When most people think of networking, they cringe. Well, I do. It is something that must be done, but is a hard thing because people have different motives when dealing with people. Also, I feel that if you aren’t some type of big shot then people don’t think you have anything to offer them.
In order to get business and build relationships, there is no other way but to network. However, we don’t have to do it the same way that makes us cringe and want to punch life. We can approach it with an open mind and creatively in the goal of just helping people.
Disclaimer: What I’m about to say isn’t all from me. I have gather different people’s theories and tried out some of the traditional ways and was absolutely frustrated. So, what that means is that my thinking and approach is still a work in progress. However, I have a strong feeling that this is the shit. And besides, this whole thing is a case study. Meaning that whatever I say here will shouldn’t be taken with a grain of salt because I’m going to be telling you everything of the way I go about this and the results that I get. But the biggest reason why I have this disclaimer is to let you know that I didn’t come up with this stuff on my own. Most of it, quite frankly, was from many smart people that I look up to.
Where Did the Frustration Begin?
Well, it started late last year. Well, actually before that. The first thing I did was to ask friends and family if they knew anyone I could network with. Yes, awkward question, but I did ask it. I didn’t get any bites and when I did got somebody interested he was wondering my motives and I just left him alone.
Then there was the networking event. I was scared as shit but I went. The people seemed genuine and was getting good vibes from them and knew that I had made the right decision. But, I got home the next day, excited with my new friend’s business cards and started emailing the people back about how nice it was to meet them. Some people replied, most people ignored me and I was of course pissed again. My ego was rocked. I started to think about what it was that I did wrong and how I could have approach the situation better than before.
So the act of getting out there and doing that again terrified me. I wasn’t up for it and knew that I needed to do this differently. I knew already that the type of networking had nothing at all to do with getting business for myself. It was all about helping the person I was trying to build a relationship with. See. That was it. Think about it for a minute. My number one goal in networking is to help people with their businesses.
Even though on paper, especially when someone looks at my business card (I’ll also address the business card issue, my solution is more up to my level and also still hip with today’s times–I’m not totally going off the grid.), they only see me as a photographer. That is the part that I must prove and change in these people’s heart. Because in reality I have worked with different companies that have helped me to be who I am and also I know people who know people and so on. I’m bigger than being a photographer.
Think about that for a minute. What profession are you claiming yourself? Okay, who do you know, what other skills do you have in the box of tools and how creatively you can help the person really succeed in their business?
The next post will address your thinking and why you should do something like this.