In fact, most things are relationship based. Think about it. You'd much rather opt for a known quantity vs. an unknown quantity, right? A recommendation from a friend trumps an ad on Craigslist.
Today's free advice is to spend time cultivating a network of contacts. Or, put another way, make some new friends. I include amateur video of Travis James Humphrey as an example of this. Last year, friends of ours offered use of their vacation home in the Virgin Islands-a luxury we could not otherwise afford. That act of generosity inspired us to meet the local beach bar owners, who then invited Travis to perform. That performance led to one audience member requesting Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" in honor of his dead son.
Trav's song led to a hush in the crowd, some tears, a sense of collective experience, $20 tip, and a meaningful sunset moment for a grieving father as we all toasted that man's family.
As a writer, you never know who will have a story that inspires your poetry. Or who will be best friends with a big time editor. Or who is an expert at operating a microfilm machine. Or who will invite you to supper in New York City with two of the world's best colo-rectal surgeons who have each personally witnessed approximately 7,000 rectums, with an expected career high of 30,000. (True story. I don't know how that information will ever advance my writing, but it has to. At the very least, if I ever need bowel surgery, I have good leads.)
Cultivate contacts. Make friends. Listen to people tell their stories. You never know how and when those connections might benefit you or the world you live in.
Challenge: Identify a topic of personal interest and locate an expert on that topic. Introduce yourself.