Very successful people are busy, but you can get their attention in a few ways:
My personal experience has been focusing on that last method via...
For over a decade, cold emails and luck are the two factors that've led me to many unique opportunities like internships at fast growing startups in Silicon Valley, building a highly profitable freelancing career, meeting incredibly talented individuals to start companies with and my favourite, getting to work with Kanye West.
When we started working on Pastel, I made it a habit to reach out to very successful individuals that had faced similar problems to what Pastel was going through at early stages. It helped me find a different perspective. I’ll outline how I go about doing this.
I’ve found that successful people really respect two things: consistency in your work and following through on what you said you would do. Being aware of this makes your messaging even more potent.
First, I would find out what this person values. What do you find inspiring about this person? Was it their story or how relentlessness they are? The key is to find something remarkable that, any mention of it, would make them think: “Wow, this person noticed."
If you’re contacting a person who you noticed is very detail oriented, mention that. It makes a difference.
Second, try to understand the state of mind of the person when they open your email. They may see hundreds of emails that very day and want to use their time more wisely. If they are willing to help, they want to help people who deserve it.
You may be tempted to start checking if the person opened the email or to keep refreshing your inbox. Here is a trick: if you really admire this person, you wouldn’t mind working on building this relationship over months, or years. Taking on this mindset helped me think long term about relationships in general.
Great! keep building rapport, trying out their ideas and possibly even getting them on a call to talk further.
Get back to work and execute relentlessly for 3-4 months. After you have your snippet of experiments, successes and failures, ping them back with a short email:
Adopting this kind of mentality of working on long term relationships gives you an incredible head start to building out your network.
If you would like to try this out, I’d suggest creating a list of 10 people in your field you admire and put those names in a spreadsheet with a list of questions you may want to ask them. Send them a short note and keep them updated with your progress every 3-4 months.
This habit signals a few things: you are in it for the long term, you are a doer and you ask smart questions.
If you have any specific questions, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org