The Imperfect Guide to Networking in a New City
Updated: Jan 12, 2021
This past summer, I followed my gut and moved to Boise, Idaho on a whim. Since then, I've met hundreds of wonderful people (yes, during a pandemic). As a result, newcomers to Idaho (some that have been here longer than I have) have reached out to me for advice on how to do the same so, given the fact many people are doing the same thing all around the country, I decided to share my "playbook."*
* I never meant to execute a playbook. I just did what felt right at the time but when I zoom out and look at all of my actions holistically, I realize that they are replicable anywhere by anyone, so I've summarized them in the hopes that it helps someone else who is relocating to a new city.
Share the news. I shared the fact I'm moving to Boise on LinkedIn and asked for intros from my network. Before I knew it and with zero expectations, the post had thousands of views and hundreds of comments. I followed up with each and every person, and met/chatted with most of them.
Join local business organizations.
I transferred my YPO (a global CEO association) membership from the Washington, DC chapter to the Greater Idaho chapter, and reached out to members for intro meetings. I recognize most people aren't in YPO but there are others, such as EO, you can join.
I also joined the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce as an individual because I really value supporting the local business community.
Reach out, humbly. I reached out to business leaders and got involved in Boise Startup Week, the city's premier annual conference for entrepreneurship, by contributing my time and resources. I recognized early it's really important to respect the folks who have been here and have done the work for years before me.
Get office space. I signed a lease at the local coworking space, Trailhead. Most cities have something that came before WeWork and I wanted to make sure my coworking choice was as local as possible. It was also important for me to support the startup scene financially.
Join a social club. I joined the Arid Club, a social club, and attended events they have hosted. Somehow I even ended up on one of the volunteer committees!
Host events. I started hosting events at my house for like-minded entrepreneurs with a few of my new friends. With platforms like Meetup not operating as usual, I decided to create something myself.
Invest locally. I joined a local angel group in order to invest in local startups (and have since made my first investment in Ironside Roasting Company). When it comes to direct angel investments, I'd rather double down on my new city.
Get involved. I got behind an issue I'm passionate about, antisemitism, when an awful act of vandalism happened at the Anne Frank Memorial by coordinating the business community's response to it.
There you have it. Everything I did in a (hopefully) useful list, which you can execute as you look to establish yourself in a new city.