The Logical First Step
The most likely starting point to build a profitable network is to analyze your current network and figure out who you already know. If you have networked for years, or if you're brand new to the concept, chances are you already have a solid base of contacts available to jump-start your networking efforts. You may just not realize it. Think of your friends, your family, your family's friends, your work colleagues, or your teammates as a start.
When we talk about networking we automatically assume that we need to go out to meet new people even though you're likely sitting on opportunities hidden within your current network and you've just not tapped into its potential yet.
Imagine that for every day you're alive, you've crossed paths with three new people. Some days there are more, such as when you're in school, start a new job, or go to a friend's party, whereas some days there are fewer, such as when you're home sick or were an infant. For easy numbers, let's say three is about right. For those who are more outgoing it could be more, for those who are shy, it could be less. So, 3 × 365 days a year is 1,095 people. We'll round down to roughly 1,000 new interactions per year.
By that calculation, if you are 33 years old, you have encountered approximately 33,000 people. Someone 55 years old would have encountered 55,000 people and so on. It's not likely that you can name that many people. Even cut the number by a half or a third and it's still ...