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Social Capital

Welcome to Social Capital, a weekly podcast where we dive into social relationships and how the investment you put into them establishes trust, reciprocity, and value within your network. Your host, Lori Highby, will connect with top business professionals to dive into their best techniques and stories to share with you!
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Now displaying: July, 2021
Jul 21, 2021

Meet Tom

Tom Andrews operates Andrews Media Ventures an independent PR communications consultancy based in Hartford, Wisconsin. Tom's background includes 35 years of major market broadcast news and public relations experience. Tom and his team have aligned professionals to help corporate and nonprofit clients raise their business and organizational profiles through services such as creative writing, PR console, media relations, spokesperson training, video production, voice talent, and special events support. 

Besides using conventional online, print, broadcast, advertising, what other ways might a business or nonprofit organization consider to help raise public awareness about their products or services?

Well, I'm not at all saying that conventional advertising and such are bad avenues to take. But in conjunction with that, I encourage my clients to think about earned media, grassroots type of methods of getting your message out. Earned media means coming up with angles that your company has that could be potentially newsworthy, and then pitching those to television, radio, print, whatever. Also, the advent of the digital world has given us social media. So there are opportunities now, as you never had before Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, all these different methods that people have to get their word out. Another thing that I encourage them to do is to consider what I call side door advertising. You have an opportunity to be a part of community events, sponsorships, opportunities to get where you're not necessarily the focus, but by the side door, people have to know who you are, they have to be ident you have to be identified. Same thing if your company is featured in a news story of some sort. Maybe the story is not how great Keystone click is, but maybe the story involves Keystone click and they tell people who you are. So there's a variety of different ways to get your message out. All in addition to if you have an advertising budget, all the better. But sometimes I've worked with companies and entities that really didn't have much of a budget to do that. Particularly nonprofits maybe don't have the money to do that. So I look for other avenues to get the word out, get creative.

As someone who came from the news business, how important is the use of video in telling my company story and doesn't have the impact it once did in the b2b world as well as reaching the general public?

I spent quite a bit of time with video, and I still do I still am involved in video production. So I'm getting my biases out there for you right away. I still think that video when it's done well, has a tremendous impact as much today if not more than ever, because companies used to produce a video, and it has basically one use, they produce it, it'd be a DVD, they'd get it out, send it to their prospective clients or people that they wanted to work with and that was the end of it. Well today, when we shoot videos, we shoot them for repurposing, we shoot them so you can take some sound clips, video clips, and you can put them on Twitter, you can put them on Facebook. So you've got golden opportunities to reuse, if you will, the same material and augmented and refresh it all the time. I think video has a tremendous impact because I think it's the best mode of conveying human emotions. We talk about doing things in person, or the big thing is why is it so effective? Because you get to see the facial expressions of the person you're speaking with. There are silent little signals that don't come over in an email, they don't come over in a post on Facebook, or some social media, but you sit down with somebody and you get to know them, and you get to understand where they're coming from and I think that's a very effective way to get your messages across.

When telling a company's or organization's story, can you address the importance of the people aspect in storytelling? 

That's the in-person thing I've just mentioned. When you’re storytelling, for example, I'll pick on the news business for a moment, okay? The stories that I always found got the best response and the longest shelf life, I still hear about them. I've been on television for many, many years, but people remember the people whose lives were affected, or changed for the better, or impacted by whatever the story happened to be. So we build our stories, you build stories around people because that's the factor that everybody that either tugs at the heartstrings, or it or you find yourself saying, "I had that happened to me, I understand what he or she is feeling."

Can you share with our listeners your most successful or favorite networking experience that you've had?

