E5 - Why is Networking so important for business owners
Networking is one of those things that you should be spending a decent amount of time on when you first get started online. However, networking doesn’t mean pointlessly hanging out on social media all day – quite the opposite.
In this episode we will:
- talk about all of the reasons WHY networking is so important
- run through the benefits networking can bring to your business
- discuss where you can find the RIGHT people to networking with
- explain HOW you actually make real connections with people
Once you’re done with the episode and you understand the importance of building your network early on in your business, go and start reaching out to people!
Building an online business is just like losing weight. Just watching people exercise isn’t going to get you anywhere.
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⚠️ The transcript has been copied straight out of Descript. It is NOT edited and will be full of weird typos for your entertainment. One day I’ll be able to get someone to fix it, until then the laughs are free.
[00:00:00] Hey, and welcome back to the online business rebels podcast. I'm your host, Jessica Donington. And in this episode, we're having into the importance of building your network when he was starting his own business. So when you first get started online, you're often the odd one out the new kid on the block.
[00:00:15] You don't know anyone and everyone else seems to be so happy to just jump in, have conversations with each other and. It really can feel a little bit like you remember those teenage birthday parties where you kind of went to, but he didn't really know all that many people. So you just end up kind of standing or quietly at the side of the room or in a corner somewhere.
[00:00:39] Yeah, I know it can feel a little bit like that, but don't panic. It's perfectly normal, right? This is a new environment you're coming into. You don't know any of those people and they don't know you. So in this episode, we're going to talk all about why this needs to change and how you can go about that.
[00:00:56] So when I got started online initially, um, I didn't really make any specific effort to go out of my way and make connections. And I was seriously struggling because whenever I ran into an issue, I mostly didn't have anyone to talk about it. My parents have only ever worked for other people. My partner at that time, couldn't really care less about whether I am.
[00:01:20] Or not, which was a red flag in itself that I should have seen a mile away a long time ago, but I thought that sort of lack of support is just normal. You know? So my best friend at that time also had absolutely no ambition to ever do anything for herself. So all of those conversations with those people about the things that I found really difficult and didn't find a way around really all those conversations and that very, really, really quickly because.
[00:01:46] There just wasn't any connection and they didn't have anything that they could offer me in the form of advice or encouragement. so I was kind of feeling very alone and that really sucks. So then one day I literally stumbled across a very small online community group coaching thing. and there were about 40 members also and only cost about 37 bucks a month to join.
[00:02:15] It was an absolute game changer for me and my business. So I went back and forth on it for a couple of days. I've literally accidentally clicked on a Facebook ad. So I didn't know the person, I was very new online. I didn't know if you could trust people. And I had the same questions that lots of other people have when they're thinking about joining our programs.
[00:02:33] Once I was in that group though, I felt so at home because I finally got to listen in on people discussing what's working and what's not working for them. I got to understand that the things that I was experiencing at the time weren't really anything that was just limited to me and my business or what specifically I was doing.
[00:02:51] And then other people would feed in that way as well. I got to ask questions. We had hot seats. when I shared, you know, Obsessing that might've happened to me. Those people understood exactly how I was feeling. And it was really, really, really amazing. And over time I became closer and closer with the people within that group because they just got me and I got them and it was just easy.
[00:03:14] Then I started working on some projects with the people in that group. I then got referrals from them and then things went on. What's an op what's from there. And I have to say that being in the right community with the right kind of people is something that I assign a lot of my success over the kiss too.
[00:03:30] So let's jump into the reasons why networking is so important for your business. And then we'll talk about how we find our people online.
[00:03:39] So initially it can seem really tempting to just remain on the sidelines. Right? You might think that you don't really need anyone. Maybe you do have a supportive friend or a supportive hospital. What more could you need? The first thing that I want to say is this not every person. You're going to end up networking with needs to become a friend.
[00:03:58] A business contact is not the same thing. As a friend, they might eventually become a friend over a longer period of time where they've consistently shown up. But they don't have to be the same thing. You know, sometimes you can just have connections with people that are just mutually beneficial for each of your businesses and that's where it ends.
[00:04:18] So with that said, let's dive into the reasons why you need to really assemble your business. Reason number one for me is emotional support. Running a business is really hard work and being successful. It requires a lot of personal growth. that is one of those things that nobody really mentioned to me when they talked about their journey, at the start.
[00:04:39] but it's the thing that's actually been really the hardest for me to come to terms with, the result of growing as a person and starting to. Responsibility. And by that, I mean like radical responsibility for the things that you're doing and by being accountable and by doing what you say you're going to do.
[00:04:57] By doing all of those things and getting quite uncomfortable at a time, you will, you will grow hugely as person and you might outgrow people that have been in your life for a very, very, very long time, but they have absolutely no idea what you're going through. And they're. Doing every effort they possibly can to actually just stay exactly the same as they are.
[00:05:21] Now. They're not interested in growing. They're not interested in developing and you are, and therefore you are kind of moving away from them and you can try as you like to get them along on the ride, but it will not always work. And that's just something that you have to understand, then you have to accept.
[00:05:41] And I had to accept that as well.
