My first networking experience was at 16 years old – As a club promoter for Diamond Nightclub in Seattle. Every weekend I’d reach out to different circles of friends and get them to come to the nightclub. The more people I got to come out, the more I got paid!
The value of networking comes from building relationships. These relationships lead to new opportunities that can take your business to the next level. There’s a reason why “Your network is your net worth” and “It’s not what you know its who you know” are still popular mantras today. The collective power of community has the potential to bring the brightest minds together and make an impact. “Help others achieve their dreams and you will achieve yours” – Les Brown.
What I like about networking most, is stepping out my comfort zone for new opportunities. I’ve had phases in life where I either felt extremely anxious at public events or was the life of the party. My most recent networking event was Seattle Interactive Conference 2015. I volunteered one day and the next day I went alone. Even though I met a lot of cool people, I felt anxious at times throughout the day. Like I needed to talk to people and if I didn’t I’d be succumbing to my insecurities. What do I say? I don’t have a business, I’m just a kid in school. What value can I really add?
I didn’t have much to offer at the time, but as I’m learning, improving, and becoming more valuable I’m starting to lose my shyness. To get better at networking I need to identify my value proposition, continue my personal development and keep stepping out of my comfort zone.