I will say right up front that I'm a very lucky person because of the career I had before thrust me into all kinds of situations where I had to meet new people. I had to learn about their business, I had to learn something about their family or something like that. What are you doing in networking? You're introducing yourself, you're trying to find out about somebody else's business, you're trying to figure out if you can interface with this person? So when I started out I was on the radio, I covered the Bucks, the Brewers, Marquette Warriors, the Green Bay Packers, the Wisconsin Badgers, all those things. And I was networking, all the while gathering my contacts, but the best location was always the press box because I got to reunite. To this day, I still do some scattered features for the brewery for game day magazine and I get to go and reconnect with people that I used to work with or who were coming into the business. But the thing about it is that kind of an atmosphere has given me all kinds of opportunities. For instance, from doing things with the Green Bay Packers I got to edit rather and do some writing and do the marketing for the first biography ever done on Curly Lambeau. It was called Lambeau, The Man Behind The Mystique. Later on, I was approached because of my junky hood from going back to baseball cards when I was five years old, and getting introduced to the Milwaukee Braves. Today I'm also one of the directors of the Milwaukee Braves Historical Association and because of that, I got sought out by a guy who has written a chain of sportsbooks. The book was for Milwaukee Braves fans only and because of that, I had to split it up in terms of writing. We had contacts with people who are still Milwaukee Braves fans today, catch up with them, and get them to tell us their stories. Their personal stories of I remember the first time I met Warren Spahn, or I got picked up by Warren Spahn when I was hitchhiking, or I remember bugging players in the parking lot outside county stadium. Those are just precious memories. So I got to kind of relive my childhood with that. 

How do you best stay in from of and nurture your network?

Well, I've always considered my network like a garden, if you will. You are planting constantly you're planting and hoping that they're going to bear fruit. But what do you got to do? When you start planting things, do you just wait? No! You have to water it, you have to weed it, you got to do all these things. Also, here's a key one. Keeping in contact with people not only when you're trying to figure out if you can do something together, but it’s also learning about your contacts, learning about their family. Mark that stuff down and the old days, we have what was called a Rolodex. You would write down this on this rotating little miniature file system that you kept at your desk. Nowadays its this is called, your database so you have update and nourish your database every chance you get. If you read about something where maybe somebody even if you're not working with them anymore, but you knew them before, and they just did something of significance, call them up, congratulate them, or send them an email. You would be amazed at the number of things that come swimming back to you in a very positive light. If you stand at the edge of the garden with your arms crossed and waiting, it does not happen. You have to push it.

Let's go back to your 20-year-old self. What would you tell yourself to do more or less of or differently with regards to your professional career?

Wow, that is a loaded question because hindsight is always 20-20, and boy, if I knew then what I knew now, I'm certain that my attitudes on all the number of things would be completely different than they were. I never considered myself to be a know it all, but I would always listen to myself when I was certain that I was correct. I always dug my heels in and that was not very flexible on certain things. Looking back I would be more flexible, I would be more open to seeing other ways of doing things even if I was certain. Listen, I've done this before, I'm lock stock and barrel certain that this is going to work. I've done it before, but maybe not as well as the idea that somebody else just came up here. So I think that's probably what I would tell myself, be a little bit more open, be more flexible, and always be a better listener.

Do you have any final words of advice to offer our listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network?

Always be thinking about growing and supporting your network. Don't be afraid to reach out and tell your story to others and also be encouraging to get other people to tell you their story. What's the story about them as much as they want to share about them personally, or about their company, or how they got to where they are. People like to share that kind of information, but many times they're not drawn out? to do it. So I would encourage you to do that. Take notes, mental notes, and when you get back to your car, write them down, write something down, make up a little review. If somebody really interested you write down as much as you can remember right there when it’s fresh. Builds your network, grow your garden!

 

Connect with Tom

 

Email: andrewst53@gmail.com 

Phone: 414-732-7371 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tomandrews53/

Jul 14, 2021

Meet Lindsey

She is a principal and owner of McMillion Consulting. Lindsey believes in the power of influence and is a connector to the core as a national and international speaker, writer, and prospecting trainer. Her expertise is founded on equipping successful professionals and teams to profitably connect with purpose on LinkedIn. She has worked with 1000s of people to help them drive millions in revenue. Lindsey believes teaching should be practical as learning is actionable love that she loves helping her clients win.

Building relationships is all about establishing trust. How do we go about building trust on LinkedIn?

