Networking as a Lifestyle

It’s not about what you know, but who you know.”

Let that ring in your head for a while. The world is connected and no matter how much technology improves, your ability to connect with people will make or break you.

network event, los angeles, marketing professionals, selling yourself, business attire, young professional

I used to think networking was something I needed to do for my business (which I do), but only until I built a certain level of client base then I could give it a rest (boy was I wrong).

When things really started to click for me is when I adopted the belief that networking is a lifestyle, not a goal.

It’s the same approach I take towards my health. Diets don’t work. It comes down to nutrition and fitness. What you eat and how often you exercise. I only eat sugar 2 -3 times a week and workout 5 times a week. That’s something I continue to do without an end date in mind.

My goal in networking, or “connecting,” (which I believe is a better term) is to meet with/or talk to at least 2 (preferably new) people a week. If I can grab coffee locally, that’s my preference. If not, phone or Skype will do. Over time that means I talked with 100+ people per year. I also track when and how I communicate with people, by date & form (meet, phone, email, etc.). Fortunately one of my strengths is remembering where our conversation ended, but I admit I cheat with LinkedIn most of the time.

My hope isn’t for you to be impressed with my story. What I do hope you get out of this post is how important it is to connect with others regularly. Whether you work a corporate 9 – 5 or have your own business, this is one of the 3 skills you need to succeed in life.

Figure out what system works for you by trial and error. Once you figure that out, use it daily. You and I need others to thrive. (We’re also social beings by nature, so the interaction doesn’t hurt either.) Nothing great was ever accomplished alone. Therefore: network or die.

See Jane Hustle

I met Jane through a network event I used to run called Career Synergy. She came with some friends and immediately showed an interest in getting her business started. At the time she was getting her photography business off the ground and we asked her to take some pictures of our family. We were very impressed with the quality of work she did and we referred her to our friends. Since then we’ve kept in contact and it’s been neat to see Jane grow. She has a sweet personality plus add that with her ambition and hard work and I know she’ll go far.

jane sha, career synergy, kw larchmont, janeshaphotography, northrup, mandarin, cantonese, young professional

1) I know you’re doing a couple of things career-wise currently, so what sparks your entrepreneurial spirit?

My entrepreneurial spirit comes from just wanting to work for myself. I feel that there is more fulfillment in knowing that all the hours I spend envisioning, creating, marketing, and producing are well worth my time because I can work as hard as I want to in order to take ownership and achieve my own goals. For me, my passion is in real estate and photography. My motivation comes from knowing that if there is no “ceiling”, I work as hard as I can to produce the outcome that I want — I am in control of that.

2) What’s been the biggest challenge marketing yourself & getting your name out there?

My work is very much referral based so the more clients that are happy with working with me, the more clients I will get referred to. The biggest challenge in marketing is branding and setting yourself apart from the competition. I always try to think what can I do to make myself stand out. Branding and having a good reputation is important and definitely takes time to establish.

3) Sounds like you have a LOT on your plate, what do you do to keep yourself from going crazy? 

I enjoy having a lot to do — I’m driven by a busy schedule. Sometimes when I don’t have a full schedule, I feel like a piece is missing and I need to go out and do something. Don’t get me wrong, I do have those days where I feel completely overwhelmed and need stay back to reboot. What I find most helpful is to have a schedule with a to-do list. I like to write out all the things I need to accomplish in a specific day and as I complete them, check them off. I feel accomplished and productive when I see my list of to-do’s dwindling. What also keeps me going is that I love what I do so it does not feel like I’m working. Every client is different and working with them adds a new chapter in my book.

4) What skill has helped you the most as an entrepreneur?

For me, the ability to be flexible and level-headed is key as an entrepreneur. Nothing ever goes according to plan. Well maybe that’s an exaggeration, but most of the time since I’m dealing with clients, there are many variables that can affect the outcome. Not everyone will end up signing with me and that can be due to reasons out of my control. I can’t let that get to me and need to move on.

5) What’s one piece of advice you want to give to fellow entrepreneurs?

Everyone knows starting your own business is not easy. You may not see the results you want in a day, week, or even a year. You just have to keep your head held high, knock away all negativity and continue on. Every day is a new day and you can make great things happen, I guarantee it. You’ll have to write down goals and have someone keep you accountable so you stay on track. It sounds cliche but you need to believe in yourself. Surround yourself with good people that believe in and support you.

Jane graduated from UCLA with a degree in Economics. She is currently a realtor at Keller Williams Larchmont, and works closely with her team with over 15 years of experience. Her passion for real estate comes from wanting to help others find a comfortable residence where they can call “home”. She is driven to service her clients by making sure they get her utmost attention and care. Jane speaks both Cantonese and Mandarin, and is heavily involved with the Asian community. Jane is also a passionate portrait photographer, specializing in engagement, wedding, and baby photography. Her portfolio is at www.janeshaphotography.com