I’m a very unlikely networker
My qualifications, with respect to networking, are questionable at best. And that’s good news for you.
Four years ago I had no business contacts. The reason is simple—I had neither business background nor experience. I’d only been an employee. Utilizing the methods I will show you in this book, I’ve been able to start and grow my first business to a profitable level. And I’ve been able to meet a lot of new people, build rapport with them, do business with them, and get their help.
What is more, although you might not guess it now, I was a hardcore introvert three years ago. I couldn’t start a conversation with a stranger. It was beyond my capability.
So, if I could build a network of business contacts, I estimate your chances are much higher. Let’s take a look at how low my abilities were in the middle of 2012.
Four years ago…
I was a little frustrated about my life. Everything was OK—my health, my spiritual life, my finances, my career and family—but none of it was great. I had no vision for my life; I was just getting by each day. However, I was in the right mindset to try new things.
I read a book by Jeff Olson, The Slight Edge, and something clicked inside me. I decided to move on with my life.
I needed to focus on my finances more. Three years prior, I had been laid off from my job. My family had to dip deeply into our savings. I had a 30-year mortgage to pay and just a few thousand dollars of savings. I did some quick calculations and realized that my IT career was an insufficient vehicle to take me to financial freedom. I needed to start a business.
I had no idea where to start. The entirety of my business experience was a failed attempt at developing a multi-level marketing venture when I was seventeen years old and it wasn’t an encouraging memory.
I had no clue what to do. The most successful entrepreneur I knew was my uncle. His company had been running for about 20 years, but it wasn’t thriving. Two years previously he had needed to take a short-term bank loan to be able to pay his employees.
In brief, I didn’t feel I was qualified to start a brick-and-mortar business. I didn’t have the resources for that, either.
I started to look for online opportunities. It took me more than half a year to discover what I wanted to do. I wanted to earn my living through writing.
An uphill struggle
I had no experience or education in writing. I didn’t have an interesting background, idea, or story to tell. I wasn’t a celebrity who could sell my story to hundreds of thousands of my fans. I hadn’t done anything significant in my life. I hadn’t overcome big struggles or attained great successes I could brag about.
I didn’t know anyone who self-published their work, and English is not my first language. All in all, my starting level was “below zero.” I had nothing to offer. In 2012 my story could serve only as a warning sign: “Don’t do what this guy has done.” Until that moment in time, I had been wasting my life.
At the beginning of April 2013, I started writing my first book. In the next two and a half years, I published twelve books and sold over 17,000 copies. I attribute much of my success to networking skills. Many successful businessmen say that the core of a business is connections and interactions with people, rather than any business-specific skills or market acumen. I tend to agree with them.
It took seven or eight months before my networking efforts translated into significant monetary reward. But networking is not about monetary rewards; it’s about human-to-human connections. The money follows the growth of your network, but if you focus on making money and put it first, growing your network is an uphill struggle. Within the next couple of years I achieved some remarkable results: a rock star with two million followers featured my blog post on Twitter, I connected with online entrepreneurs who have five-, six- and seven-figure businesses, I exchanged emails and tweets with millionaires. I was even on the phone with one!
You probably wonder if I have a secret. Good news for you: there is no secret. There rarely is a “secret sauce” in any business realm. It’s quite easy to learn the “hows” of any business; it’s the personal implementation that gets tricky. But if you ask me the core of my networking success, I would say simply authenticity and tenacity. I didn’t have to do anything fancy to connect with other people. It was enough to just be me. I consistently followed some people over long periods of time and provided value to them. Those two traits are behind my successes, and anyone can apply them. You don’t need a book to tell you how to be yourself—you are the world’s expert on that!
I have learned some tips and tricks, however, that have improved my results, and that is what I’d like to share with you in this book. If you’re not genuine and persistent, these tricks won’t help you. But as long as you are being yourself and being consistent, these tips will help push you over the top.
Making Business Connections That Count is available on Amazon. It is heavily discounted for the launch period (till 18th of May 2016).