[00:05:43] So, yeah. Anyways, all of that personal growth tends to stir up a lot of things in us. And if I hadn't had a chance to actually go and vent, when it was really needed, I would have just held all of that negativity or the anger or, the guilt for not showing up for other people as much as I am showing up for the business or, Bitterness when someone didn't really recognize my gifts that I was giving to them, you know, those kinds of things.
[00:06:12] If I'd held all of those inside me, what good would have actually come off of that? Yeah, correct. Probably absolutely none. So having a support group of people who are actually experiencing the same thing and who are fighting the same demons day in day out, has been a huge lifesaver for me, just because I knew that I simply wasn't alone in this.
[00:06:31] The next reason why assembling your business squad is so important to me is because it actually allowed me to get work experience really, really, really, really early on, because I already knew these people and they could hear from the way I was speaking and the things I was talking about that I knew what I was doing.
[00:06:53] It was very easy for me to offer them, to help them out with, you know, some of their tech problems that they were having at the time, because to me it was super easy and I kind of knew how to do all of it. And I was always really good at figuring it out if I didn't already know. So I was just like, Hey, you know, what can I help you with this problem that you have?
[00:07:13] But. Once I'm done, you know, you write something nice about me that I can use in a few different places. And they were like, oh my God, like I would so appreciate if you could just take a look at that. So quite a few times I just spent 20 or 30 minutes, wide. I really didn't have anything better to do because I didn't have that many paying clients yet.
[00:07:31] I spend 20, 30 minutes to prepare something for someone that was really super easy, actually. And at the end I got a super nice testimonial and they ended up recommending me to all of them. Which brings me to the next point, getting I'm giving referrals. So once you've actually done some work for people, it is actually super easy to ask people to just refer you, when you're in the same community, because you spend a lot of time with them online, you get to know them, they know why you're doing what you're doing.
[00:08:00] They want to support you. You want to support them. So when you've actually invest the time into building genuine relationships, People just know that you're trustworthy and they're happy to recommend you because they have potentially worked with you. They know how you work, they know your values, they know how much you want to do.
[00:08:17] Good work. They trust you and they want to support you. So they're going to help to, give. The next thing that's always really helped me a lot was brainstorming ideas and getting feedback in a really safe space. So it is amazing to just have a group of people who you can bounce ideas around with without fear of being judged.
[00:08:35] And that's exactly what those kinds of small groups are perfect for. I'm sure. Over the last six years, I have stopped other people from implementing totally crazy ideas on a tangent that would have just distracted them from what is the actual purpose. And I'm sure. You know, lots of people have done that to me when I'm like, Hey, I have this really smart idea that I have decided I want to implement them.
[00:08:58] People are like, no, but this is not at all in line with where you want to go. And I'm like, oh yeah, I don't actually like working like that good point. Thank you for that. You know, and it's literally priceless to just have a group of people that is at the same level and further on than you are, um, so that you can learn from them.
[00:09:14] And you always have this, pot of gold to go back to, to, You know, to grab a coin from, to integrate into your life. And that's super useful. Another reason why networking is so important is invites and opportunities in general. So those groups will not only bring you referrals for work and for clients, but they will also bring you other avenues of promotion that you might not have had.
[00:09:38] That could be things like collaborating together in. Bundles doing joint webinars, being involved in fundraisers, being a speaker at an online summit, doing a guest podcast interview with someone, you know, all of those things. These opportunities often go to people who have personal connections with the organizer or the podcast hosts or who are already super well known for something. They're like. The copyrights have for business coaches. So of course that person's going to get invited to speak at a summit on a topic that's related. But if you have a good connection with the host of the summit, you might just be able to grab one of the couple of spots that often goes to people who are not that far on yet in business.
[00:10:25] And it's all because you have put in the time and, emotional investment to build a proper relationship with some. So, where can you actually find people who do what you do and who may actually be interested in connecting? I personally am a big fan of pay to play. So the kind of people that you want to have in your environment are people that are serious about their business.
[00:10:52] And that is not the same thing as being experienced or having been in the business for a long time. It just means that they're committed that all in. They don't have a backup plan. They're wanting to make the. Work come hell or high water. They're literally like I'm down for this, those kinds of people.
[00:11:13] You want to find you also looking for people who are doing this smartly. So they're not people that are tapping in the dark by themselves for five years before they find the gold coin that gets them one step ahead on their journey. You know, there are people who want to surround themselves with other successful people who want to learn from people who've been there and done that so that they can save themselves time, save themselves effort, et cetera.
[00:11:35] If you want to find those kinds of people, you will more likely find them in paid programs rather than in free Facebook groups, because the level of commitment at that point is simply different. And with that, it's really important that you pick a group where at least half of the people in.
[00:11:54] Make you feel a little bit uncomfortable because they offer that ahead of you and you feel like you're kind of playing small in comparison to them because those people they've walked the path that you are , about to embark on, but they're not so far ahead yet that they can't share any more wisdom with you that does happen.
[00:12:11] Like now I've been doing this for so long. I don't know what it's like to be employed anymore. And I think if I had to answer to many very beginning questions, I am not sure. I would still feel in touch with my extremely early days because it's been six years now. And I remember in my very early days, I had this, I have this doubt still, whether I would be able to make it, you know, and then after everything that I've been through in the last six years, I'm just.
