I firmly believe that you can’t accomplish anything alone. So much of success has to do with the people who help you get there—which is why knowing how to build and maintain relationships is one of the most important things you can do in your career.
There will be times in your career—many times!—where you’ll find that you need to ask people for help. For favors, money, advice or support. And having a network of people to turn to when you’re in those situations will make getting where you want to go that much easier.
That’s why I always tell people to invite others along on your journey. Don’t just “ask” people for things; get people excited about you and your story. It makes people feel like they’re getting involved in your life and your progress, not just giving you something once.
Six years ago now, I had a company called DesiHits that, at the time, was a website focused on global pop culture (fusion of east to west). But I wanted to go bigger. South Asians make up a huge group (1/5 of the world’s population)—I couldn’t stop thinking about how I could help better serve a demographic that is consistently misrepresented in Western media.
I had been talking about this for a while with friends, and through my friend Drew Lipsher, I was introduced to Jimmy Iovine (who founded Beats by Dre and Interscope records and is a major player in the music industry). We talked about music, about my passion for introducing South Asian culture to new places, about technology and about new opportunities. And through our conversations, he saw in DesiHits the same potential that I did and decided to invest—a decision that transformed the company into a bridge between Western and Indian artists and helped bring Lady Gaga to India.
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I didn’t approach him at that meeting as a person looking for a handout. I approached him with my passions and my interests and with genuine interest in his own passions and what he was building with Beats by Dre. That approach ended up resulting in a genuine connection that not only enhanced our businesses but helped us both make a meaningful impact in an industry we loved.
We went on to signing Priyanka Chopra together and to this day, I see her success in America as very much part of the same story Jimmy and I started together. He’s always quick to give me the kudos, but without his belief in our dream and desire to build the next big diverse female star in America, all of this would have been far more challenging.
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Of course, it can be difficult to maintain relationships while navigating the twists and turns of a career. You’ll change jobs a lot, and you may move a lot. I’ve gone from London to Silicon Valley to New York City to L.A. and back to Silicon Valley! It’s funny because I started my journey with Trinity Ventures around 8 years ago when I was an entrepreneur in Silicon Valley, only to return years later as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence having stayed in touch with the Managing Partner Ajay Chopra through Facebook and the occasional cup of tea when I was trying to find my way.
That’s why I try to incorporate my “networking” into social get-togethers. My thing is taking people out to tea. (You can tell my roots, right?) Find a way to keep up with people that feels fun and authentic, and you’ll be more inclined to continue doing it. And you never know where those tea cups might take you.
Anjula Acharia-Bath is a Partner at Trinity Ventures and manager to actress Priyanka Chopra.