I always talk about how LinkedIn is this powerful online tool, but at the end of the day, business and networking and connecting have always been social, even before the internet existed. Shaking hands, kissing babies, following up to people knocking on doors. So I like to just remind people that and part of this is just to let down the anxiety and fear that comes with using a powerful tool like LinkedIn. So many things that I say and speak about this tool are similar to what you would do offline in many ways. So how do you build trust on LinkedIn? You do it just like you would offline so you have to think about your reputation. When you think about your reputation offline, and the credibility that you have, you want to make sure that that's mirrored online, specifically through your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn loves keywords, just like Google does so the more you can strategically and completely build out that LinkedIn profile with keywords, you're increasing your likelihood of coming up in a search result on the platform. If you were to Google somebody's name, LinkedIn and Google love each other so there's a high likelihood that it's not the first result, the second or third result on that first page is going to be that person's LinkedIn profile. Also, people do not have to have a LinkedIn account to see your profile because it's public. So I always like to emphasize that remembering the foundation of any success on LinkedIn is going back to your LinkedIn profile. The other thing I like to incorporate, here is authenticity. My motto for McMillion Consulting is connecting with purpose and when you're connecting with purpose, as it relates to LinkedIn, what does that mean? Well, it means personalizing your outreach, following up to start a conversation, getting offline. Sometimes parts of the conversation can be in LinkedIn, but you still want to meet them in person because at the end of the day, we're all in the human to human business so we want to think about just being authentic, connecting with purpose, personalizing our outreach, following up, asking people if they want to have a conversation offline to continue the discussion that was started. So I think of reputation, I think of authenticity, I think of generosity. We have to be servants of our knowledge, and our networks, and what I mean by that is you are Lori, an expert in marketing and many things in advertising. You and I were recently speaking about marketing automation and so many things that I have no idea about, but some that I do. So it's this idea that you are very intentional, as I was sharing our knowledge with our networks on LinkedIn. What I always say, when I think about generosity on LinkedIn is it's not just about being a good steward, and a good servant of your knowledge, but it's also about recognizing when others do the same. It's also about being generous with your network and introducing people. I loved your opening comment, "Hey, if you know anyone else who should be a part of this podcast in the conversation and let me know," and we have to tell people that so that they do think of us when they think of someone in their network who's a great speaker, who should be interviewed by you on their podcast. Then lastly, I would say is this consistency. So one client goes into LinkedIn, he's very consistent, every Sunday and Thursday. Now, I'm going to put a little disclaimer asterisk by this and that it's not that Sunday and Thursday are the right time for you or me, but this just so happened to be his cadence. So Sundays and Thursdays, he would go into LinkedIn and on average, this specific activity that he was doing in LinkedIn, would yield him six appointments per week, of which he would close three on average. So he's a really good sales guy as a 50% success rate is pretty darn good, I would say. But the cool thing about those six appointments is that that was on top of what he was already doing in his business to grow his business. So he was using LinkedIn as an additive as a supplement to enhance his already successful growing business. What he said to me when he shared that was, "Lindsey, it's because I'm consistent and disciplined," so another way to think about consistency is showing up so you're top of mind.

Let's talk about ROI specific to the advertising that's available on LinkedIn. How can you go about getting that?

This is a really fun question because I flip it on its head. I'm asked this pretty often throughout the year where people will say, "Lindsay, I'm interested in spending some of my ad dollars on LinkedIn." What I would say is that perhaps if you're a really large corporation or enterprise, you can get away with dropping some pretty big bucks on LinkedIn advertising. But generally, there is truly a laundry list of items to get done for that spending to have some ROI. Meaning, what you might think of as a quick fix, with LinkedIn advertising, doesn't work that way. So a few examples of those laundry list items can include brushing up and cleaning up those LinkedIn profiles of yourself and your team members, making sure you have a company page, making sure that the individuals in your organization have networks that include people that you want to do business with, making sure you're posting content consistently across your individual profiles and your company page. I think that was like four or five things just right off the bat, right? So how do you get an ROI from your LinkedIn advertising, it's making sure that you're set up well for success because LinkedIn is looking at all of those little pieces, and not just saying, "Hey, the biggest better wins the honeypot."

