After being in business for 7 months, my website is now ready and I wouldn’t have been able to get here without my network.
Starting up my business without a website was a conscious choice. I made this choice for 2 reasons:
- I didn’t know what I wanted it to look like. It’s that simple. I hadn’t found my business identity, didn’t know what content I wanted to include, and I didn’t want to do all that work all over again, once I had figured it out.
- In a service business, a website is only part of the package. People want to meet you, they want to know who you are, before doing business with you.
So I went out and met people, a lot of people. I tried out that dreaded introduction: to convey who I am and what I you do, while trying to be simultaneously engaging enough to create interest but not sounding like it this is a rehearsed sales pitch.
I bombed. I fumbled my words. Sometimes, I found someone I really connected with, and things went well. I got better at it too, found my natural voice. Stopped thinking about possible clients and focused on finding interesting people to talk to. To start a relationship without defining it up front.
It’s so much more fun to go out networking when “interesting conversation” is your focus. And I met some amazing people and we have been helping each other. That’s what it is all about really: finding interesting people and helping each other.
As an solo-preneur I do a lot of things myself, it’s the nature of this path. Yet sometimes I find myself struggling, not being able to get the results I want. This last month, that happened a lot. So I reached out to the people I had had interesting conversations with, where we had a connection.
Here are some short stories about how my network has helped me recently.
Gina is a powerhouse of energy, ideas and getting things done. She is the creator of this website. Need I say more?
I recently had the opportunity to promote my Uniquely You workshop at one of Theodora‘s events. I didn’t know what to say (and I always have something to say). So I went to the best person I know, Tara, speech coach. In a short time she helped me create a short speech that I love so much, I use it as the workshop text on this website.
Even though I am an entrepreneur, sometimes people want a CV. Karen’s help, to capture the best of 2 very different careers and show how they are complementary, was invaluable.
All of these people, and so many more that I haven’t mentioned, have brought me many things. And above all, interesting conversation.
From someone who used to shiver at the thought of networking, here’s my advice on networking:
Go out and have interesting conversations.
Help each other.
You never know what those connections will bring, or when, but it’s the interesting conversations that people remember.
So they will remember you and at the very least, you will have had a good time.