Does the verb "networking" send chills down your spine? Does it make you feel kind of icky? Does it conjure up visions of business cards and awkward introductions? We've been there too and we don't like it much either.
Networking as a verb is defined as, "to cultivate people who can be helpful to one professionally." Ick. But, network the noun is defined as, "an association of individuals having a common interest, formed to provide mutual assistance." That's more like it. "Networking" feels like taking but a network is more about building. So, how does one build a network? The good news is you already have your foundation.
Focus on your family, friends, neighbors and past coworkers. That may already add it up to 20 or more people. The reason this foundation of your network is so integral is these are the people actually care about your success. There is some value in meetups and email introductions, but those folks are not invested at any near the intimacy of your friends and family.
"But, I have a job." Yes, so do most of us, but you can't just turn on and off your network when you need it. That's networking, and we don't want to end up there. Think of your network as a savings account. The more you invest over time, the more valuable it will be when you need it. Every time you connect someone over email or send a letter of recommendation you making a deposit in your network. And, when that day comes to change jobs, careers or start your own software company ;) you'll have a healthy and eager network to support you.
So skip the networking and invest in your network. And, kiss name tag switcheroo goodbye...whatever that is 🤣.
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