Relationships are everything. Whether you’re a doctor hoping to open your own practice, or a journalist looking for freelance work, it’s all about who you know.

Building relationships requires that you get out there and meet people. Attending industry and alumni functions, writing letters or scheduling face-to-face meetings are all ways that you can reach out prospective contacts.

Once you’ve formed a relationship with someone, you need to maintain that relationship. Maintaining relationships not only means you’ll have a bevy of contacts at your fingertips, but it also means that you’re in a position to grant favors. People will call on you for things just as you might them, and in order to maintain a relationship, you’ll want to go out of your way to help. You never know when you might need something from someone, and if you’ve declined to help that person in the past, how apt are they to help you?

That being said, it’s easy to damage a relationship. Even though your chosen field might seem large, it’s probably smaller than you think. If you cheat someone or make false promises, other people in your profession will find out (people outside of the profession probably will, too). And who will want to work with you then?

As silly as it might sound, the age-old saying, “Treat others as you wish to be treated,” holds firm in business relationships as well. Work as hard for others as you would for yourself, and you’ll be justly rewarded.

– Missy Schwartz

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