Online networking is how I started my business. For the first few years, I connected with clients by pitching constantly and responding to a few job listings from the comfort of home. Venturing out to live events and conferences is when the game changed for me. My business started growing rapidly with the support of a community.
Last week, I returned from FinCon which is a conference for bloggers, podcasters and other influencers in the financial space. Walking away with a stack of business cards was a reminder of how powerful networking in person can be for a business.
Face time solidifies a relationship
Relationships I had with peers online grew exponentially when I met them in person. Being friends with other business owners has been huge for my business. We bounce ideas off of each other and they give me business advice when I need it. Business peers are also a source of support and motivation because they “get me.” I haven’t had to cold pitch for work in years because I’ve gotten referrals from business friends.
Meeting someone new in-person can quickly build trust
Think about it -- When communicating with someone online it may take weeks or months of back and forth to form a relationship. You could talk a little bit on social media to get familiar with a brand before you feel comfortable pitching. Meeting in person can move the relationship forward much faster. I met a few brands last week that want to work with me after we talked a little bit about what I do and how it fits into what they do.
Live events can do wonders for your confidence
I’m an introvert. Meeting new people has never been my forte so I was excited to work full-time from home. However, networking in person is something I’ve discovered I need to do often to get my creative juices flowing. Working at home all day with minimal interaction can be isolating and even depressing.
Going to live events, meeting new people and even speaking at a conference is invigorating. It can give you new ideas and renewed confidence in yourself and your business. Step out of your comfort zone. I was terrified to go to my first meet up. But it was at the first meet up that I met one of my very best business friends. If I let fear get the best of me, I would have missed out on a relationship I truly value.
We have the world at our fingertips so you can meet plenty of people online. However, I believe that human interaction is still valuable. In person, you can build trust and you can solidify the relationships you’ve already started online. Creatives can tend to be introverted. Working from home means you could have few reasons to get dressed and venture into the real world. Live events and conferences can strengthen your networking skills and land you new opportunities.
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