Which LinkedIn feature is currently your favorite? 

I'm not sure what year they released this, I want to say it was last summer. The feature that I absolutely love is setting an away message on LinkedIn. Many people have no idea that that's even a feature and it's a feature that you only get access to with LinkedIn premium. Now, when people hear LinkedIn premium, that's kind of the umbrella. But underneath that umbrella, you have multiple options. As of the release of this podcast, there are four LinkedIn, individual subscriptions that you can invest in for yourself. Even on the lowest-paid subscription, which is career and it's roughly $30 a month, you get access to set an away message. So few reasons I love this is one, I don't want to look like a jerk if you send me a message, and I don't respond to you within the blank amount of time that I'm out of the office. So you get a little ping back immediately, just like out of office on email works, that says I'm unavailable. Now the other reason I love it, which I do with my email as well is leveraging this as an opportunity for a little commercial or promotion. So I include a postscript on my LinkedIn away messages when I use them which includes one of my free guides. I mentioned a few moments ago that this is a feature you only get if you are paying for LinkedIn and so one of the things I want to share with your listeners is going back to what I mentioned at the beginning of our chat, which was the reputation. So I've got a free guide that anyone who's listening can get access to if they go to https://www.linkedintoit.com/freeprofileguide and it's about a seven or eight-page guide of how to prepare, build and launch your LinkedIn profile. Here's the thing, similar to advertising in many ways you could spend all the money in the world on LinkedIn, but it goes back to that key foundation where if you don't look reasonably intelligent, and you haven't intentionally built your LinkedIn profile the right way, nobody's going to respond to you, nobody's going to engage with you. So that free profile guide is a great place to get started.

Can you share one of your favorite networking stories or experiences that you've had?

It's actually when I was in college, and it's made such a really powerful impression on me that I believe it changed the trajectory of my career and how I was networking and meeting people in my business community and as a professional. So when I was in college, I don't think I even knew what a networking event was. But it just so happened that I was in the business school and they were hosting a networking event to teach us what it was and how to do it. So I show up to this event and you can imagine it was incredibly awkward and nothing was happening in this room of 20 or 30 students. Nothing was happening, we knew that it had a start time so we're looking at our watches and I'm like, "Why isn't this thing starting?" Well, I Look over and a gentleman is standing in the corner of the room. I'm sure many of the other students saw him and thought he was a professor observing the students and I just walked over to him, right, because I actually intended on asking him what was going on. So I walked over to him standing in the corner, I stuck out my hand to introduce myself, he put his hand out and handed me a $20 bill. He introduced himself as the event speaker and so the lesson of that impressionable story is the most important person in the room might be the person standing awkwardly and uncomfortably in a networking event. So as we brush off our in-person networking skills, be the person who speaks up first. If you're all there for a common goal to meet other people, to me, that just really lets down the guard and discomfort that sometimes comes with showing up at a networking event. But yeah, I got 20 bucks out of it and it turns out he was the most important person in the room!

How do you stay in front of and best nurture your network or your community?

I think it's important to meet them where they're at and stay in front of them in multiple ways. So yes, I'm a LinkedIn expert, but when I say this, I really mean it, I've got a 17 or 18 point checklist that I share with clients that I train on how to use LinkedIn more productively and profitably and you can imagine that those 17 to 18 points aren't all on LinkedIn. So that's kind of the irony is that we have to remember to use multiple communication channels when we are networking and staying in front of our networks and growing our networks. So picking up the phone, following up via email, attending a local event, seeing if they're on other platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and meeting them where they're at because that's generally going to be the place that they are most comfortable. I think, to me, that's the most important thing is not getting that tunnel vision of getting so stuck on a specific platform. It's using those other channels to connect with people.

What advice would you offer to business professionals looking to grow their network?

