I’m an introvert at heart.
When I went to college, I was never the first to engage in conversation. My friend group (that I still have to this day) kinda just stumbled on me and we hit it off.
Don’t even get me started about speaking in front of the class.
Or going to “networking” meetups to get to know high-value people.
I wanted none of it.
All I wanted to do was sit in my dorm, play video games, and work on my side business. Which at the time was a fitness YouTube channel.
This was before I realized that introversion isn’t about being anti-social. Being social is a skill, not a personality trait, yet people hide behind their “introverted” identity to avoid the unavoidable discomfort required to see any form of success.
That was college, but now we’re at the center of a new party… social media.
I tried to build a name for myself many times in the past.
First with a YouTube channel.
Second with an Instagram photography and art page (you can find this if you scroll allllll the way down to the bottom of my Instagram).
Third was building multiple agencies and eCommerce brands with a variety of marketing tactics on social media.
Then I stumbled across Twitter.
Yes, Twitter, of all places to break into the social media scene.
I’d been on Twitter before, but I thought it was a place for politics and half-baked memes that I could find on Reddit.
But, one day a post from Jose Rosado popped up on my timeline.
I don’t remember exactly what it was, but it was some harsh truth around self-improvement.
And I loved it.
I followed Jose, and realized that he talked about online business as well, another thing I was interested in. (Another reason to incorporate more of your interests and not be a hyper-niche robot!)
By following him, other accounts started popping up on my timeline and before I knew it, I was drowning in high-value “Money Twitter” posts.
I lurked, without engaging, for about 6 months. I was seeing some success with my freelance business at the time, so the tips from these accounts were extremely helpful.
Out of nowhere, a thought popped into my head:
“I can write all of these same tweets. Why am I just sitting here scrolling while others are clearly getting leads, sales, and having fun writing about their other interests?”
That question changed the direction of my life.
Quick note: Solopreneur Sprints starts in a little over a week (February 7th). Check it out here if you want help creating your niche, writing impactful content, and creating a growth strategy.
The Digital World Has No Barriers
In the past, the only way to the top was through your network.
You couldn’t just DM a celebrity with a skillful message and get them to pay you 4 figures for a service (this is an overly optimal case).
You had to go to school.
Get good grades.
Apply to a prestigious college that may require you to change geographic location.
And be “extroverted” enough to network your way up the ladder until you meet someone with the perfect opportunity.
Big opportunities were limited to the people that worked their ass off to get them.
Now, opportunities are abundant.
That tweet you just scrolled by? They need a video editor.
That person you found in the comments? They want to learn how to be happy.
That video you never saw because it was buried by YouTube’s algorithm? It gave exact steps to starting a freelance business if you had the persistence to make it work.
The internet gives you access to the 4.9 billion people that have access to it.
All it takes is one piece of content to be spread to the right corner for the right person to see it, reach out to you, and pay you for the value you have to offer.
Of course, this becomes easier as you grow an audience that shares your content, so we don’t want to rely on that at the start.
Networking – even though I hate that word – is the pillar of my digital success.
Jose Rosado was one of the first people I reached out to.
We hit it off, he helped share my content, and I ended up investing in his coaching program (this was ~3 years ago).
Jose and I have different views on online business now, but that’s the point. We each have unique paths to share, and both of them hold valuable experiences that others can learn from.
Another example is Joey Justice, one of my best friends (that I’m flying across the country to see for another time this year).
I met Joey with a group of other people trying to grow their brand at the time. We strategized, shared each other’s content, and worked together to refine the skills we wanted to get paid for.
Last year, I moved to Texas with Dakota Robertson and JK Molina.
I also met big players like Justin Welsh, Sahil Bloom, and Dickie Bush.
All in all, it’s safe to say that consistent and targeted networking with people that you like is how you break into the social media game (and sustain growth).
If you aren’t networking, you’ve already lost.
Ask any creator that actually has consistent account growth (and doesn’t get stuck in a bitter cycle of hating the game) if networking is important.
