After decades of working in a corporate environment you’ve learned a few things.

You probably have a good Rolodex of contacts. That’s one thing that makes you a valuable asset to your company.

But let’s take a harder look at those contacts. They’re people you’ve known and worked with for years. You’ve recommend them and they’ve recommended you. You feel comfortable calling on them for a favor.

But what if you weren’t in your current job? Right now, those folks are an asset, but for your future plans they might or might not be.

Here’s where you win, though. The exact skills you used to cultivate these relationships puts you ahead of the game when creating new relationships. Your honed ability to bring people with similar objectives into your circle becomes an asset you can leverage. This is when you start to build a new Rolodex, one that will take you into the next decade.

It’s been said that one of Steve Job’s best talents was his ability to work outside his network of carefully picked workers to study new innovators. When you start actively thinking outside the box for your future retirement plans you realize you still need a Rolodex of helpful contacts, they just fall into different categories.

Here are a few ways to very easily enter into and connect with a new network of people. For your purposes, you’re seeking out a new network to confirm your interest in an opportunity and to gather knowledge.

Check out Facebook Groups

Just type in your search term such as “expatriate” and the word “groups” in Facebook’s search bar. Facebook will provide you with a list of popular groups to join. If you prefer you can also hide the Facebook groups you join so your friends (or possibly co-workers) can’t see. Never underestimate the value of stealth mode.

Follow a Hashtag on Twitter

Twitter is a great resource for up to the minute information on just about any topic. Just type a hashtag (#) and your search term like #onlinemarketing in to the search bar and Twitter will show you highly ranked tweets on the subject which lead to quality articles to read.

Join a Meet-up in Your Area

If you are more extroverted and prefer to jump right in with face-to-face meetings, try joining a local group that focuses on a new interest like travel, online business, or your choice for a new opportunity at meetup.com.

Getting started in a new network is a simple process. People are easier to approach today than they were ten years ago thanks to the Internet and social media. You can start to make new acquaintances, find specialized information and enter a new network of individuals in a matter of hours.

Once you’re in the network and you feel comfortable, you can start to do what you’ve done throughout your career — build relationships and bring people together in a brand new Rolodex.

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