is more a long-term connection-building mindset used selectively with connection building. You do not want to give every single person your time. Leave that to charity initiatives. You can frame this as giving your time and effort to a goal of mutual interest among your desired connection. A quality connection will give you back your time and effort in other ways.

Understand this first, how you engage with giving your time is important to how other people receive and appreciate it. For example, you can use the art of love languages to apply to your daily connections. If someone’s love language is the act of gift-giving, you may have a miscommunication on the giving & receiving back process if your love language is the act of quality time. Take note of this and apply as you will.

The second method you can apply is called Ask for a Smart Favor (aka The Ben Franklin Effect in the Defining Decade book). I have used this method as an attention grabber, and it works. The favor is something so small that it is easy for them to do. Ben Franklin used the method of asking a book-loving gentleman to borrow a book, and he returned it later with a note expressing his appreciation and favor. The book-loving gentleman later became good friends with Franklin.

This method applies to introductory connections. It is more likely to work in person vs online. You can apply this method online if you are highly engaged with them. It is an exceptional method for those who are building their black book with weak ties.

You have the power to change your situation through your knowledge, beauty, and connections. The internal, external, and results are there in your little black book. How are you going to apply these tools and techniques to your own life? Get ready, set, and go!