When Networking Goes RIGHT : Discovering Your Inner Circle
This post was previously published on my LinkedIn publishing page. Here is the full article:
My grandfather used to joke that my grandmother would stop and talk to a street sign if it stopped to talk to her. In spite of being somewhat shy when I was a kid, I have now become that woman who stops and talks to EVERYONE. I thoroughly enjoy a conversation with the average stranger on a regular basis. I like listening to what makes people tick, what makes them grow, or even what makes them angry. Every so often, those random conversations will turn out to be things that will affect your life in ways you didn't expect.
A couple of years ago, I ran into a young lady with whom I had multiple friends in common. I found it odd that in my sometimes small, tight knit college circle that I had yet to become acquainted with this young lady. The friends that we had in common were people that I trusted and admired; so naturally we were supposed to be friends too, right? Needless to say, she was going to be my new friend whether she liked it or not, and she didn't have a choice in the matter. Little did I know that our interaction with one another would extend beyond a casual lunch date or two.
It's a magical thing when friends can come together and share more than just laughs. When I met my friend Adeea, I had no idea of what things were lying beyond the surface of her outward persona. As we got to know each other, I started to learn more about her and all the things that she was passionate about. Her online personality the Trendy Socialite was beginning to take off at the time. She spent a lot of time engaging on social media Tweeting, Vlogging, and Uploading content to a ton of different platforms. She shared fashion and beauty tips, and gave people an inside view of her life as an event planner. It was almost like watching your very own reality show play out right before your eyes.
Fast forward a couple of years later, and the Trendy Socialite brand has skyrocketed out of control. Her success with branding and event planning has sparked a following who are now signing up to gain a little bit of her expertise. This summer, she launched the iGrind Boot Camp Webinar Series, which covers topics including event planning, sponsorships, marketing, and networking. The webinars are chock full of great info that is interchangeable amongst a variety of different industries. These webinars are affordable and make it easy for budding entrepreneurs to get a leg up on their competition. Rogers also offers introductory business consultations, and extended coaching programs.
In a world where we are all running around at top speed, it is very easy to miss the cues that jump out at you and beg for you to pay attention. Fortunately my brain told me to take a minute to get to know this woman whom the internet knows as the Trendy Socialite. Establishing a relationship with her has helped me to further my own brand and has given me the confidence to branch out and try new things. I sat back and watched as Adeea single handedly created a large international web community dedicated to sharing ideas, techniques, and stories about women with natural hair. A simple idea to gather people within her own circle quickly grew into an international phenomenon that had people seeing her online and saying "Hey, I know her!". Her diligence to expanding her brand is a now classic example of how necessary it is to tap into your own power and make it work for you on YOUR terms. Her quest to share the things she loved was not defined by the textbook constructs of how to establish a business. Watching the process first hand has definitely motivated me to do so myself.
Because I've had a Bird's Eye View of the branding of the Trendy Socialite, I understand that the branding process does not always go the way you envisioned. I also understand the importance of a solopreneur being able to reach out to others for additional support when necessary. No great leader has achieved monumental success on their own. Your friends, family members, and even strangers you meet on the web will sometimes be your greatest business asset. In my case, my greatest business asset is indeed my diverse network of supporters. We pride ourselves on participating in a healthy exchange of ideas, and motivate one another to bring out our unique individual qualities. Together we form a successful bond that propels us into a larger measure of success. We understand the importance of personality differences, and the blending of industry specific knowledge. If you survey the members of my inner circle one year from now, I guarantee you that you will see different measures of success, and perhaps different views on business branding than you saw the year before. Your network should never be something that is just for show. Choose to engage with people who have mutually beneficial relationships. Your interaction with your circle can range from establishing businesses together to simply lending an ear to relieve stress. Whatever the nature of the relationship, utilize it as often as possible. Your infantile entrepreneur self will thank you for it in the future.