Friendships and Networking


Networking – that big scary word that comes up in any career that requires socializing. Although, if we think about it, networking is a pretty big part of every career now. Writers, artists, bloggers, doctors, lawyers, nurses, politicians, salesmen/women; everyone networks. Even if it’s just among immediate colleagues (although I would bet if we sat down and thought about it for a minute, that web extends well past our coworkers.) Still, it seems… daunting. And I suppose it is?

There’s the beginning question of where to draw the line with this ‘networking relationship’, do you draw a line? Do you even bother making a line, or does that inherently hinder the progress of the relationship? How do you approach an individual with the desire to network, to form this symbiotic co-existence on a professional level to assist, motivate, inspire, “promote” etc. each other? Is there an etiquette for that? Or do we just approach them like a potential friend, and move into the “hey be a business contact with me”? Does it depend on the situation? The person? How do you avoid coming off as disingenuous?

So many questions. So overwhelming, and if you’re anything like me, poor reader, and find comfort and confidence in social etiquette… it’s almost too much. Like treading water in a tempest in the middle of the Baltic Sea. Sayonara sanity? Yeah, that’s how it has felt. Overwhelming to the point of anxiety and frustration.

Still, it didn’t occur to me to actually Google networking until a few days ago. Mostly, I think, because I – like many others – assumed I knew how one networks. Maybe not the proper social parameters to approach an individual through… but I thought I knew. In a general sense, I did. However, I was thinking on much too large of a scale. Much too broadly. Big leaps rather than small steps.

I also sat through a livestream of the Buffini Success Tour yesterday afternoon, and listened to Darren Hardy speak. Brilliant. Brilliant speaker. Just, some of the things I learned in that hour and a half, some of the reinforcement, the reminders; they settled a lot of those worries (not entirely, I’m a neurotic wreck and nothing will entirely silence that.) But it helped. It gave me a point of reference to start, at least, looking for answers. How to form questions.

In another sense, this blog will (has already) helped solidify a few of those more ambiguous questions.

So last night, motivated by this speaker and having a more solid idea for taking action, I googled networking (-gasp-). What I immediately found was this glorious little article that broke networking down  into 8 steps.

Read It Here.

Start small, and build out. Common sense, right? Well, honestly, in the mad scramble of ‘get business’, ‘meet people’, ‘make money’, ‘learn’, ‘be successful’, etc. etc. etc. That sort of gets lost. You want to cast the net as broadly as possible, gather in those gems as quickly as possible, and like a gold miner, sift it through water. Timely. Tedious. Daunting. And not as likely to be successful as targeting specific individuals, connecting with them. Offering an exchange of knowledge, of professional companionship, of assistance and/or work; and building a few, firmly rooted contacts with people who will be important to your success. Whose success you can hopefully play an important role in; give and take.

Buffini said one should go into a relationship with the expectation of giving 100% and receiving nothing, because that is the only way you’re going to gain. To cultivate a relationship rather than looking to use someone to progress yourself.

Not even a revelation, but putting it down like that… it makes it less frightening, this beast they call networking.

So I made a list of friends, people I already have good relationships with, or who I know but lost touch with and travel different social circles than me. I figured, that increased my chances of meeting new people I don’t already know. I made another list of people I don’t know quite as well, but who I enjoyed talking to before and hope to sort of… solidify a relationship. Then I copied down a few people I don’t know very well, but who I respect and would be excited, honored  – a gushing mess, really, – to work with. People I want to learn from but also, I suppose, become a peer to.

So friends are a good place to start building. Your GP, people you see regularly all the time. Begin with them… express a desire to be contacts, to promote each others business.


I think that is the most ridiculously shocking thing I’ve learned (but haven’t put properly into practice yet as i should be doing.) ASK FOR BUSINESS. It is not rude. It is not bad. One would consider, in hindsight, it’s an obvious thing to do? But something that, again, hadn’t occurred to me.




Another Morning Begins at Night

9:43 PM to be specific, and I really have no aim or purpose for this blog. I’ve read that is always a good place to start, with a topic. I have one of those ‘topic focused’ blogs, and I find my motivation for it waning (in the capricious way all sleep deprived ideas put into action at 4 AM have a tendency to do.) In any event, all of this is just really self-indulgent “stream of thought typed out into words”, journalistic sort of unloading of the swirling thoughts and shit I need to learn, do, acclimatize to…

And a small bit of hope that by veritably word-vomiting it out in a forum which may provide some form of entertainment or amusing insight for others, will help settle the thoughts. Provide clarity. An “It’s all out in words now, so let’s focus” type of situation.

Emotional dumping in nonsensical tangents, I suppose, as life affords us so few chances to do that without exposing ourselves unnecessarily to ridicule. Or the potential of ridicule. Funny how that happens. That people applaud the poignancy of emotion displayed in a book or on a screen, but deride it in their peers.

Anyway, to begin one such dump. I have been learning – so much, not too much, never too much – about networking, building a business; about success. Really, check out Darren Hardy, brilliant, brilliant man. However, it all feels a bit overwhelming honestly… how to network, who to network with, when to network; reaching out for referrals, for leads, for work, for training, but still need to make money. All this wanting hunger, it’s exciting to want things again. To aspire to great things. Even more so, to learn how to get there rather than just wanting to.

Still, I started real estate two months ago. It seems almost daunting to begin laying the groundwork for a local network and I’m honestly not sure how to even begin. I mean I do know, in theory, but most of that theory requires knowing people… and for the last five years I was terribly alienated from the people in my community. To the point that, outside of a scant few, I know hardly anyone. Now it comes down to how to use those few to expand the network… and how to do so in a way that doesn’t sound like I’m asking for handouts (because people still consider networking manipulative, even in the 21st century, idiotic as that sounds.) From there, converting that networking and “hey you” into leads. Into people who can/could bring in business

Videos, mail-outs and cards sound so much easier than trying to face-to-face meet. All hail the internet (and LinkedIn) for small mercies.

I’ve learned in this time that, while Facebook is sworn upon, it is not precisely ideal for business. Mostly, I would assume, for the sheer daunting amount of informality and uncouth displays of TMI.

Social media was, in many ways, I think, the slow-death of discretion.

One one side, real estate. On the other acting. I am new to both, but I can also see… how well they could play together. The overlap of learning one, and using that learning to benefit the other. Yet still, the sheer volume of information I’ve crammed into my skull since November is almost… disorienting. It needs an out, and I need a way to vent it out in the discombobulated mess it has become, so that it can be neatly ordered. Into files, into shelves.

Into a cohesive, foundation of a plan. and more determinate, precise actions to fulfill that plan.

That all sounds so clandestine, and maybe it is, maybe I should just really go to bed and give my grey-matter the rest it obviously desires. Rather than pushing through that haze of heavy-lidded-almost-sleep to finish this up and snicker at myself over a snack of strawberries.

I think I’ve run out of words anyway… for now?

~ Jess