I confess, I love networking and talking to a friend I realise I’ve been getting jobs via networking for a very long time.
The first job I ever got from “networking” was a saturday job in cafe when I was doing my O levels (O levels – ooh that dates me!) A friend worked behind the counter in the cafe and knew they want someone to help clearing the tables.
Now clearing tables wasn’t my dream job but after one week I was promoted to working behind the counter and I stayed in the job until I left for university. I learnt an awful lot about customer service in my time there, something that stood me in good stead in other jobs.
The next job I got from networking was that of tour guide at university showing prospective students around on open days. It really was the easiest job ever but again I only got to hear about it because I knew someone who was already doing it and they recommended me to the person in charge.
Later in life I was tempting at a large insurer. How did I end up working there full time – because of what we call networking and finding out about a full time position.
So skip forward a few years to today.
I love to network and its where the vast majority of my work comes from, either directly from the people I meet or they recommend me to others.
Why does networking work for me?
- I’m consistent. Even when I’m busy with the paying work, I still make time to network. People aren’t always ready to buy when you first meet them, but by being a consistent attendee when they are ready I’m there. I’m currently working for someone who I knew for two years before they needed me. But it’s the second project they’ve booked me for since they got to the buying stage.
- I follow up. So if someone gives me a business card, I will either drop them an email or connect with them on linkedin, twitter etc or both. And if I’ve said I’ll look into something for them, I do. Even if it’s to say, yes it can be done but it will cost a lot! People know they can rely on me.
- I give stuff away for free. No not pens and pads (though those of you who do that are very kind) but knowledge. There’s a temptation when have expertise in a field not to give away any of the things you know for free and to charge for everything but I’ve found that by helping people out with a small thing means they turn to me for the big things too. It has established my reputuation as a friendly, helpful and knowledgeable person. Which translates into people wanting me to work on projects with them.
So if you’re wondering about networking, I say do it. And if you want to find me, I’m most likely to be found networking with The Business Womans Network.