Networking: Finding Your Niche
On a typical weekday night, there are usually a few options of things to do for the average working human, most of which involve food, either the making of or the ordering in of. For the entrepreneur, this list expands to include networking events.
I have a love-mild annoyance relationship with networking events. By nature I am a hybrid of an extrovert and introvert; I enjoy being out and about and connecting with others, but I also love and crave my alone time. So for me, networking events present a great opportunity to connect with others and continue to grow awareness for my brand. They also can be taxing, especially when you are attending multiple in a week.
My Approach to Networking
Defining your work-life balance is hard. When to stop thinking about work and just enjoy yourself or vice versa. At this point in my business, networking is a necessity. There are not hordes of people banging on my door to work with me (not yet at least), so I have to put myself out there and mingle. I could choose to hate it, bemoan the fact that I have to strike up conversations with strangers, but I don’t. I actually love it.
At the heart, my business was born from wanting to connect with others. It is not some cookie cutter service, where everyone is treated the same. Every step of the process is personalized, so I approach networking events the same way. I would rather go to an event, meet 3 people out of 100 and have a deeper connection with those 3, then meet 50 and only scratch the surface. Personal connections build trust, and trust builds business.
Finding Your Niche
So do I attend any and all networking events going on? Hell no. That’s way too much work and not a good use of my time, to be honest. Just like my business is tailored to each individual and brand, so are the networking events I choose to attend. I have found my niche of the type of networking events I like to attend and the ones that I can build those relationships in. The She Rocks 2017 event I attended on Thursday of last week is a perfect example of this. It was full of women who were seeking to have fun while networking, not just passing around their business cards like confetti. That night, I connected with about 5 women out of the 100+ there and I call this a win. I distinctly remember the conversations I had with them, and I am confident that they remember them as well.
Now, don’t get me wrong, sometimes I attend events and make only 1 connection, but I never call the experience a bust or a waste of my time. I always learn something and can apply it for future events. I also never go into networking events “searching” for that one special client or connection. When I start looking for something, I never find it, I just have to live my life, enjoy myself, and everything miraculously falls into place.
P.S. These are some of our favorite networking events