Myth #1: Networking is all the same
Networking is a social hobby for people who are not gifted entrepreneurs. For serial entrepreneurs, people who are born to invent, create, build and operate any size company, networking is the zone by which they connect to thought leaders, and peers who help them to achieve great success.
Networking in and of itself is not all the same. There many kinds of networking environments, and it usually depends on the end goal. You begin with the end in mind. Christmas parties at work can be considered a networking event.
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Many networking organizations will have you to believe that they have better members based on the prices that they charge annually or per event. They will have you to believe that the higher price or location of the networking event like a country club, means that you have access to a higher network of people, who will peer-connect you to the types of business deals or clients that you target.
The truth is, these are not indicators of networking success.
Myth #2: Networking is all about business
Networking hobbyists as we will refer to them here have jobs, and have no intention to retire from their job to run their business. Running a business is a socially acceptable project that peers admire, but there is no real passion.
They always talk about the clouds, the moon and Jesus. They are always giving themselves whiplash. They stop and go. Let me give you an example.
I am a Christian but I am really careful about people who constantly quote Jesus. In general, I may make a statement without realizing it, that may reference my beliefs especially if we are speaking positive. I am talking specifically about people who never give you straight answers, and always talk about “waiting on God”. You’re running a business. Stop lying. There are some things that we can have patience with, but I believe that if you have run across this, you understand this part of the article well.
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Networking hobbyists may not have a business plan but they encourage you to have one. There isn’t a real plan however because they are likable, they can generate a social buzz. This doesn’t mean that they are making money, it means that you are attracted to, and attracting false humility, and masked people who likely do not have the same level of dreams and desires that you do.
As an example, I know of someone (who obviously shall remain nameless) who runs a business for women. Her focus is connecting them, yet her business is a revolving door, and under her leadership some people have lost their businesses. But, when she stands in front of women she says, “I’m doing this for you. I don’t need anything.”
Does that sound like an entrepreneur? You sound incompetent. What entrepreneur do you know would tell their customers that they don’t need anything? It sounds like you are not invested, and that you are unskilled at running a business.
Networking hobbyists are not about business at all. They call it business but it’s just a dressed up professionals who lack real business gifting. I don’t believe that this can be taught in school. I think it is wrapped in your spirit. You came here that way.
In order to find the type of events that will be life changing for you, I believe that you have look past the expensive suits and professional titles. You must look deeper into the ambitions of each person and their selflessness. Will they pick up the phone and call a contact on your behalf? They will if they see in you, what you see in them.
People who were born to be entrepreneurs are about business when they network. Sure they want to get to know you, but more than anything they want to connect. Entrepreneurs understand that there are times when you gain friends from a networking event, but that is rare. You are looking for people of integrity to do business with, or to be connected to, the friendship will form itself.
Myth #3: Networking is about making money.
Many times we connect with business people who are not in business to make money, they are in business to be busy, to look important.
How do you choose a networking organization? Go network with people who cannot live without their independence, who are not fearful to make money. Business owners who are not afraid to charge you, or afraid of taking calculated risks are people you want to be around.
Networking is about making money, but it seems that this is a myth because of the saturation of people who come to network who have no idea how to make money. Many business owners are in their beginning stages, and they will come to events wanting to build a business when they need some business classes, research and/or coaching/mentoring. Business at any stage is exciting. I am certainly not comparing or condemning those who are just getting their feet wet. I am however advising that you keep your goals in mind when choosing when, where, how and why you are networking.
One of the biggest things that I believe we face as business owners is learning how to ask for money. If you are selling a product or a service, you should know how to ask for money, without feeling bad about your price.
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Being a business owner requires some maturity in receiving rejection. It is one of the hardest things to learn, and honestly I don’t think it ever completely subsides. But there are times that you say no when someone is asking you to something for free or that makes you feel lower than your personal value assessment, and it empowers you to say no and walk away.
If you are a movie watcher, you’ll find old movies from every era mention the word recession. We are always headed for a great depression, and every other president is crying that we are in a deficit or broke. People who can not afford your price, are not your clients. It really is that simple. Match your price and your presentation, so that you can attract the business clients who will pay you to do what you do well.
Ressurrection Graves is a Child Sexual Abuse Expert and H.E.A.L.E.R. She conducts business and healing seminars, hosts a business networking event, is available for national radio, television and speaking engagements on topics surrounding business, child sexual abuse and adult homelessness. For her upcoming events please click here.