In November I will have been in business for myself for 18 years! In realizing just how long that is I am really starting to reflect on my journey and what I’ve learned. Deciding to be a graphic designer and then a business owner turned out to actually be 2 different things. Even though I “started a business” I really wasn’t owning anything, I was just working.
Here’s the problem with just working…the work dries up eventually. I was working in my business and not on my business and I didn’t even know it. I was appalled at the idea of joining a networking group, didn’t want to embrace any women supporting women in business and hoped that magically I’d get more work. I tried to do everything myself without asking for help and for so many years it hurt my growth. Fortunately I had an awakening that led me to leaning in to networking, referrals and collaborations which has completely changed my business game.
Networking has played a massive role in filling up the pipeline at Flying Horse and I am not surprised to learn that 85% of jobs that come through to a business are a direct result of networking with the right people. When done properly, the connections you make in your groups become your partners who refer you to the people who need you. I personally love being able to refer somebody to a person in my networking groups and helping them succeed in their business.
One very important thing I have learned about networking is that you need to spend time building relationships, not just go to as many groups as you can find and hand out a card with a quick elevator pitch. I like to be in only 1-2 groups of like-minded people so I can get to know everybody and what they offer. My current group is on summer break at the moment but because we’re well connected we still network with eachother as our relationships stuck.
How has networking played a role in your business and life? Do you enjoy networking or are you a bit resistant to it? I’d love to do a little networking right here in the comments to set a feel for you and what parts of networking have had the most impact for you.