If they don’t attribute it to being the #1 thing that helped their growth, it would be wise not to trust them.
The Power Of The DM
DMs are how you get in front of anyone on the internet.
Especially if you don’t have an audience yet.
Freelancers understand this for landing clients, but what about building a leverageable audience along the way so you aren’t left with nothing when you decide to pivot?
I’ve seen people land jobs, have tweets go viral with few followers, and gain hundreds if not thousands of fans from doing this.
People usually fall into one of two camps:
- They don’t understand the sheer power and network effect of DMing people on a consistent basis.
- They don’t understand that you can get large accounts to share your posts (if you are strategic enough).
DMs are how you network, grow, and get eyes on your content as a beginner (or whenever you want to get more traffic to your content).
But, most people suck at DMs.
Seriously. It’s a problem.
Never, and I repeat never ever ever expect a response if all you send is:
- Hi or hey
- How are you
- Can you follow me back
- A straight sales pitch with no prior connection
- A long block of text that takes too much time to read (especially if the sentences aren’t spaced out)
You have to approach DMs tactically. Especially if you are reaching out to a big account that gets 10+ DMs an hour and probably doesn’t check them (they usually skim over them to see if there is anything important).
Again, put yourself in the other person’s shoes and think for a second. How can you stand out from the sea of crappy DMs that don’t provide a shred of value before asking for something in return?
7 Steps To Non-Needy Networking
This process started as a viral Twitter thread, turned into a module in the Digital Economics cohort, then was used to help people get eyes on their writing in my writing course (2 Hour Writer).
This is foundational, and we will be using this to guarantee growth in the upcoming Solopreneur Sprint.
Knowing how to communicate and DM another person that you want to connect with will open up opportunities to paid work, social leverage, and meeting high-level people. You can use this strategy to:
- Get a 50,000+ follower account to retweet your thread which will result in massive growth (the same goes for any other social platform sharing your post).
- Have connections that will share new growth strategies with you (Dickie Bush just sent me a LinkedIn tip the other day out of nowhere, I feel compelled to return the favor now).
- Join or create mastermind groups and begin forming your tribe (that you will grow with for much of your social media journey).
- To put your name in more people’s mouths. The more people that know about you, the more work and potential connections will be sent your way. Get your name in front of as many eyes as possible.
Here are the 7 steps of Non-Needy Networking:
1) Find somebody that you WANT to DM
This is not exclusive to making connections. It is crucial for paid work as well.
The common theme among service businesses (like freelancers and agencies) is that their life is a living hell if they do not resonate with the client they are working with.
Reach out to people that:
- You are inspired by
- You would want to work with
- You would want to strategize with
- You see potential for mutual benefit
When you are just starting out, you will have to work your way up the ladder. Start by DMing people that are within your follower range.
If you don’t know who to DM, I’m assuming you haven’t started yet. A consumer perceives social media content from an entirely different lens than a creator.
Once you have an audience and leverage, you can really reach out to anybody and get a warm response.
Where can you find people to DM?
The “following” list of accounts that you like.
Or, in the reply area of one of your mentors (if people are replying, it is implied that they are trying to grow and network).
Those are the main two areas to find people without using any fancy prospecting tools.
2) Send them an inspired compliment
Find a piece of their content, work, or current projects that you are truly inspired by. Send it to them and tell them how it resonated with you.
This requires you to actually like their work.
People love praise — and per the principle of reciprocity — will feel obligated to repay this soft favor.
An example for a tweet on managing emotions:
What’s up Dan, this tweet hit me hard. I’ve been going through it the past couple of days and this instantly gave me some relief. Thank you. [add the link to the post you liked]
Simple as that.
3) Show interest in them
If they don’t respond, you can try reaching out again in the same manner.
Showing interest is communication 101 — showing interest makes you interesting.
Ask them about:
- Their goals
- What they are building
- What they do for work
This gives you the opportunity to give value (even if YOU don’t have value to give right now).
Let’s assume they respond with the generic “thank you so much.”
Now, you can either find what they are working on from their profile or just ask them.