I came up with this little term. I've been talking about it for years, and finally coined it as "The Who Pie." I'm going to speak about LinkedIn specifically because it's a platform we both love and it's the sandbox I always say I play and stay and I don't touch any other social platform out there. When you think about your existing LinkedIn network, so that's your first-degree connections, I want you to think about your who pie. About 85% of your first-degree connections should be people who you authentically know, professionally. These people could be current colleagues of yours at the current company you work at, they could be people you previously worked together with, they could be people you've done business with, people you met at an event, people you went to college with, they're your clients, your vendors, your connections, and essentially, this portion of your network should be people who you can introduce to each other. Then I think there's this other 10% of your network that can be who you don't know yet. This is where that growth actually comes into play. So you're connected to about 10% or so of people who you don't know yet, but you're using LinkedIn as an entry point to get offline to schedule the phone call, or the zoom or the in-person meeting. So it is okay to be first-degree connections with people on LinkedIn who you don't know yet. But you're connecting with them intending to get to know them so that they essentially transfer over to that 85% of your who pie. So now, there's this other 5%. To me, those can be your friends and family. Here's the disclaimer: This 5% that can be friends and family need to represent themselves professionally. So both of my sisters are attorneys in the DC-Maryland area and while I don't do business with them directly, they're my sisters so I'm okay to be connected with them on LinkedIn, because they may know people who I need to meet. But of course, we have to be mindful of those family members who are not using LinkedIn professionally because if you engage with their activity, that activity is publicly visible. Similar to before I'll say it again, it's okay to be connected with your professional friends and family members, but to me, that 10% of the who pie is really where the opportunity is to grow.

If you could go back to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell yourself to do more or less of or differently with regards to your professional career?

This is so easy for me, not to take myself so damn seriously. I still struggle with this and I think I'm also just learning to embrace that I do tend to be a little more serious. Funny enough, I kind of blame it on my sisters. They're much closer than age so in some ways you could look at our family tree and think, "Oh, Lindsey is an only child," but here's the deal. I didn't have anyone to banter with, my two sisters are incredibly sarcastic and I was like this serious child that is black and white and life is not black and white. We have to take a deep breath and shrug our shoulders and just relax sometimes. So I would definitely say not taking myself so seriously. 

I understand that you have a giveaway for our listeners?

Yes! So my team and I have put together this incredible guide called the Ultimate LinkedIn Profile Examples Guide. In the years and years and years that I have interviewed clients, written their profiles, launched their profiles, time and time again, we're visual creatures as human beings, and they want to see the before and after the makeover. So finally, I got a brilliant idea of putting an Ultimate LinkedIn Profile Examples Guide together to help folks who get access to this boost and level up their LinkedIn profile the right way. This guide has more than 20 pages in it with inspiration because the idea is to inspire people who get it in their inbox, who get access to it, inspire them with other top-notch profiles that I've cherry-picked, and hand-selected. At the end of the day, you have a unique story, your career, where you're going, who you're doing business with, where you came from is all unique to you, but I think it's valuable to see other people who are doing it well. So I've handpicked tons and tons of examples and the idea with this is really so that you can get more time back on your watch when you're transforming your profile. I recently updated this guide and it now includes five bonus features to make sure you're using to implement in your profile to stand out even more. The offer is a 50% discount code on the guide. So when you go to https://www.linkedintoit.com/ultimate and apply the code "podcast50" you will receive 50% off your guide!

 

Connect with Lindsey

 

Claim your free profile guide: https://www.linkedintoit.com/freeprofileguide

Claim your copy of The Ultimate LinkedIn Examples Guide by heading to https://www.linkedintoit.com/ultimate and typing in promo code “podcast50”

LinkedIn: Lindsey McMillion Stemann | LinkedIn 

Website: McMillion Consulting 

Jul 7, 2021

Meet Elizabeth

Elizabeth started her career in technology after securing an MBA from Loyola University in Maryland back in the early 90s. She climbed the career ladder and an early-stage startup in the commercial construction technology industry to Director of Business Development and demonstrated success driving multimillion-dollar sales growth while providing award-winning sales leadership. After a personal challenge managing her home, Elizabeth decided to build the very solution she needed to save money, save time and reduce her stress. Now she is the Co-Founder of HomeZada, an online and mobile home management portal that helps homeowners manage their homes to save time and money and reduce stress. Specifically, HomeZada educates homeowners in the areas of home management, inventory, maintenance, remodeling projects, and finances. She recently won the 2019 Female Founders and FinTech Pitch Competition and appeared on the NASDAQ channel.

