The best way I can explain this piece of advice is with a real-life example. It’s a regular Thursday evening and I’m sitting in the waiting area of this pizza place. I spot a magazine to flip through to pass the time while I wait for said pizza. Then this guy sits next to me but I just keep my nose in the magazine because, well, small talk just isn’t my strong suit and I avoid it at all costs. About the time my dough is getting rolled out he asks, “so you like that magazine?” The first thought that flashes through my head is to criticize some of the design aspects I had been noting. I can’t help it! It’s my expertise.
“No, no, be nice to the poor man. He doesn’t want to hear you ramble about the peculiar kerning on page 12,” says my wise inner-voice.
Me: “Yes, I really like the articles.” Nose back into the magazine.
“Well that’s good, because I’m the publisher,” he says. I put the magazine down. This conversation just got interesting. We discuss other aspects of the magazine, oh and I may have mentioned that I’m a freelance graphic designer with experience in magazine design. We exchange business cards and I’m sitting in a meeting the next week. Crazy, right? My point here is that opportunity can come from anywhere, including, apparently, a pizza place waiting area.
It’s important to get out there and stay involved in the going-ons of your craft. It just happened that for me that day, getting out there was as easy as picking up a pizza and a magazine. You don’t have to be a walking billboard for yourself the minute you step out the door, but boasting your talents at the right time can pay off. I would also advise anyone and everyone to carry business cards or something similar that lead to a nice portfolio website. You have to be proactive and make it ridiculously easy for people to see your talent. More often than not, opportunity is there, you just have to be ready for it.