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In this video, Test Lab host Jazmine shows us what happened when she cold-messaged hundreds of people via LinkedIn, Instagram, email, etc. Tune in for some great tips on perfecting your elevator pitch and networking over the internet!

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In The TFD Test Lab, we're sharing real-life experiences challenging ourselves to live better, more budget-friendly lives. Whether through attempting a no-spend challenge, switching up a budget system, or tracking progress on a new healthy routine, we'll be highlighting all the risks *and* rewards of frugal living.

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Hey, everyone.

Welcome back to The Test Lab. I am your host Jazmine Reed-Clark for The Financial Diet.

And this is the series where I get to try out different challenges to live a healthier, more budget-friendly lifestyle. And if you've watched any of our other Test Lab episodes, you know that typically we're taking on challenges to save money or spend with more intention. But this is the first episode where I am going to be trying to make money with intention.

That's right. I am going to be what I call networking in the new age. So that means I will be sliding into DMs, shooting my shot, being that girl on LinkedIn.

And I think a lot of us, myself included, can find that working super awkward, intimidating, and even at times, phony. So I prefer to call it connection building. It does some placebo in my head.

And it seems to be working. I've always thought that networking and landing a really great job felt a lot like dating and finding a really great partner. The timing has to be just right.

You both have to align on goals and expectations. And yeah, there's definitely going to be rejection involved. Shooting my shot looks like sending pitches to media outlets for writing gigs.

It looks like reaching out to brands or other content creators to do collaborations and work on projects together. And it looks a hell of a lot like making so many pivots, throwing spaghetti at the wall, and praying to everyone in the sky that it works. Ultimately, it comes down to one simple philosophy.

You have to pitch yourself. And because I need acronyms to survive and get anything done in my life-- hello, ADHD-- I say you have to PITCH yourself P-I-T-C-H. P, you got to Prepare; I, invite; T, Thank you or Touch base; C, Cry or Celebrate; and H, of course, Honor your commitment.

But if you're like me and seeing is believing or you're a visual learner, let me demonstrate exactly what it means to PITCH yourself. So the first letter in the PITCH acronym is P. And P is for Preparation.

Ultimately, I believe the power of a pitch is all in the preparation. Please try to say that six times fast. You can't.

And with the preparation, I think there are four tips to keep in mind. At least this is what has worked for me in the past. The first is explaining why you are the expert.

Now, it doesn't mean that you have had to publish different scholastic journals or anything like that. More so you can demonstrate or illustrate this through years of experience, success, or proven metrics that you can back up. So second, spell out your value.

What does it mean to hire you as a marketing manager? Or what would the person get if they go to coffee with you? And yes, the value can literally be I'm going to pay for the coffee.

Third, paint the picture for them. I think most of us are visual learners. So put that in your back pocket.

Tell them what would it look like to you go get coffee with you. And I'm not saying, again, you don't need to be like Hemingway. But just saying, hey, I would love to catch coffee.

There's this new place on Jefferson. Would love to check it out, treat you, and talk about xyz. And tip number four is more of a shameless plug.

I actually wrote an article for The Financial Diet all on perfecting the elevator pitch that you need to land that job or internship. So you can check that out in the Description box below. But here's one of the example elevator pitches I wrote for somebody just coming out of college.

And I wrote this as if I were a girl named Kayleigh, bright-eyed, ready to make her mark on the world. And she is pitching herself for a local internship in the newsroom. Hi, I'm Kayleigh.

I recently graduated from ABC University with a degree in communications. Inspired by my love of reporting and community activism, I hope to launch a career in journalism, covering socioeconomic inequalities within our local education system. The City Morning News has been a consistent source for updated information.

I especially enjoyed your series on how the pandemic affected teachers. I would love to bring my experience and eagerness to the newsroom as an intern. I would love to learn more about the application process and the steps I can take to secure an interview with the team.

Given my line of work, I will be pitching to people who maybe you wouldn't be pitching to. For most viewers, I'm sure, you want to pitch to people that you admire-- a mentor, a recruiter, or someone in the industry in which you want to be in. For me, in my field of work, being a career coach, a podcast host, content creator, writer, all of the things when you are a full-time freelancer, I am going to take this challenge to pitch to the following-- podcast guests for season three of my podcast Office Politics.

Second, I will be reaching out to people I can do collaborations with, may that be me being on their platform, or they can also be on my platform. Three, potential career coaching clients and just trying to get more business before I close my books for 2021. And finally, different people I can connect with on LinkedIn.

And as a 30-year-old, maybe possibly we can become friends. So that's what I'm focused on this week. So let's see how I did.