What made you take the leap to start your own software company?

Originally, I wasn't going to start a software company, because my husband had already started one and I worked for that company. Lo and behold, I ran into my own problems, as the bio indicated, I started running into problems at my home, and it was broken hot water heaters that broke earlier than they needed to only because I didn't understand that simply flushing them, which is basically how maintenance makes them operate properly. Not understanding how to manage all my maintenance, all these different areas, where was the money going in my house, I was really, really frustrated that I couldn't figure out all the little details of managing my home, and how to actually get this data to make it easier for me to manage my home. Then I started realizing if I'm having this experience is everyone else? And so I looked for 10 years for someone else to create a solution like HomeZada, and nobody did. We had sold our last company and my husband who I actually work with right now, said we've got another startup in us. Let's do it again, let's build the company that you want and the product that you want because we could help all these homeowners everywhere. At first, I thought it was crazy! But then I said, "No, you know what? I still have these problems, the solution to my problems are not solved, I need to solve them and they also need to help other people solve their problems as well," because if I'm going through this, other people must as well. Sure enough, we have customers all over the country, and in many countries outside the United States who experience the same things. They're running into problems managing all the details about their home in one place and this is what HomeZada allows them to do.

What types of marketing are you doing to build your customer base?

We target directly to the consumer so we target the homeowner. We use a lot of different marketing activities to reach them. The first set of activities that we target for our homeowner customers is a lot of digital marketing. We are a digital platform so making sure that we can give them access to our platform as easily. Anything that's social, pay per click, email marketing, and we also do a lot of other marketing as it relates to PR. PR is also a really good way for us to get our message out there because we do a lot of things because we are total home management in one system and not everybody needs complete home management all at once. They may need one portion of managing their home, for instance, I live maybe in Florida, meaning this homeowner, and it's getting ready to be hurricane season so I need to track a home inventory. So that's maybe where they start. Or maybe you're a first-time homeowner and what you need is to track your home maintenance, because you're not familiar with how to maintain your home. Or maybe like in the pandemic, everybody was doing projects and so how do I actually manage those projects as easily and efficiently as I can? So having PR communicate specifically how a particular area of HomeZada can help a specific homeowner during that area of their homeowner journey makes it really easy for us to really reach our customers and for them to understand more about how HomeZada can be valuable to them. One of the other things we do too is, when it comes to social, we do use a lot of videos to help people understand why it's valuable to manage your home digitally so that it's efficient for you, it does save you time and money and how you can actually do that using HomeZada as well. So videos are really popular with a lot of our users and they can reach our YouTube channel. The other thing that we do is also target our business to business customers. They range from real estate companies, mortgage companies, insurance companies, home builders, home maintenance contractors, and many more others that find HomeZada extremely valuable for them. So one of the things that we do there is it's a straightforward business development and partner management to reach those businesses and to help them understand how HomeZada can benefit their business as well as their customers. So it becomes a win-win for everyone. But there is a common thread that we see both with the homeowners and the businesses is that everybody needs to understand a little bit more about HomeZada. So engagement and interaction through education is the common thread that we see in both the audiences that we target and it makes it more effective for us to get our message out there in order for people to understand that we exist so they can get better at managing their homes.

Can you share with me one of your most successful or favorite networking stories that you've had?

