Two years after moving here, I’m so at home in the great Scenic City.
The Chattanooga area, Signal Mountain particularly, is home and it would take a lot for me to move out of the area. I mean, like a six-figure job offer in New Zealand, a lot. We moved to Chattanooga for all the reasons everyone else seems to be moving here for, without actually realizing everyone else was moving here as well.
We were in the Navy for some time and then spent a few years finding a home to raise the kids. Our goal was to be in that place before our youngest started kindergarten, and we made it. I owned a business in Georgia, but we knew fairly quickly that that wasn’t going to be a long-term home. We stumbled upon this Gig City and immediately in love. The culture, downtown area, and city offerings were exactly what we were looking for.
So we packed our bags and hit the road.
While in the military, we traveled to many countries and met all kinds of people along the way. Once out of the Navy, we lived in Fort Lauderdale and then bounced around west Georgia a while. I also moved a great deal as a child, often changing schools and reforming my 90’s girl band group. We obviously never hit it big, but just know that I tried many times to be in a famous pop band called Blush. In all of these scenarios, we were forced to find our people and build our tribe from scratch.
I have mastered the skill of meeting new people.
When I owned a business in Georgia, I knew how to network and use that skill. When we relocated to Chattanooga, I put that skill to work. I plugged in so quickly my realtor was asking if had family here and even suggested I become a realtor. He was seriously shocked by who I knew and how I was mingling in the community in such a short time.
Well, I had a plan. I knew I was moving a business to Chattanooga and that business relied heavily on referrals, and the infamous marketing “Know-Like-Trust” factor. So I hit the ground running and it worked just as planned. I have a ton of professional connections, and I have friends, not just acquaintances, but real-life bonafide, GIF sharing friends.
Since realizing that everyone one else in the country is moving to Tennessee and a large number of families are moving here to the Chattanooga area, I thought I would list my top 10 ways to meet people and network:
- Go out! This should be obvious, but you would be surprised. Just get in the habit of going out of the house.
- Check your social media. I’ve had friends of mine check and see if I’m friends with someone else on social media as a way to vet them before accepting a request. This was an eye-opener for me and since then, I try to keep my friend list small and I often scrub my comments on posts and keep my About Me section up to date. It really is a tool many people use to get to know you more, so make sure you are putting the image you want forward.
- Actually use social media. Hang around and chat in a local group. The power of your name and image next to your text is huge. Ask questions and engage. If you ask the right questions in the right tone, you can really attract your people and your tribe.
- Blog! Chattanooga Moms was one of the first things I signed up for when I moved to Chattanooga. Blogging with them instantly gave me a little mini tribe, forced me to get to know the city and has been a fun extracurricular for two years.
- Volunteer. There are so many opportunities to volunteer in the area. We foster teens, but there are long and short term opportunities all across the community. Trail maintenance, community outreach, school volunteer options, event volunteer options…the list is endless.
- Go to the networking events! There are a ton of organizations that hold weekly and monthly networking events. Oftentimes these are free. Just go check out social media and find your groups.
- Hang out. We met a fantastic family one day when hanging out on the patio of a coffee shop. Our kids hit it off and we did too. They have since become incredible sources of support and friendship. We’ve also met amazing friends just relaxing at parks and stuff. The kids do make it easier to break the ice.
- Launch your business. I took a year of networking before doing this, but it definitely allowed me to meet a ton more people once I did. And if you get your branding and message right, you’ll attract your people.
- Join a movement. Find a cause and jump in. There are tons of opportunities to bring awareness and call for action here.
- Join a club. MOMS International, MOPS, Trail Dames, Rowing Clubs, running meetup ups, trail running groups, rock climbing groups, hiking, fishing, canoeing, etc. Whatever you are interested in, there’s a group for it. Just sign up and get there, that’s the hardest part.