Ladies, Get Out There and Network by Lisa Lannon

Ladies, Get Out There and Network

Don’t Let Fear Get in Your Way

Of everything I’ve learned over the years, having the ability to network is value beyond compare. If you ask most entrepreneurs, most would say their success came from meeting people, stumbling across mentors and bouncing ideas off like-minded individuals.

When Josh and I decided that we were going to start our own business and a new way of life, we knew we needed to meet people. Our first mentor just happened to be Robert Kiyosaki. We learned the truth about money and how to create a successful business.From there, we began our journey to find more mentors and people in our line of business.

But I’ve noticed that for women in particular, there is a self-created barrier when it comes to networking. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 47% of the workforce is made up of women. If that’s true, why does it feel false?

I tend to notice that women undersell themselves. They don’t want to seem hungry and ambitious when it comes to their careers due to being labeled “aggressive” or “power hungry”. In my eyes, there is an easy way to fix this: turn your focus to the return on investment.

When you don’t care about the roadblocks that are out there, they won’t limit you or stop you. The benefits to networking far out way what other people think about you. That’s why it is important to be strategic in your efforts. Find the role models, mentors and investors that can help you expand your business and potential.

Make it a requirement of your business practice to network. Start creating genuine relationships and connections that can be mutually beneficial for all parties involved. It might sound ridiculous, but start by identifying commonalities: kids, alma maters, favorite tv shows, other business owners you know, etc.

This helps start a solid foundation that can later be turned into a solid structure for business interests. So always be genuine and dedicate yourself to the process; the business aspect will evolve naturally.

Treat each interaction as a learning opportunity. Is the person you’re talking to a competitor of your business or someone who might help aid it?

To help start a conversation with these people, do some online research prior to meeting or reaching out. Most likely you’ll be able to find an interview that someone did and find some commonalities and points of discussion.

Another tip is to let go of the fear of saying something “stupid”. You don’t have to know all the answers, just be humble and have an open mind. People will respect your humility more than fumbling your way through a conversation.

Instead, be excited to learn something new. If someone is willing to share their knowledge about something you don’t know about, it can be the very thing that helps you build a connection with them. I have found that when someone knows more about a subject than I do, I have the opportunity to learn something new and engage with that person in a more meaningful way by asking questions.

So, to my fellow female entrepreneurs who are hesitant to put themselves out there and network, find your fire and break down those barriers. Focus on your return on investment and create those relationships. Your business will thank you.

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