Networking isn’t something I thought I would be talking about! Meeting new people and talking about what I do, listening to what they do, standing up in front of a group of people and explaining who I am, what I do and why I do it … it’s just not me … or is it?
Since making my career change I’ve needed to step out of my comfort zone. The safety net of running a company from the office or dealing face to face with regular customers and staff was left in the past and it has become all about me! Me, my business, my reputation, my skill, my services and my responsibility to get my name out there, letting everyone know what I do and why I do it!
Cue – Hampshire Women’s Business Group on Facebook. A group of women based all over Hampshire, with a common goal of developing their businesses. Over 2300 members who are there to look for guidance, look for services, make connections, offer support, offer services and generally be part of a fabulous community of like-minded women! The group is hosted and run by the lovely Trudy Simmons of The Crazy Daisy Clarity Club and she helps women Entrepreneurs establish ‘what they want to do, why they want to do it and how to get it done with Clarity, Direction and Focus‘. The workshops hosted by this club are totally invaluable and have already helped me with my website, google presence and social media!
I joined the group as someone added me and I guess an online networking group to me was a ‘safe’ place to be! Making online connections and introducing myself in the group on Facebook was great and I can highly recommend being a member of the group!! I decided I needed to attend one of the networking events that Trudy was hosting however my anxiety of stepping out of my comfort zone was holding me back. I contacted Trudy and she immediately put me at ease and said to come along and she’d help me so I booked onto the next event being held in Whichurch. Pulling up in the car park and then anxiously walking towards the venue holding onto my note book and business cards I wasn’t sure what it would be like! I walked in to be greeted with a hug and the offer of tea and cake (and a quiet word in my ear to let me know I’d arrived with lipstick on my teeth!! haha! Quite ironic given I’m there to introduce myself as a Makeup Artist!).
Nerves did kick in a little, especially when it was time for me to stand and answer the ‘who am I, what do I do, why do I do it and what are my plans over the summer‘. Looking back, I honestly had nothing to worry about! The group was lovely and were super engaging asking questions and offering suggestions of things I hadn’t necessarily thought of before which was great. I came away with a real sense of achievement that I’d stepped out of my comfort zone, controlled my anxiety and also geared up with a sense of direction of what to do next! I’ve since attended another two of these events, more recently in Winchester which brought up another set of nerves to stand in front of just shy of 30 people to introduce myself but again, I did it and felt better for it!
So…networking…is it for me? In short, yes. To add to that however I believe it is thanks to the type of group that I have become a member of. A supportive network of women with the same outlook and the same drive to succeed in their businesses but the way in which they go about it is friendly and encouraging. Since joining the group, I have also started making business connections with Photographers, Stylists and their clients that have lead to work and upcoming exciting projects. Meeting up for coffee and making new friends is another lovely side to the group!
Even more excitement … hmmm, perhaps I’ll save that for the next post but it’s again something I never thought I would be talking about!! Watch this space!