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Help Me, I'm a Student

Hit up power players for advice now--while you're young and nonthreatening.

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This story appears in the May 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

You may dream about one day having a personal chat with the powerful, highly influential star players in your industry. But if you're like young entrepreneur Devin Lazerine, you won't have to wait until some far-off day to chat with the who's who--you can do it now. Lazerine, now 22, was e-mailing and calling big-name publishers and famous rap and hip-hop music stars to help launch his magazine, Rap-Up, in 2001--at the ripe old age of 17. Running www.rap-up.com, a website that discusses the ins and outs of rap music and culture, Lazerine initially thought he'd wait until college to get the magazine off the ground--but one day after school, he just decided to get going. "I started pitching this idea to publishers," he recalls. He simply went to newsstands and found the names of the bigwig publishers with whom he wanted to get in touch, and then e-mailed them.

According to experts, it really is that easy to start ramping up your high-profile contacts. "You can call anybody--and in a startling number of situations, people you were scared to call or thought you couldn't call will not only take your call, but will be helpful," says Bruce Kasanoff, a professional speaker and author of Making It Personal: How to Profit from Personalization Without Invading Privacy. "Paradoxically, you often have an easier time reaching out to entrepreneurs, executives and politicians while you're in college than when you're actually out in the job market, because you're not perceived as selling to them directly."

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