Illustration Credit Joanna Pop

Why I Love Networking and How It’s Important

I began networking as soon as I launched Joanna Pop in 2013. I do not think I even thought of the word itself — but that was precisely what I was doing. I knew that I was not an island. I loved what I did and wanted to build a brand doing so. There was a plan set in place and I was going to show my portfolio to as many people as possible.

I started my website, a Facebook page and eventually an Instagram. Joanna Pop had an internet presence, now it was time to get the brand out there!

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Why I Love It

Being genuine is really important. I like not having anything to hide. A lot of networking fell into place very naturally. I put myself out there and when people responded,  many times it turned into a friendship. It’s important to not be sneaky and to be honest about what you are looking for.

As an entrepreneur I am sure it’s easy to get lost in your own head space but you really can’t. Caring about, noticing and celebrating the achievements of those around you is really important. Being as many other entrepreneurs now days are in the same boat; using social media platforms and good old fashioned word of mouth  — it only makes sense to help one another out so that we all succeed and keep doing so together. When someone I know does great work I will share links that they post. I get so thrilled at the thought that in a few simple clicks I could be sending more business their way!

Once you build a solid network of close-knit entrepreneurs you begin to see that as much as you send someone their way, they might just possibly return the favour! It is so extremely exciting watching one another succeed. This is why I love networking.

How It’s Important

Nothing speaks louder than a referral; whether it be online or in person. When you have people that believe in you and share what you do it says volumes about your brand. I cannot count how many times I have received more work simply because someone loved it and fully endorsed it with their words, a link, or Instagram post about it. On a personal note, I think it also “spices” up your content when people can view the products or services of other talented individuals on your platform. I am a strong believer in variety.

Maybe you feel lost on exactly how to connect? To make it simple, I composed a small list!

  1. Networking should never feel “forced” even if it is slightly out of your comfort zone
  2. Think a lot about what you can do to help others vs. only focusing on how someone can help you
  3. Be professional, but be real. It’s your brand and you are a reflection of it.
  4. Reach out to people with businesses that are related to what you are doing (eg. if you are a florist, you probably wouldn’t professionally connect with a heavy-metal band, unless that was the vibe you were going for!)
  5. Realize when someone might be taking advantage of you (these are not good networking friends, or friends in general)

Lately I have been paying it forward at the drive thru whenever I go to order a hot drink in the morning. I suppose the same can go with other business owners. Do something for another hard working individual to make their day, simply because you know how great it feels when you are on the receiving end. Metaphorically speaking, be the one to buy their coffee when they least expect it. Maybe it will catch on?


 

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