October marks my very first year of networking and being an inHouston member!
When I first came to this site, I had no idea what my future held. It was scarey, intimidating and the unexpected all wrapped up in one ball. In my industry you tend to stay wrapped up in your shell, do old school advertising and hope for the best! As the economy changed forcing my business to go down hill, I knew in my heart there was something else out there. I have a God Given talent, but still not doing well on the business side. I saw the Uptown mixer invite, RSVP'ed and decided to find out what all the fuss was about!
The second Wednesday came, I was so excited, I started out on Hwy 6 a few minutes later I had a flat tire....OMG! Is this an Omen or what? Got it fixed at the tire store, began on my expedition of networking! Finally made it! As I was entering the door, I looked down and I have a tiny run in my pantyhose, I thought oh no; another Omen, should I continue to enter or leave? This is ridiculous I thought, go ahead you made it this far.....hopefully no one will notice.
I got my cards out went to a few people, introduced myself, exchanged cards. I was so nervous... I saw ERIC the one that started this whole thing, moseyed on over to introduce myself to him. I was shocked, he was very down to earth; asked me what I did and what was my urgent need. My eyes popped out not knowing what he meant. He refrased the question; I then told him I am in need of corporate accounts for repetivitive business. He took my card then proceded to the next person in line. My thoughts were that was easy, now what?
On my way home I had many thoughts of how the money was going to roll in, what sales I was going to have on Thursday from the business cards I past out. This is a good thing, I needed to go to more of these mixers to pass more cards out for even more business sales. Very selfish of me to think these thoughts, but as I learn months later, everyone new coming into networking mixers has these same thoughts.
The next day I had recieved many invites to meet for coffee. I am thinking what is this all about? Still not understanding or knowing what networking is. I finally accepted an invite, I now call my networking mentor Vincent. We met at Panera Bread, I had questions galore! He filled me in on everything, how to introduce myself then ask how can I help. I asked him, so how do I get more sales, etc.? He explained to me when getting to know that persons business and them knowing yours will build a relationship of trust. When someone you come across rather family or friends that need their services, you refer them. I'm thinking ......okay........ Is this all there is to it? Doesn't really sound to encouraging here, my business is still going down. How long will this take?
A couple months later, I start to read everything ERIC (Big Poopah) has added to the site. All the stuff on the left side of the homepage, the right side, forums, etc. I am still trying to grasp what networking is all about, I come across several others at mixers, going to smaller meetups within the site, consuming anything and everything they say about what networking is.
I started writing a few blogs here and there, requesting friends, but still nothing..... I then emailed ERIC and asked what is "Pay it Forward"? He emails me back the short film. Oh my goodness! I get it!
I regrouped my train of thinking of how all this networking is suppose to be. Still learning to this day.
My networking consists of welcoming all new members, make them have a wonderful feeling of joining the unknown world of networking, read their profiles, get a feel of who and what they do, so if by chance I meet them at a future mixer, I will have some idea of how to help them.
I thought of trying to build more relationships, wanting to learn more, build mine and others inHouston network up by organizing a free mixer on the west side, yes it is way out there but hopefully it was worth the travel to learn from the different speakers on networking as well as connecting people by the table connects and building solid relationships.
It seems to work for me, it's small but I am growing my network and it is saving me lots of wasted advertising funds!
It has been a fantastic year for me to learn and grow in this world of networking, I have made so many friends and business relationships.
I wanted to personally thank ERIC STANDLEE for making inHouston possible and sharing with me the "Pay it Forward" clip for me to learn and grow in the networking world.
Happy 1st Anniversay to #512 inHouston member!