Let's talk about networking.
Networking has been a powerful tool for me as an entrepreneur looking to achieve balance in my personal and professional life while building my business empire. In this blog post, I'll share my personal story, highlighting the importance of networking and some strategies for making the most of your networking opportunities.
Achieving Balance through Networking
Since the beginning of the 2023 year, I have been focusing on building closer and more personal relationships with people. For a number of reasons, I have mostly kept my interactions with people very superficial and transactional in the past. However, in an effort to make friends and build new bridges in a new city, I started opening up more to small talk with strangers, attending events centered around the new things I'm interested in, and I even joined a private club that I was invited to.
Through networking, I have found new opportunities to serve my community, including serving on the Executive Board for the Essentials Foundation, Inc. and on the Executive Board for my kid's school PTA. I also volunteer as a YMCA youth soccer and baseball coach and am working on my second book. These experiences have helped me achieve a balance between my personal and professional life, allowing me to pursue my passions and make meaningful connections with like-minded individuals.
Building an Empire through Networking
As an entrepreneur, I have found that networking is essential for building an empire. There is strength in numbers, and sometimes money won't get your project or idea through the finish line the way you want it to. Sometimes, you need the right people on your team.
Networking events are a great opportunity to find potential employees, clients, partners, mentors, and advisors who can provide valuable insights and support as I grow my business. These connections can help me fill gaps in my own skill set, gain access to new markets, and even secure funding for my or my clients' businesses.
Obviously, as an entrepreneur, it's always good to have friends that you can relate to on a non-business level. Everything can't be about business all the time. Building personal connections can also help you maintain a healthy work-life balance and stay grounded amidst the pressures of entrepreneurship. I delve deeper into that in my book.
Practical Ways to Network and Build Lasting Connections
Networking is not just about making new connections but also maintaining existing ones. Over time, it's easy for connections to grow cold and lose their value. To build lasting connections, I use several practical strategies.
One approach I use is to invite individuals out for coffee, lunch, or dinner. These one-on-one meetings are a great way to catch up with my contacts, learn about their current projects, and see how we can help each other. I also organize events to bring my contacts together, such as a monthly happy hour at my country club. This allows me to stay connected with my network, catch up with old friends, and make new connections. The casual setting also allows for more relaxed conversations, helping to build more personal relationships with my contacts.
To maintain connections over time, it's essential to follow up regularly. This could be through email, phone calls, or social media. I can share updates on my business or personal life, provide value to my contacts by sharing relevant articles or resources, and congratulate them on their achievements. By staying in touch and providing value, I can strengthen my relationships and make them more meaningful.
Networking has been a powerful tool for me as an entrepreneur looking to achieve balance in my personal and professional life while building an empire. By balancing my personal and professional life through networking and building valuable connections, I can achieve my goals and take my business to the next level. Making meaningful connections can also lead to a more fulfilling personal life, allowing me to pursue my passions and make a positive impact on my community. Remember, there is strength in numbers, and sometimes, the right people on your team can make all the difference.