As someone who helps small businesses design their websites on Squarespace or Weebly, prospective clients need an initial level of trust to take the first step of contacting me. Word-of-mouth referrals have been my best source of new clients so far, so I've been nudging the connecting process forward by trying some new activities lately.
I've been spending more time on LinkedIn, sending invitations to potential connections with whom I share mutual connections. And I've just added my name to Alignable, a networking platform that helps business owners who are close to each another geographically get to know one another online and in person.
As a confirmed introvert, I've tended to favor online networking strategies rather than in-person networking events. So that's why it was a stretch to accept an invitation from life coach Clare Harlow to go to a local Women's Business Networking meeting last night. I was as nervous as a teenager going to a school dance for the first time. Isn't it maddening that reaching the gray-hair stage doesn't automatically result in calm confidence?
I ended up having a good time and made a connection with a potential client. The speaker was funny and interesting as she shared her authentic, down-to-earth stories of her business journey. The women I met were all very nice, representing a wide variety of businesses, from alpaca farms and healthy pet food manufacturers to construction and financial planning. I had a chance to distribute business cards to several people and was able to stand up for 30 seconds and talk about my business without too much stammering.
Reflecting this morning on the evening, I'm really glad I donned my courage cape and took the chance at trying something new. I'm glad to be back in my den this morning, but if I hadn't popped my head out to check the weather "out there," I would have missed out on learning and networking opportunities that I couldn't have had any other way.
What about you? Is it hard for you to pop your head out of your den?