The truth about entrepreneurship is that it comes with many twists and turns and honestly not many people are willing to be honest about how grueling the process can be. I’ve been in business for 12 years; full-time for 9 years, and when I tell you, it’s truly been a journey. For the first time in all the years I’ve been in business, I was intentional about joining the local Chamber of Commerce in my local area.
Yes, you read that correctly. I have been in business for over a decade and have never attended a local Chamber of Commerce event… until today. Now sure, I started out in my local community back in my hometown, but I also moved to Charlotte in the middle of a pandemic and life has taken many twists and turns since then.
Within my journey of full-time entrepreneurship I have been successful with hosting annual conferences, workshops, coaching and mentorship programs which literally has attracted women from around the world to my brand. However, last year I began to desire more face to face connection again. I started out coaching women in my local area and then somewhere along the way I became comfortable on Zoom. Now don’t get me wrong, I also spent years traveling as a national speaker, meeting many people who had read my books, followed me online as well as signed up to work with me. And yes, I’ve made A LOT of money doing it.
But something was missing. As I began to dig deeper into my soul self I started to feel empty. Although I have a lovely partner, a daughter whom I absolutely adore and a beautiful mini-aussiedoodle who keeps me busy, my spirit was longing for more. After doing some much needed soul searching I realized that God had packaged too much within me to be kept behind a computer screen all day. I was also reminded that He led me to Charlotte for a reason.
Of course, like you I still get nervous being in new environments with people i don’t know and instead of talking about what I do, I enjoy just doing it. However, I began to pull out resources that I have taught my clients over the years and sharpen my skills on how to network effectively and that led to a beautiful experience today.
With that said, I would like to ask you a few questions:
- Are you currently feeling isolated as an entrepreneur?
- Are you struggling to find your tribe?
- Do you desire a change but are unsure what it is?
Connection is so important and I was recently reminded of a quote by Tony Robbins that said, “The quality of your life is determined by the quality of your relationships.”
Now sure, like you perhaps, I too have been hurt and experienced betrayal by the closest people to me and in many ways these experiences led to me shutting myself off from people. However, one day I had an awakening and was like, absolutely not, those users, abusers, betrayers and backstabbers will NOT win! So I decided to get out of my comfort zone and connect with real people in real time. Guess what? My cup was filled.
Over the years, I was always on the road traveling, meeting a lot of people but honestly, very few quality relationships were developed. Although I did try, I also learned that many people simply don’t know how to maintain connection with someone they may not see everyday. Guess what else? That’s okay too.
If you are currently feeling stuck in your business, it could be that your soul desires deeper connections and not to just network but to go out and make intentional connections.
Here’s what I did and will continue to do:
- Research networking opportunities in your local city. (You can literally go to www.Google.com and type in: “Networking events in ____ (insert your city).
- Create a list of the ones that speak to you. (Don’t overwhelm yourself, maybe jot down 2 or 3 for starters)
- Identify your authentic purpose for attending (wanting to grow your business is great, but think about it from the perspective of developing meaningful relationships/partnerships.)
- Add the selected ones to your calendar.– To take it a step further and to break the ice, email the organizer and let them you are excited about attending and look forward to connecting. This helps because upon arrival at least there is one person you may feel a little more comfortable speaking with.
- Next, prepare by answering the following questions while being as CLEAR & CONCISE as possible. Be careful not to be too wordy.
a. Who am I?
b. What do I do?
c. What specific problem do I solve?
- Next, write your responses down on a note card and practice it aloud daily until it becomes natural. – The goal is to sound natural and not go on and on about your business, but simply share what you do and then ask the other person what they do and allow the conversation to flow from there.a. You can also record it in your own voice and replay it repeatedly throughout the day until it is embedded into your subconscious.
- Freshen up on your people skills. – Think about ways you can serve as well, not just what others can do for you.
If you follow these seven steps and master them your networking experience will go much smoother and before you know it, those feelings of being stuck and/or isolated in your business will dissipate. Also, know that it’s perfectly okay to be nervous, but more importantly be yourself and have fun!
*Let me know if you found this information helpful by commenting below. I’d love to hear from you! Oh and I’ll be sure to keep you updated on my networking experience.