I know, I know, it has been TOO long, since I last talked about the Networking Challenge!
This is about to change. Today’s post is all about Networking and updating you on what has been happening with my latest Personal Development Goal!
And it took me a while to write this post this week as well, my apologies for this! I hope you find this lengthy post worthwhile!
Are you ready for some lessons learned on my networking experiences?
This Tuesday, we have had our third meetup with the new group of founders, entrepreneurs, freelancer and wanna-be entrepreneurs. This was the Meetup Group I initiated back in Spring.
I have to say it was the best meetup we have had (so far).
I will tell you in a little bit.
First, in case you have missed the previous posts on my Networking Challenge in 2013, please check out especially the first article on this topic: My Personal Development Goal Put Into Action.
Inside you will find why I got on this mission on the first place and what I hope to get out of fit and share with you guys.
Update on my Personal Development Goal
What has happened during the last two months?
First, let us quickly review the „challenges“ I face for this particular goal:
Here are these challenges in a bit more clarity:
- Start a local networking group with regular meet-ups
- Find a mentor (through existing or new contacts)
- Start or join a mastermind group
- Join & participate at existing networks
- Attend conferences & fairs
- “Cold calls” to projects’ contributors
Side note: I have highlighted the challenges in different colors according to the status, so it looks a bit shiny in this post! (Red: not started, Yellow: Preparing, Green: Started/Ongoing).
So, what is the status of each of them? Let’s get into the details.
1. Start a local networking group with regular meet-ups
This particular action item is referring to the Networking Group I have launched on Meetup.
I’d say it is going very well!
How do I know this? The feedback from the participants has been great! “Inspirational”, one of them said 🙂
The most recent gathering happened this last Tuesday in one of the big parks in Duesseldorf with 15-16 participants coming from all over the world. Very few of them I had met previously, the rest was brand new faces. Great to make those connections, get to know that their hurdles are not much different then mine and to see how those guys exchange among each other!
In total the group has now grown to 59 people, so, as the next event for September is already scheduled, I hope we enable more connections and exchange of inspiring ideas like it was the case last time.
As the group is growing, I have also been teaming up with a lady from Russia who has been living in the region for the last ten years and we are organizing and hosting this group together now, which is great stuff!
2. Find a mentor (through existing or new contacts)
I have to admit, I have taken no explicit action to find a local mentor right now, as I find it rather difficult to make a mentor appear like a bunny jumping out of a hat.
Instead, I have been following the advice from many other people, which is to connect at least electronically with my heroes and great subject matter experts whom I hope to meet one day. And in the meanwhile I learn a lot from them just by reading their work and listening to their interviews etc.
Some experienced folks on this list: James Altucher, Seth Godin, Guy Kawasaki, Stephen King.
In addition I have also started to gather more advice from people in my existing network. Great on-the-spot advice which helps me exactly when I need it.
I will see where the next steps take me, not fully sure yet.
3. Start or join a mastermind group
There are some people who hesitate, others who form a mastermind group without really knowing everyone and then there are those who just happen to be at the right place at the right time to form a mastermind group. I happen to be part of the first group, I hesitate, I want things to be perfect.
So, in order to tackle my own hurdles, I have set myself as an objective for September and October to make this mastermind group topic real! I think things do not need to be too complicated and you can only benefit from it once you start.
4. Join & participate at existing networks
As I shared with you previously, I believe in terms of growing business and personal contacts in the right direction, nothing can replace local networking events. This is part of the reason why I launched the Entrepreneurs Exchange Group.
While we do not need to reinvent the wheel, participating at events from local organizers on topics which make sense to you is a great way to connect.
I have been participating at a few these last two months, but due to the summer break, there are more already scheduled in the calendar for autumn.
5. Attend conferences & fairs
So far, I have not attended any conferences and fairs this year. For time and money reasons, really.
If you also count large webinars, I could say ‘yes’, but this is not the same. We are talking physical conferences and event fairs here.
In autumn, I have planned to attend three conferences which are on the topic of entrepreneurship as well as Human Resources and Marketing. I have been to two of those in the previous years, and I really look forward to making new connections!
And believe me, I am not going there to collect business cards, that is not my primary objective. I want to meet people I can learn from and be helpful to.
Actually to prepare for this, I will use Tim Grahl’s method (the guy who is doing the book launches for Dan Pink and the Heath Brothers), which he shared in an interview with Srinivas Rao at BLOGCAST FM (Thank you, Srini for this interview!). Go, check it out – if you want to make the most of your time at a conference!
I do not know how it will turn out, but I give it a try!
6. “Cold calls” to projects’ contributors
Since I have updated you last on this, I invested a significant amount of time each week to interview experts on the topic of recruiting for the book I am currently writing for German startups and young enterprises (more on this experience later).
Some of those people I have cold called, others I have written a very short email to and up to now (keep fingers crossed!) the response rate of those business leaders has been very positive!
So, things are looking good and as long as you ask for a reasonable favor and give something in return, people tend to be quite open to help. You just have to be brave to ask and accept a ‘No’. Still a better chance than not having asked at all.
I have asked this before, but:
Do You Want To Join?
If you are eager to, you still can! Maybe you have a similar ‘networking goal’ for the remainder of 2013 ? Maybe you would like to join a mastermind group?
In any case, you are more than welcome to join the challenge, just write me a note in the comment section below. I would be happy to have you on board!
If I have not convinced you far enough to build your network in various directions, go read this article on FastCompany and come back afterwards! What do you think of all this? Worthwhile to join? See you in the comments below!