Want to know how I grew from 2 clients to 50 clients in just 3 years?
Let me tell you a story. When I started my business as a side hustle I knew I had to get the word out to get more work. But networking was terrifying to me. In fact, one of my first experiences actively networking left me shaken, having had a real panic attack, and with the promise that I would never ever try that again.
But after some time, I knew that if I really wanted my business to survive, I had to do it. And I had (and still have) a very special mentor who attended some meetings with me when I was ready to try again. These events were exhausting! And I’m sure I tripped over my words when I gave my elevator pitch and my heart was beating out of my chest. But I kept going. And after a while, I was able to go to them without my mentor and I started seeing some familiar faces.
As it got easier, the relationships began to increase and flourish. I was sending out proposals. I was making connections. Getting feedback and tips. Learning key strategies that I could apply to my business. Board member opportunities came along. And as my network strengthened and increased, so did my business. It was the spark that lit the fire for me.
A few points:
- You can gain insights and advice from networking. The relationships you make will allow you to learn and grow.
- Doors will open for you. Casual conversations can turn into referrals down the road. Sometimes they come along two years later but keep your business cards, and support your connections and you’ll find that opportunities will come along as time goes on.
- You’re building your brand. Every positive interaction strengthens your reputation. By actively engaging with others, you become known, trusted, and top-of-mind when they need your services.
- Networking isn’t about taking, it’s about giving. You’ll be surprised at the opportunites that come your way when you give a little of your time, sharing your experience, or offering a sampling of your services. And it’s truly rewarding to be able to help someone else the way others have helped you.
So if like me, you struggle with networking or putting yourself out there, take it from my friend Karl and “get over yourself!” (Karl is a portrait photographer and helps put his clients at ease when they are having a hard time relaxing when the camera is on). I promise it will get easier with time and I promise that the time spent networking is time well spent growing your business.