What kind of networking works best for you?
For some of you the word “networking” might fill you with utter dread, making you shiver with a mix of fear and disgust (like that scene in The Lion King with the hyenas saying “Mufasa”). However, this doesn’t mean you have to throw in the towel and never leave your home office ever again, it just means you just haven’t found your tribe yet!
Working for yourself can be incredibly isolating, so networking’s a great way to meet new people and make interesting new connections. If anything it’s just nice to have a moan about how lonely it can all get sometimes!
There are several different kinds of networking options and not all of them will light you up. So which style of networking works for you and your business?
If you can’t face being in a room full of strangers, then a great way to start is by joining a business group online. There are loads of great free groups where you can chat about the highs and lows of being a female founder. Most of them are private, and therefore safe spaces where you can ask questions and test out ideas for your business.
I have a free Facebook group, Brilliant Business Builders, so if you’re just easing yourself gently into online networking this is a great place to start. You can pop in there and get comfortable telling people about what you do and meeting like-minded business owners. Make sure you say hello in the group and introduce your biz to everyone.
Glass of wine and mingling
You might want to try going to a face-to-face meet-up, where the setting is more informal and you can mingle freely – no stale sarnies and warm wine, just friendly faces and relaxed socialising.
If you happen to be in Edinburgh, The Simplicity Concept organises a few of these more informal events. There’s our monthly business club Simply Connect held on the first Wednesday morning of every month. We also collaborate with Mama Tribe to hold super-relaxed meet-ups, monthly laid-back socials where you can chat all things mum and business. TSC also holds other fun events, like this one coming up. Check out eventbrite for socials with a networking element near you.
If you’re ready to take things up a notch, and feel comfortable with a slightly more formal setting, there are plenty of networking events with opportunities to meet your fellow business owners. These often begin with a couple of guest speakers sharing their stories, and usually a Q&A session. Afterwards you can catch up with other entrepreneurs and swap business cards or link up via your social channels to stay in touch.
In Edinburgh, my next Simply Connect Business Club is on 5th June and these are always inspiring and encouraging events to attend. Tickets usually sell out really fast, so get in early!
Life Begins at the End of Your Comfort Zone.
Neale Donald Walsch
I’d love to hear about your experiences of networking. Do you love it or hate it? Have you got any events you would recommend? Leave a comment and a link if you do!