Your Network Is Your Networth
In this article, we are going to dive deep into the skill of networking and give you tips on how you can network like a pro.
"Your network is your net worth"
Oftentimes, when people think of the term networking, they have this image of fancy people dressed formally in a hotel conference room, hoping to meet someone who can introduce them to good business connections or opportunities. Many new entrepreneurs fear networking which is understandable because it can be awkward and daunting meeting new people. Some assume that networking has to be done in some formal event, which isn't really the case, networking can be done anywhere at any time, it can be done at an event, college, on social media and even in your local Starbucks.
Now you may be reading this thinking "do I need to network" or "what is the point of networking". To answer your question let's start by taking a look at the definition of networking. According to the dictionary networking is "the action or process of interacting with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts". With this definition, you can start to see why networking is so valuable and why it's an essential part of the entrepreneurship life, because it helps build long-lasting relationships with people that you can leverage each other's connections, help each other and share projects you are working on, introduce each other to other connections or simply just make friends! Some of the best business partnerships and friends that I have made has been due to networking. In this article, we are going to dive deep into the skill of networking and give you tips on how you can network like a pro.
Many studies done by sociologists have supported the importance of social capital. Social capital is "the networks of relationships among people in society." This shows that having a good quality network is very beneficial and valuable in your life, especially in entrepreneurship because you can use your network to have access to resources, knowledge, and connections.
Let me give you an example: BossGirl, have you heard of the PayPal Mafia? Don't worry it's not some illegal gang if you don't know who the PayPal mafia is you probably know their companies that the people in the group have founded. The PayPal mafia is a nickname given to a group of former employees and company founders of PayPal. The founders and employees in this group went on to found the biggest companies in the world such as YouTube, Tesla, Linkedin, Yelp and many more. Can you believe that a small group of people who knew each other ended up founding the biggest companies in the world? Now even though I don't know the ins and outs of this group, what I can imagine that happened is that this group of people probably leveraged each others business knowledge and connections, and being associated with certain members in the group such as Elon Musk may have helped them form valuable relationships with people who had access to valuable resources. Would these members have founded such big companies like Tesla, Youtube, yelp without knowing each other? we will never know? But this can be used as a prime example of how your circle and the people you are associated with can accelerate growth and provide opportunities in business.
Now BossGirl, I know you may be overwhelmed and nervous because some of you may be a shy introvert who doesn't really like to talk to new people, I can totally relate because I used to be so shy as well. Like we've stated in previous blogs taking the first step is so beneficial in any journey. After reading this blog you don't have to go on Eventbrite and find the next networking event to go to. You can take small steps, small actions, that can put you closer to the bigger goal.
Find The Right Event
The first tip that I would advise my BossGirls when it comes to networking is to make sure you find the right events or places to network, who have people there with similar interests. For example, if you are interested in makeup you wouldn't go to a sporting event to find makeup enthusiasts. This tip may seem very obvious, but I have heard countless of stories of people who didn't research the event topic properly and didn't look into the people who may be attending and went to an event that was a complete waste of time. There are many different good resources where you can connect and network with people even with similar interests, social media chat groups on Facebook can be very useful. If you're looking to go to physical events, websites such as eventribe, meetup.com, and eventful are good places to find networking events because you can search via subject categories such as business, beauty and many more.
Focus On Giving More Than Receiving
BossGirls, if a guy said to you "can we go out on a date so i can sleep with you" I'm assuming that most of you reading this would be deeply offended with the guy and wouldn't even think to go on a date with him because he clearly stated he just wanted to use you. This concept is the exact same when it comes to networking. The mistake I tend to see many people make in the networking game is they often expect to use people for their connections, opportunities, knowledge, and resources without giving any value back. They say terms like "let's grab coffee so I can pick your brains out" BossGirl please never say this phrase. When you network with a person make sure that you focus on giving value to the person first, before expecting something out of them, by doing this it will take out a lot of the fakeness and make the person your networking with feel very appreciative of you, and then in time this will lead them to wanting to exchange value back and to help you with future projects. You may be thinking about what type of value can I offer? it really can be anything, the value that you can give back to the person could be knowledge, expertise, advice, connections or resources. Whatever it is BossGirl always remember to focus on giving more than receiving.
Think Long Term Vs Short Term
I'm guessing most of you reading this wouldn't get married on the first date right? It's probably because you haven't developed a relationship with the person to make such a big commitment. This is the same when it comes to networking. . The core foundation of networking is the process of building beneficial relationships. The big mistake that many people make when it comes to networking is they try to push their agenda too soon or to sell something on the first few meetings, they don't prioritise the gradual process in gaining someone's trust. Always make sure BossGirl when you network to think long term not short term, focus on giving value and building relationships rather than just expecting something from someone there and then. Everything good in life takes time to mature make sure to always have patience.
It is very important to remember BossGirl, to make sure to always be safe and whenever you feel uncomfortable with someone or if your at an event where you don't feel happy you can always leave. Don't ever feel too pressured or obliged into doing something. And lastly when you meet up with someone for coffee or go to an event I strongly advise that you let a close friend or family member know your location as a safety precaution.
Be Present And Be Yourself
The final tip that I would advise is to enjoy yourself and be present in the moment. Show interest to others, including their projects and their ventures. I love this phrase about people don't care about you until you show them you care about them. Asking questions and giving tips on other peoples projects can really help build rapport and trust between two people. Lastly, BossGirl always remember to be yourself don't try to be someone that your not, and don't put pressure on yourself to saying yes to every commitment or coffee invite. Relax be present and enjoy yourself for you never know who your gonna meet.
Thank you for reading this post and supporting BossGirlsNow. It really means a lot to us. If you need any support, have questions about entrepreneurship, or simply just want to say hello you can always email us on firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to share this article with anyone who would benefit from reading this at this time in their journey.
I hope you have an amazing and productive day.
Go on girl, do your thing and be the boss. Xx
Your Network Is Your Networth