After three months of house hunting from an RV in Chattanooga, we made Signal Mountain home just a little over a year ago. I had left a small business and six years of friends behind in Georgia. While I was very eager to kick things off in Tennessee, I knew it would be hard to start a business without knowing a soul. So I decided to spend my first year meeting people and getting to know the Scenic City.
Through my previous business I learned the importance of networking and through a few professional development courses, I had come across some networking suggestions that proved to serve me pretty well. In just over a year, I am seriously plugged in. Our family has regular friends, I am writing for Chattanooga Moms, we’re an approved foster home, I have a part-time job, bought a rental, and I’m collaborating with other local business owners. My network is expanding rapidly. I have even opened my business back up in a commercial space with clients on the books!
Shortly after moving here, I joined many local groups on Facebook. I started to notice that Chattanooga was drawing quite the transplant crowd and many seemed to have the same questions regarding ways to meet people. So I decided, after a year of putting these to the test, to create a list of 8 ways you can plug into a new city:
- Join local Facebook groups, but here’s the key: you have to engage. Comment, post, and converse. You will start to attract your people — trust me.
- Write for a local blog! (Cough, cough.) We are looking for contributors!
- Become a customer. This is a little trick I learned in a mentoring session. Becoming a customer is a great way to meet local people that know more people. So book a hair appointment, a facial and something for the kiddos. When they have friends, you have friends.
- Attend local events. Facebook makes this so easy! Check the events tab and search for something in which you are interested. Since Covid, there are even online events that will allow you to meet people via Zoom.
- Get a part time job! I dream of living out my years as a super cool barista, but my husband has other retirement plans, so I decided to stick to marketing and photography. But being in a tourist town has its perks. Find a cool little boutique, coffee shop or small business and see if they could use a hand. You can get paid to meet people!
- Plug the kids in! Remember what I said in suggestion #3? When the kids have friends, you have friends. Plug the kids in and you have a direct line to the parents.
- Volunteer. There are a number of organizations looking for volunteers. CASA is a great program that is always looking for new people to advocate for abused and neglected children in the local courts.
- Get out and chat! One of the best friends we’ve made since being here we met while relaxing at a coffee house patio. We chatted for over two hours, swapped numbers and now we are swapping babysitting on the weekends.