Oh, I have a great one for here. So I'm an extrovert, I love to network and I go to events all the time. So for me, it's really easy to network and I love meeting people and I love learning what they do and who I can connect them with. But there was one time when I went to a networking event and not everyone is an extrovert like me, many people are introverts. There was this young lady who was kind of off to the corner and I'm like, "No, this is not going to happen so beware here I come." We became fast friends after that, by the way, but during this time, she was really nervous. So we just got to talk in and having an understanding of each other's business and then I invited her to another event that I was actually speaking at locally here in the Sacramento area. She was really nervous and she explained to me, she was an introvert and I said, I could tell just because you're standing over by the wall, and not engaging, and I said, but we can actually help with that! At the next event, I said, just meet two people. Two people! You don't have to meet everybody in the room, just meet two people. Walk out with two people and that's it, make it really simple! She was so excited that she was given a goal that forces her out of our comfort zone, that not only did she meet two people, but she met seven people by the end of the night, and she was so proud of her achievement. She didn't realize how easy it was until it started going. But she was so stressed out about just I don't even want to talk to anyone and that simple little goal, a low-risk goal helped her continue to build out her networking capabilities. So then she met a lot of other people I know in the industry, and the tech industry here, and she ended up meeting many, many more, and then doing business with a lot of these individuals. So one little thing, one little goal, meeting two people was super simple, and then here it is, she's now got a thriving business because of just one tiny little goal.

How do you stay in front of and best nurture your relationships within your network?

That's a hard thing for a lot of people, especially if your networks are large. One of the ways I do that is through LinkedIn. I'm a big fan of LinkedIn, I can periodically see what's going on in people's lives, but I can also correspond and send private messages just to reconnect with a lot of people. Another thing that I do and perform now granted it, the pandemic has put a slight change on things, but it's also making sure that you are going to the events in your area. We had a lot of virtual events during the pandemic, making sure you're still doing that and continuing to build those relationships. One of the other things that I also participate in is what we refer to as Masterminds. A Mastermind generally brings a group of people together, not giant, just a small group, where individuals can freely speak about their business, and how each other can help each other, and not only help each other in the business and answer questions and suggestions for a particular task or a strategy but also because when you have a group of individuals, where you have the freedom to speak, they have networks that they have as well, that they can also bring to the table which also helps all of us nurture our networks because now we've got more people to introduce to each other, to help each other grow each other's businesses.

What advice would you offer that business professional really looking to grow their network?

The biggest thing I would say is one, get out there. Two, don't be shy with LinkedIn, I just love LinkedIn. So don't be shy with that, hear what people have to say. Even if they ping you through in mail or some other connection, hear what they have to say before you actually write them off, because you never know where you can support each other. Then I do encourage people, especially for those introverts out there just to meet two people at an event. Do not give yourself some astronomical goal that you feel intimidated by and you may not want to go out there at all. So if you feel so intimidated, you're probably not going to go out and network at all, just tell yourself that you only need to meet two people at an event. That's it, and make it a quality two people meaning that you spend quality time with them to get to know them a little bit more. Then once you start meeting those people, they'll start introducing the other people, and then you've got a built-in buddy system at an event because people just start introducing you.

If you could go back to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell yourself to do more or less of or differently with regards to your professional career?

I don't have a whole lot of regrets looking back, but I will say take the job. So there was an opportunity that was provided to me and I thought at the time, I wasn't qualified enough for the job. I thought that the job needed someone else's skill set in it and I declined the position, which was surprising for someone like me because I'm pretty confident. But I just felt this was for the best of the company at the time and then as it turns out, I ended up having to do the job anyway, over years of doing it. So take the job, if it's offered to you take the job, you will figure it out and people within your company will help you figure it out.

Do you have any final word or advice for our listeners about networking?

I would say get out there. However, you do it virtually, online, in person. Also, keep it simple, don't stress yourself out, especially after the pandemic, a lot of people have been inside for a long time, and they haven't been in offices, and they may be nervous. So it's just a little bit at a time and you don't have to jump in the deep end right away. Just step your toe in the steps and go on the shallow end with just a couple of people every time you go out. Just meet two people.

 

Connect with Elizabeth

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/edodson/ 

Website: https://www.homezada.com/

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