People get hundreds of emails a day today, bypass many and read few. It’s getting harder and harder to meet people through email and then turn that email into an actual, in-real-life relationship. And yet for Gen Y entrepreneurs (aspiring or current), the ability to do outreach via email is an essential networking skill as you build your client base, find mentors and grow your support network. How can you make your unsolicited missive stand out in a crowded inbox?

Personally, I’ve had some success meeting amazing people via email — and I’m talking about not even having a connection or an introduction, just cold emailing! Of course, an introduction is best, but we don’t always know the people we really want to connect with. A lot of the things I’ve accomplished as an entrepreneur — meeting Sheryl Sandberg, getting published in leading business magazines, getting jobs, getting a speaking opportunity at Davos and growing my own business — came from cold emails. Here’s how I did it:

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