Hello from Eat Pray Workout! Sarah’s told me that many of you own your own business or blog. Whilst an entrepreneur is usually a very motivated person driven by passion or the satisfaction that comes with reaching goals, it doesn’t mean that we’re without our struggles. It can be lonely and stressful to rely on your own ideas to bring in the money each week. I’ve worked in small businesses and also own my own blogging business, so I want to share with you the importance of networking with likeminded people. Networking is meeting with other to connect and share information and contacts. It prevents those feelings of isolation. In terms of motivation, it is like pouring rocket fuel into your life!
However that’s not all it can do for you! Here’s my 8 top reasons for networking:
1. Building relationships
- Friendships – making friendships with people who understand your struggles, achievements and lifestyle is so refreshing. For example, in university, you’ll read in this post that for me, the other law students were like comrades at war. These are the people who you instantly have a connection with – the ones you look at and say ‘no way, I thought I was the only one!’. The support structure that flows from this immediate ‘bestie’ is amazing!
- Business contacts – people who understand how to build, grow and sustain a business can be a wealth of information for you.
2. Talking through ideas
- All those ‘maybe I could do this, but I’m not sure’ moments can be discussed with your networking buddies! Think new products, business strategies, skills and anything biz related. Chances are they’re interested and will help you work through that idea with the balanced lens of reality and dream making (because lets face it – as entrepreneurs, well all dream a little!).
3. Inspiration and encouragement
- Like I said earlier, when you take that encouragement from someone who has knowledge in your field it is so motivating. You’ll feel inspired to work hard towards your goals.
4. Sharing business contacts
- This is invaluable. To be recommended a good graphic designer, accountant, health coach, lawyer or any other professional you might need, can save you so much time and money. Facebook groups are great ways to ask about these things.
5. Increased profile = increased opportunities
- Getting to know others in your industry or complementary industries helps grow you a positive reputation. If you’re active in your networking you will be soon recognised as experienced, dependable and helpful. Remember networking is as much (or perhaps even more) about giving tips and information as it is taking them. Ideally it would be a mutually beneficial partnership.
- Even if the other person doesn’t have skills or knowledge you can directly use, if you gain a good reputation with them then it is likely you will be the first that comes to mind when someone they know needs the services you offer.
6. Building confidence
- As a small business owner it is so important that you have the confidence to clearly express yourself. You can increase your skill set in this by talking to people you haven’t met before. This will assist you when you deal with both clients and other brands or colleagues.
7. Taking action – accountability and positive follow up
- If you build an ongoing relationship through a regular meet up time it is an excellent way to have your friends follow up on your progress and likewise yours on theirs. This is positive motivation to get things done because you know that you will want to tell them of your progress next time you meet.
8. It’s fun!
- Friends are fun, especially when you share similarities. It’s almost guaranteed that the war stories of your industry will come out for a good laugh.
- Most networking events have good food – and who doesn’t love a good meal?!
Where can you find networks?
- Use the search bar and look for ones within your location (city, country) and within your profession.
- If you’re a blogger, The Blog Society has a great facebook group and for Australian health wellness bloggers, yesterday I created this group “Australian Health Bloggers” (read the description to see if it’s right for you!).
- This one is a networking hub and you can sign up to heaps of local groups in areas you like.
Word of mouth
- Ask around, chances are some of your friends have heard of local networking groups.
Create your own
- If your friends haven’t heard of it, they are likely to be interested to meet and swap business strategies, ideas and skills over cake and a cup of tea! 2 people discussing business is guaranteed to grow if you let others know or each agree to bring a friend.
Thanks so much to Amy for sharing her amazing tips on building your networks! Are you a solo entrepreneur? How do you avoid feeling lonely at times?