So I fully believe that if something makes you uncomfortable, you should be comfortable while you do it. So pitching, even though I have been doing this for years-- and I coach other people how to network and pitch-- it's still a muscle. It's still scary.

And I still don't like doing it at the time. So it is nighttime. I have coffee, my fry pajamas on.

And we're going to get to work. Next, for the I and the T, we are going to knock them out in one segment. And I is for Invite, and T is for Thank you and/or Touch base.

For this section, I thought I could be really beneficial for you to see exactly what I was writing in my pitches to different collaboration partners, podcast guests, et cetera. And the first is Jacqueline, who is the CEO of Zero Gap. It is an effort to have a zero gap in the wage gap between men and women.

But specifically, she is a negotiation coach that works with primarily women of color and women in the workforce. Her work has really helped me. And I wanted to have her on for the podcast.

So here's what I sent. Hi, Jacqueline. I hope 2021 has treated you well.

I'm currently sketching out the third season of my podcast Office Politics, and I would love to have you on. I'm working on a collection of episodes dedicated to money moves. Hence why I thought you would be perfect.

My goal is to record between now and the end of January, with episodes going live in February. For your episode, I thought we could tackle the following points-- how to cultivate a sense of self-worth, the number-one internal blocker keeping women from making money, i.e. why are women afraid to ask for more? The first few baby steps towards getting comfortable with the uncomfortable.

And below this. I did leave personal contact information. So I have kept that out of there.

But essentially, I made it easy for her to listen to your past podcast episodes to see what my ratings have been and for her to get in touch and schedule a recording with me if she was interested. And here was her response. Hi, Jazmine, season three, how exciting!

I would love to be a guest. I am on a four-day work week, Monday through Thursday. Is there a chance you'd have a daytime recording slot available during the week?

I could record the second week of December. Obviously I'm going to make that work. But I think the reason this pitch ultimately got a successful yes was because I did the heavy lifting.

I showed her the value, what I wanted her to talk about, and that it would be going towards an audience of women who are typically mid-level in their careers. Ultimately, I think the biggest tip or takeaway I can give is when you're pitching, make it easier on the person that you're pitching to. Make it so that they know exactly the who, what, when, where, why and how of the request that you are coming with.

And if you're doing something more like a cold email to a recruiter, keep it brief. Keep it short, sweet. But let them know specifically the value and specialization that you would bring to the company.

Another way I put myself out there this challenge was announcing a brand-new service to my business, Enneagram career coaching and discovering your Enneagram type. During the fall, I became Enneagram certified. And that was to have an extension of my business that paired my talents in coaching with my passion for the Enneagram.

And it was really vulnerable to tell my entire LinkedIn network about this new service, especially because not everyone is into the Enneagram. But according to analytics, I told just under 900 people. If we include my LinkedIn marketing, I shot my shot with just over 900 people this challenge.

And T, Touch base, depending on the circumstances, I ultimately recommend that you wait one to two weeks. As a recruiter myself, a week is really healthy. I think it gives us time to catch up on to dos.

But it still keeps you in that really important window of staying on top of our radar so that we can get you in front of the hiring manager if it's going to be a great fit. But otherwise I tend to say when I'm trying to collaborate with someone, I'll follow up in two weeks. And a good piece of advice that I actually learned from a TFD member, until it's a no, it's a yes.

Now, that's not to say you should go berate people and spam their inbox, not at all. But it is just another thing to keep in mind if you just are having a little extra trouble hitting send. On to C, Celebrate or Cry.

At this point, you've either gotten a hell, yeah, girl, I would love to go to coffee with you or I would love to refer you for this position, or you've gotten the rejection email or the polite, just like not at this time. And with both come plenty of emotion. But we can start with the negative emotion first.

So when you do get rejected, as you guys are going to see, this clearly has happened to me. We'll show a clip of me getting rejected here. On a walk.

And I checked my email, which don't do that. Don't interrupt good quality true crime podcast time with that. But I did get my first real rejection.

So although much of my job is enduring rejection, it doesn't mean it gets any easier. When I got that rejection, I had a few different options. I could think that this person thought my pitch was trash, I was trash, and that they hated me.

And honestly, probably about six months ago, that would have been the verdict I would have gone with. But I've also learned through experience that ignorance gets to be bliss. And you can really tell yourself anything.

Because she didn't give me an answer as to why she declined wanting to work together, so I am telling myself that it's the end of the year. She doesn't want to do anything that is not a big moneymaker. It wouldn't be worth her time but that she would do it in another dimension of life.