[00:12:42] No way, am I ever not going to get what I want? You know, I am going to work for it. I'm going to do whatever it takes. And I know that at the end, if I do the right things, that work for me, things will come to me. And I have that level of trust in myself now in how the world works. And I didn't have that six years ago.
[00:13:01] and a lot of the things that I say may not quite resonate with people anymore because. I just don't have any of those doubts left. So to me, the small ish online group programs, there could be some. Involved, but mostly it's going to be, there's gotta be a community.
[00:13:20] There's gotta be calls. That's gotta be a private space for you to communicate. Um, there could be teaching from the person who's doing the thing, which may or may not be useful for you, but I don't join those small things because I'm there for the content. I'm wanting to meet people. I want to make connections like just a few days ago.
[00:13:37] there was the done in the day summit. I didn't go to the summit because. I feel like I don't know anything about VIP days, but I went there because I wanted to make new business connections. So I bought a ticket, which was like 40 bucks. And I got to talk to a whole load of new people. I have about four coffee chats coming up with people who I may want to collaborate with.
[00:13:59] if I end up collaborating with just two out of four people, I'm going to have some fun. I'm going to have met some new, interesting people and I'm going to get in front of a new audience and that was worth 40 bucks, So you have to see everything that you do in your business as an investment.
[00:14:15] So look for low price, look for community, look for regular ways to, connect with the people in the group and keep it small. Like I wouldn't go for anything that is going to end up having more than 50 people in it, just because I can't. Get to know enough of the people intimately enough. So how do you then go about making actual connections with people?
[00:14:36] So I, when I joined a new group, I like to first off make a list of the people who are in the group. And I like to literally write it down. Then I want to know what it is that they do, you know, who do they help? Who's their ideal audience. And I do check out their websites and their social media accounts, because I want to know if I would vibe with that person, do they also joke a lot?
[00:14:58] Do they, are they a bit sarcastic? Do they, use a lot of gifts or emojis? Are they like expressive people? do they have maybe controversial opinions, , is there. Is there any spice about them? Do they have a sparkle in their eyes? I kind of want to know that because those people they're my people.
[00:15:14] And if you don't have that, then. , you're probably okay, but we won't be besties and our audiences might not vibe anyways. , like your audience might not vibe with me because we're two different. So I want to make a list of the people who have the best potential, , for vibing. And then I want to identify those people who have an audience that is similar to the people that I want to speak to.
[00:15:36] But that person doesn't do the same thing that I do. So of course, if back in the day, when I was just like a general techie virtual assistant, of course I could collaborate with other general techie virtual assistants, but. We're kind of selling the same service to the same people at that point, that doesn't make any sense.
[00:15:53] So I should work with the content virtual assistant or a social media virtual assistant so that I can refer the social media request to her and she can refer the tech requests to me. , that's how you strike a bargain that works for everybody. So you want to have the same audience, but you want to be selling a different service and then, , just reach out to those people, send them a message, introduce yourself.
[00:16:14] Comment on something that you find interesting about them, start a conversation. And then lots of people forget about doing things that keep a conversation going. One statement and a question. The other person replies with. And a question, and then you reply with one statement and a question, and that's how you maintain a conversation.
[00:16:37] And then the next thing that you can do, and I think it's really important is that you get off of whatever, , if you're on Facebook messenger or if you're in a slack DM invite the person to come on a, from. , just say, Hey, I'm I love chatting with you. Um, do fancy, you know, grabbing like a virtual coffee sometime next week.
[00:16:56] I'd love to get to know you better and learn more about whatever it is that you find interesting about them. Maybe the work, maybe something personal, , but you are going to have to end up asking people. And to me, this is one of the most important skills that you can learn as a business owner.
[00:17:15] Be ready to be rejected and just be totally cool with it. , maybe that person just had a baby and they, they really just don't have the bandwidth right now to get on a call with you. That doesn't mean that they don't like you. It just means that they don't have time to get on a call with you right now.
[00:17:30] And that is a okay. Like there's nothing wrong. Sometimes, like I love talking to people, but sometimes I'm just tired, you know? And I don't mean physically tired. I'm just tired of the amount of things that I have to keep a tab on. Then if it's been a really, really, really busy week, I just don't have the energy left to give to you.
[00:17:52] On a Friday afternoon at 4:00 PM when we had that coffee chat booked. So then I will cancel because I don't want to get on a call with you and then bring my tired vibe into our conversation. You know, you deserve more than that. So it's okay. If people just can't., but at least you did ask and you can always follow up.
[00:18:14] Not enough people follow up. You are not annoying. You're just being nice. You're having a quick catch up. Just keep it super high vibe and you'll be perfectly. Alrighty. So those were my thoughts on networking and the importance of networking, particularly if you are new in the online business world. thank you so much for listening to the online business rebels.
[00:18:40] As always, you can find all of the show email@example.com. And if you don't know how to spell that, you will find the link in the description. And if you enjoyed this episode, tell a friend about it. And as always, I hope you have an amazing day and I'll see you for the next one.