Why you need a network?
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If there was anything we wished we knew 20 years ago, it would be the power of networking. Networks come in all different forms and under different names, but have similar purposes. The strength of your network can either improve or lower you quality of life. They allow you to work smarter rather than harder to accomplish your goals. No one can accomplish everything all alone, and even if you could, why would you? If you are serious about bulding your wealth or career, you need to find a tribe/community that you can use as a network.
There are many reasons why you should start networking, but these are the 3 we feel are the most important:
- Access to information/opportunities
- Levels the playing field
- Saves you time and money
Access to information/opportunities
Based on our experience, the first in the know about openings are company insiders, not the public. Many of the positions available are not posted to job sites until the recommendations made through in house networks have been exhausted. Therefore, it shouldn’t be all that surprising that the majority of the jobs we had, were through networking.
Additionally, many businesses rely on networks to survive and grow. How many times have you heard someone asking for a recommendation when they needed help with an issue? Small companies can’t afford to advertise everywhere so they rely on networks to help get new clients and secure contracts. We only recommend companies we trust and those that do quality work.
Have you ever wondered why one school can charge more than another school? One reason is because of the network the school can offer it’s students. Top schools often emphasize their alumni as a selling point to show the power and reach of their network.
We attended very expensive schools, but the information we learned was not that much different from any other higher learning institution. Many of the skills you acquire in college can be self taught. The biggest benefit from our university was the networks it helped establish.
Not to mention, the power of networking is one of the reasons sororities/fraternities are still able to recruit. These groups offer a closed network with strong bonds which leads their members to want to help each other to succeed.
Levels the playing field
Even if you weren’t fortunate enough to be born wealthy and with massive connections, you still have the ability to network. You may not be able to choose the family or circumstance you were born in, but you can choose who you will be and what you will do in life. Building a strong network is a way to overcome the challenges faced entering areas you never had exposure to or you don’t know anyone you can turn to for advice.
Saves you time and money
You most likely know that one of us went to business school and the other did not. But guess what, the one that didn’t go to business school ended up making more money. How? Through networking. On top of that, she didn’t have to repay school debt! We are exactly the same age with similar experiences, but one of us was able to use networking as a way to advance quicker.
Networking can also save you time on research by cutting through the noise and marketing that might distract you. For example, we were both able to find quality daycare and schools for our children by leveraging our networks. We’ve also used our networks to get all of our doctors and just to avoid going to places where we might have a bad experience.
If you are looking to move to another city or trying to maximize your trips, a network could definitely come in handy. Many people in our network know that we are avid travelers. We are frequently asked if we have any friends in international cities or if we could recommend places to stay and eat. What a way to make this big wide world smaller!
Networking is a great way to live out the idea that 2 heads are better than one. Use your network for something as simple as what to make for dinner. Heck, use the HIVEMIND to identify the song that’s stuck in your head, but you just can’t figure out the name.
How do you find a network?
So now that you agree that networking has it’s benefits, you might be wondering how do you actually get started?
One of the easiest ways to start networking is to capitalize off of your hobbies. Everyone has something they really like to do and guess what, there are other people that share your passions. Whether it’s going to the gym or knitting, you can connect in a meaniful fun way. Start to build a nice network through your passions that can help you out in different areas of your life. Trufully, you would be amazed at the diverse background of knitters!
A commute where you often see the same person is a great way to start building a networking relationship. 8 out of 10 times it is ok to speak to the person that is sitting next to you. We are not saying to stalk them, but it’s alright to ask some questions and also tell them things about yourself.
We know starting conversations are easier for extroverts, but that doesn’t mean introverts can’t be good at networking. If you are introverted, attach yourself to an extrovert. Go meet people with them and use them to provide an introduction.
You can also use social media to start networking. Join a FB group. Some groups such as the Nomadness Tribe are so strong and helpful that it’s members meet up in different countries. They pride themselves on making sure you see a friendly face while traveling abroad.
Another way to begin networking is to attend conferences. We recently went to FINCON it was really something special. We were able to establish relationships with some really nice people that shared the same goals.
How do you network when you find your people?
It depends on the type of network. If it’s a person you are meeting from a shared hobby or FB group, just be yourself. If it’s a more formal networking group, have an elevator pitch ready.
An elevator pitch is a quick summary about you and what you do. It shouldn’t take longer than an elevator ride to explain it to whoever is listening. It’s great to have one prepared so that when an opportunity to network comes up, you don’t have to scramble for words.
The best time to build your network is when you aren’t in immediate need of them. No one really appreciates it when you get in touch only in times of need. If you establish a relationship when you are not in need, the person you are networking with will lower their barrier want to get to know you a little more. You also need them to know what makes you special, because it helps them remember you in the future.
When the time comes to use your network, you should just be honest and tell them what you need. If you are genuine and considerate, people will most likely try to help you.
Remember to keep in mind that networking is a relationship and should benefit both parties. You must give and not just take. In order to give, you must actively learn new skills and establish more diverse contacts. That way you will become a valuable contact and be able to help someone else in the future.
Take it from us, make networking a priority. It will help in both your professional and personal life. The sooner you start and the more often you do it, the better you’ll be. It’s an investment anyone can make in their future, because it only requires time and effort, not money.
Nadia is a Financial Independence Coach from New York City. She holds a B.A from Columbia University and worked 13+ years in Investment Banking and Financial Services. She is an entrepreneur, investor, and partner at Wealth Twins LLC. She reached Financial Independence in her 30’s and is passionate about showing others how to achieve the same.