Why I Network So Much
For a good number of people, networking is a bad word, and I still don't quite understand why. For me, networking is a crucial part of my business, and life in general.
Networking is about always learning and never assuming you are the smartest person in the room. If you are the smartest person in the room...go to a different room, immediately.
What Networking Does For Me
I actively network for many reasons. I have a fairly small budget for marketing my business, so naturally, networking helps alleviate that. If I can connect with a few local video editors or animation artists in some manner organically, that saves me from having to spend money to MAYBE connect with them.
I also find that organically connecting with someone is far more personal and valuable than connecting via an ad.
Meeting New People Is Extremely Enlightening
It's also about expanding who you know, because you never know who you'll meet, or who will be sent your way from a person you connected with.
I genuinely enjoy meeting new people, learning about them and their experiences. I find it to be very stimulating and eye-opening...you can learn a lot by just listening to someone new.
Don't just think of networking as a means to an end, you'll find yourself burnt out super fast, and you might not try it again for a while.
One of my close friends, Steven David Elliot, co-founded a networking/marketing business called Rockstar Connect. It is essentially a paid networking business, where you can greatly expand your network, or "sphere of influence".
I won't go into too much detail about the company, as Steven is a much better person to talk to about that, but I will talk a little bit about what he's imparted to me, and what I take from the events I attend from time to time.
Steven says "you have to give in order to get". Let that marinate for a little bit, it's important.
Giving and Getting
It's not about a 1:1 ratio of give:get, and it's not about an immediate ROI. That's the wrong mindset, and that mindset never works.
You have to WANT to give, and not worry about getting. It's about being selfless, and helping others because you can. Don't worry about when you'll get referrals to your business from those that you've helped.
Chances are...they're busy running their business (like most are, duh), and they'll help you when they get the chance.
I find that I have learned a great many things by simply knowing the right people. Or, to say something else...knowing the right people has forced me to change how I think, or how I operate.
Not because they said so, but because they enlightened me in some fashion.
It Takes Patience
You don't become a rock-star CEO overnight, it takes a lot of time and effort.
Overall Growth and Development
I find that knowing certain people puts ideas in my head about how I can better shape my brand, market towards various audiences, write articles on LinkedIn, more effectively price my products, and know when to stop emailing that person who just won't respond.
It also helps me stay grounded, and take a step back when necessary.
Life isn't about just working non-stop, it's about doing what you want to do. If we all just worked non-stop, day-in/day-out, it would be very dull. You have to remember what's really important, and never let that go.
The True Value Of Networking
For me, networking is as much about connecting with my target audiences as it is connecting with people who just add value to my life.
If you never buy a computer from me, but you're always cracking jokes online, keep doing that.
Don't think of networking as a means to and end, think of it as a tool to improve, amplify, and enlighten your life...you'll be surprised what happens when you do.