How And When To Start Building Your Network
That is probably true for a lot of things in life like getting in shape, learning something new, starting a hobby, and building a community around you.
Building a network sometimes gets a bad rap. We mistakenly let it become fake or transactional but it doesn't need to be like that ... and in that mindset you'll miss out on so much. The best way to start is to offer help or support. Just be yourself, listen to what the other person says or writes, learn about them and engage with something that provides some value.
I remember a while back I was going through some rough times. A friend offered to go to the movies. We didn't need to talk. He didn't have to solve my problems. Just being there was enough. Now, many many years later, I still think warmly on that moment and of him.
These days a movie or going out for coffee or a drink may not always be possible but it is easy to stay in touch electronically. Any small expression is a great place to start. Get in touch on social media, send a text, email a quick note with something interesting and a 'hope you are well'.
Recently many of us have been facing employment instability along with the stress of the world around us. We're dealing with layoffs or reductions in hours or pay. If that is you, I'm sorry and I hope things get better for your soon. If that is not you, realize that many of your friends are worried or being affected. This is a great time to reach out to them.
On the plus side, I've heard lots stories of people helping one another by sharing job opportunities, giving referrals, or offering support.
This support is the purpose of your network, communities and relationships. It is not about the number of "friends" or likes on a social network. It is about building relationships and offering help where ever you can.