And this is something that all professionals deal with not just entrepreneurs. When you're applying for a job and you get that instant rejection, the one that's automated, to you get to the final round of an interview and you get rejected, I think it's important to realize are we telling ourselves a false narrative, a false belief, or even a damaging message when we get that rejection letter or email? And I can share as a recruiter that you would be shocked how many times we don't choose someone, and it has literally nothing to do with the candidate.

Budgets get cut. The North Star changes. Clients get fired.

We get fired as the client. So what I'm saying is I would say about 50% it doesn't always have to do with you. It has to do with the circumstances and the timing of when you put yourself out there.

So that's what I'm choosing to believe happened here because that is easier on my soul. And I have other things to do, don't have time for a pity party. That is not on schedule today.

And at the end of the day, it's really important that we are being really intentional with the words we're telling ourselves. Because this is about making money and making moves, it was important that I took that time to tell myself I can still see monetary success. I can still have a profitable business.

And I can still find fulfillment with or without people I admire giving me their co-sign. And let's talk about the good emotions, the celebrations. So here's just a few screenshots of people saying yes, I would love to collaborate with you, or I would love to get coffee.

And those moments felt incredible too. I actually loved that I took this time to pitch a ton of people at once. I had some momentum.

And I think that's really what took me over the edge. And once I got into a groove, it was really exciting to continue to pitch people. So that may work for you.

Or you can totally take it one pitch at a time and just try to meet a quota of one pitch a week. That's totally OK. And H, honor your commitments.

Listen, if you're going to put something on your calendar, make sure you show up. Honestly, the thing that's way more terrifying than even a client connection call, and that is trying to make friends as an adult. So this is footage of me coming back from a networking friend date.

Let's get into it. I am just wrapping up a friend, new friend dinner. And I did have a common denominator friend, who I met at a previous employer.

We were both in the recruiting HR space. But I was able to meet new people in sales and just meet new people in the city. And it was really great.

And more than anything, it's just really nice to get out of the house and talk to people other than my husband and my dog. And I don't know. It's like very rejuvenating, I guess.

So yeah, that is why I look so nice, only for strangers that I'm trying to impress, right? I have another few friend dates or new friend connection dates later this week, as well as next week, so coffee, brunch. And tomorrow I am doing late coffee, I believe.

Yeah. So I'm a mover and shaker this week. So I'll admit this past week was not the biggest challenge because this is literally what I have to do in order to survive as a business owner.

So beyond the lessons that I learned this week, I wanted to leave you all with three tips, especially for those who still find shooting your shot professionally super intimidating. So the first is when you are going to reach out to somebody or you're emailing or cold emailing somebody, don't forget to define your value or answer the question, what's in it for me for the reader. Ultimately, the person that you may be reaching out to could be getting tons and tons of emails or requests.

So you have to really make sure that your pitch stands out. And most often you're able to stand out when you can answer the question, why should I care? Number two, find your confidence, which, OK, tall order, I understand.

But here are just a few things you can do. If you're insecure because you're afraid you're going to look stupid, then come prepared. Do your research, sketch things out, rehearse, practice.

If you're afraid of looking desperate, think about what you can offer them. Listen, we all come to the table with something. What's the bread basket you're passing?

And I promise you, you do have something. Everyone has value, and everyone is worthy. You just have to explicitly define it for this person.

And if for you it' not about looking dumb or desperate-- it's about just being intimidating-- think about the limiting beliefs that you might be telling yourself. So something I work on in therapy is the limiting belief that I'm not worthy of other people's time. So that's something I still work on, and I have to unpack often before I shoot my shot and try to occupy space.

I literally have to tell myself, I deserve to occupy the space. I deserve to occupy this space. I literally chanted that in my car before interviews, will probably do that until I retire.

And number three, don't forget your six degrees of separation. When I'm working with clients and we are building up that networking muscle, one of the first things I have them do is start small. Listen, if you've never sent a cold email before, I really don't recommend you email the CEO of your dream company necessarily.

But again, you do you. But let's start small. You can talk to your best friend because you never know who's connected to who.

Or if nothing else, even if that person isn't in your industry, it's just healthy to get that muscle going of pitching yourself, talking about yourself, talking about your goals and what you offer. So don't think that you have to climb Mount Everest today or tomorrow or even next week. Start small.

And don't forget, it is a small world, after all. Well, if that's all I have this week. I cannot wait to see you guys in the next challenge.

If you have any ideas, please leave it in a comment below. And please make sure that you are subscribed. Hit that Notification bell.

And I will see you guys soon. Bye.