How to Network for Monetization Opportunities
There's several tactics student-athletes can strategically leverage as they navigate within the new era of name, image, likeness (NIL). One of the best activities to capitalize on short term opportunities and to pave the way for long term deals is through networking. Student-athletes with a strong network of peers, mentors, and potential partners recognize the immediate and long term value relationship building provides. Building and maintaining relationships is a must for any college student, regardless of the discipline. More often than not, opportunities present themselves outside of a traditional job post. It's as the age old saying goes: it's not what you know but who you know.
Read on for some easy ways to start building your network to monetize your NIL rights.
Reach out to Alumni
Spend some time looking for alumni to connect with who either work in an industry you'd like to pursue or any specific areas of interest. Alumni networking is a great starting point for building connections within a new industry, learning more about industries of interest, potential mentorships, and potential partnership opportunities. Looking to get more involved with your school's alumni? Luckily there are a wealth of resources to getting connected:
- LinkedIn - Social is a great way to build connections, particularly on LinkedIn. LinkedIn allows you to search for other users and filter results by school and industry. Spend less time digging into finding the right alumni to connect with and more time reaching out and building relationships.
- Join your school's alumni association - reach out to your school to either join their alumni association (if you're a graduate) or volunteer with (if you're a current student). Alumni associations are a great way to stay in touch with alumni's that are no longer within your hometown or school area and expanding beyond your network beyond your immediate state area!
- Find alumni groups on social media- In addition to LinkedIn, Facebook groups are a great avenue to look for alumni groups.
Pro tip: Look to build an active presence in these groups (commenting, liking, and engaging with posts) prior to reaching out to alumni's directly.
Connect with your professors
Your professors are well-connected experts in their respective fields and generally have office hours dedicated to speaking with students. Schedule a time to introduce yourself and ask them about their background - you may just be surprised to discover they have a specialization or industry connection that could come in handy.
Build a tribe of peers
As you each look to grow your individual brands, your teammates can become the best focus group for your ideas, partners for coordinated NIL activities, social media promotion, and all-around supporters.
Consider local opportunities
Some of your most loyal fans are likely to be locals. This means that some of the best partners and sponsors will be local businesses which are a prime, underrepresented opportunity. Get ahead of the game by reaching out to managers and owners for your favorite local stores or college town restaurants and let them know that:
- Student-athletes can now make money from endorsement deals, autograph signings, appearances, etc.
- Focus on sharing the value your NIL rights would bring back not only to the business but back to the local community.
Not sure where to begin?
Get started on NOCAP to get connect with premier partnership and endorsement opportunities and receive exclusive access to educational materials to help you navigate the new era of NIL rights! NOCAP's education partners strive to teach every athlete branding, social media, financial literacy, trademarks & LLCs, and how to achieve financial freedom. We help you get to where you want to be, every step of the way.