If you find what they are working on:
What are your next plans with Modern Mastery? It’s been crazy seeing it grow, I’m curious what you’ve got in store.
If you can’t find what they are working on:
Do you have anything that you’re building right now? With that kind of content you must have something bigger in the works.
4) Lead with value
This is the part that trips most people up.
Your first options are to:
- See where you can help
- Send actionable tips
- Send resources, systems, or videos you’ve created or remember off the top of your head
Don’t go straight for a transaction when you haven’t given anything first.
If you have to ask more questions in order to send better actionable tips or resources, do it.
By resources I mean YouTube videos, articles, or anything that may be able to help them — or would pique their interest.
If you have no value to give you can:
- Send a resource that can help them with their goals
- Connect them with someone else in your network
- Just continue having a good conversation and showing interest
Show that you are interested in helping them.
5) Get on a call to make a deeper connection
This part is optional but recommended. You can skip straight to step 7 after a few days, but I would practice all of these steps at some point.
Making that “face-to-face” interaction is priceless. Nobody can see you, your personality, or your mannerisms via text.
When I was starting out, I was getting on zoom calls left and right with people that I wanted to get to know better. It’s more normal than you think — and people are usually open to it when it is clear that you are just there to get to know them.
You can also take the conversation somewhere like Telegram and send voice messages to make yourself seem more human. Most social accounts use Telegram and Whatsapp groups to communicate and strategize.
6) Follow up with value
Remember their goals and keep an eye out for any content, resources, or people you can send their way. When you find something or someone, send it to them.
I remember you telling me about your plans for [their project or goal]. I found this today and thought you’d find it helpful.
“This” can be a YouTube video, article, lead magnet you found, or a person you connected with that may be able to help them.
7) Follow up with an ask
By this point, you’ve built a pretty damn solid connection. You’ve given value to the point where they are ready to return the favor. From here you can:
- Ask them to join a mastermind group
- Send them one of your posts that you put a lot of time into
- Ask any specific questions you have for them without paying for consulting
If your plan is to leverage their audience for growth, be sure to write a post that they would want to share. Then, you can send it to them and mention that they inspired that post.
Yo, just wrote this up and thought you’d enjoy it. It was inspired by our previous conversation.
Do not ask them to share it. Let them engage with it however they see fit.
Even if you don’t get a retweet or share, any engagement will help more people see it — helping you grow. (This is not limited to Twitter. Everything we talk about can transfer over to any social media, they all have the same structure.)
You should be reaching out to people almost every day. If you are immersing yourself in the environment of your interests, you should see inspirational people that you want to reach out to on a daily basis.
If you want to increase the chances of larger accounts responding to your DMs — follow them and engage with their content for a few days before reaching out so they are familiar with your face and profile picture.
8) Final tip
“Dan, won’t this take a lot of time?”
If it takes 4 years to get a job that has nothing to do with your degree and 10 more years to work up to a reasonable salary – it’s gonna take time time to build your own dreams.
Which is ironic, because the “uncertain” path of doing your own thing is the quickest fix out there, people just lack perspective.
If you understand that DMs will be a part of your life when the time comes to take accountability for your future, then you should adopt the habit right now.
Same with being a writer.
Why are you not writing every single day if you plan on doing it every single day in the future? Because you aren’t getting paid? So you’re putting of getting paid even more by not writing for free? Are you actually serious about any of this sh*t?
Get your sh*t together.
As you can tell I’m feeling feisty today.
Too much coffee.
What Happened This Week
If you want to create your niche of one, write 20+ foundational content pieces, and create a growth strategy for your brand – Solopreneur Sprints starts on February 7th (a little over a week).
I know a lot of new faces are here from YouTube, and everyone’s been asking about my strategies. We dropped two 30-minute YouTube trainings in Modern Mastery.
If you are an absolute beginner, with zero skills, I would recommend that you learn to write (because its the foundation of any other skill that you are trying to articulate to a potential customer). 2 Hour Writer gives you my system for learning writing in the real world, so you can build leverage at the same time.