Sep 18, 2023

From Awkward to Awesome: Mastering the Art of Networking

Read time - 4 minutes

Today we’re going to talk about networking.

I know, I know…probably not your favorite subject, amiright?

But here’s the thing…you can’t make it in business alone. Nobody can. Customers are people. Partners are people. Mentors are people. Friends are people.

And all of those people help you have a successful business.

Unfortunately, lots of solopreneurs – especially when they’re first starting out and feeling a bit unsteady – avoid networking like it’s Aunt Badbreath, who just reapplied her lipstick (and tries to lay one on you every time she sees you).

But here’s the hard truth:

Avoiding networking is the same thing as avoiding success.

Rather than putting off your success (or engineering a much more difficult time on your rise to your unique definition of success), let’s put a different spin on networking so you can:

  • Feel more comfortable at networking events
  • More easily follow up and develop relationships with people you meet at networking events
  • Know exactly what to say and do so you feel like you’re always ready to network
  • Tackle the whole “there are no good networking events around me” dilemma

Here’s how you can approach networking events to get the most out of them.

Make It A Game

Picture this: You’re at an in-person networking event, and instead of the usual awkwardness, you decide to approach it differently. Find someone in the room who seems interesting or friendly to you. Go up to them and confess that you sometimes feel like a fish out of water at these events. Then, here’s the twist: propose a game!

Suggest that both of you venture off separately to chat with different folks. After a few minutes, catch each other’s attention and come back together. Share what you’ve learned about the people you’ve met—what they do, something cool about them, or any interesting tidbits. It’s like going on a knowledge quest or a friendly scavenger hunt rather than a traditional networking event. And it takes off the pressure, trust me.

Don’t forget to sneak in some notes about the people you meet, maybe in a note in your phone, or even snap a selfie with them for memory’s sake. This not only makes networking feel less daunting but can also lead to some genuine friendships, which we’ll talk more about in a sec.

Friends Make Everything Better

Now, let’s talk about why making friends at networking events is a total game-changer. When you mingle at these events or join entrepreneurial communities, you’re more likely to meet folks who share your entrepreneurial dreams. And let’s be real, it’s tough to gab about your business ideas with non-entrepreneur friends. They might not quite get it, and some ideas may seem like wild, risky adventures to them.

But with entrepreneurial friends, it’s a whole different ball game. They get the hustle, the dreams, and the occasional late-night brainstorming sessions. Plus, they can offer fresh perspectives, encourage you to take those bold steps, and sometimes even become your business partners.

Enter the Room Prepared

Now, let’s dive into online networking with a fresh perspective—one that revolves around meaningful conversations. Instead of obsessing over what you’ll say about your business, focus on the art of asking questions.

Before you join that virtual networking event, take a moment to prepare. But not in the traditional way of rehearsing an elevator pitch. Instead, jot down some thought-provoking questions you can ask others. What’s their journey been like? What challenges are they facing? What excites them about their work?

These questions become your superpower. They guide the conversation and allow you to genuinely connect with people. Listen attentively to their responses, and you’ll find that networking becomes less about self-promotion and more about building relationships.

Of course, it’s still valuable to have a few notes on hand about your own work—your target audience, the services you offer, and your success stories. But remember, the real magic happens when you ask questions and engage in authentic conversations. When people feel heard and valued, they’re more likely to remember you and refer potential clients your way. So, let’s flip the script and make networking about others—it’s a win-win for everyone involved.

Create Something Unique

Feeling like there aren’t any cool networking events in your area? No problemo! You can take matters into your own hands and start one yourself. Seriously, you don’t need anyone’s permission. Just list it on Eventbrite (it’s free), and you’ll instantly become a community builder and leader in your own right.

By hosting your own event, you’re offering something fresh and unique. You’ll stand out in the entrepreneurial crowd, attracting like-minded folks who dig your vision. Building a community around your brand doesn’t just boost your business; it creates a sense of belonging for everyone involved.

Take the Easy Route First

Hey, quick shoutout! If the idea of walking into a room full of entrepreneurs as a newbie sends shivers down your spine, fear not. I’ve got your back. I host monthly virtual networking events specifically for solopreneurs, and I totally get the introvert struggle because I’m one too.

My events are super chill and low-pressure. You can confidently introduce yourself, share your story, and even follow up with the people you connect with, whether it’s for a friendly chat or potential business collaborations. No need to stress; we’re all in the same boat here.

I hold them on Thursday of the 4th full week of the month and they’re free!

Solopreneur Success Club Virtual Networking banner introducing me (Lori Reeves) as the host

If you’d like to check them out and register for your free ticket, click the button below to find out when the next event is.

So, there you have it—networking doesn’t have to be a nerve-wracking ordeal. It can be fun, fruitful, and a great way to make friends who truly understand your entrepreneurial journey. Let’s turn those networking events into something you actually look forward to!

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Monthly Virtual Networking

Each month I host a virtual networking event exclusively for solopreneurs. It’s important for solopreneurs to connect with and support one another. Grow your network and your net worth today!

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