What's Your Relationship Status

Being an entrepreneur is a lonely job at times. Most of my "work day" is spent in front of a computer, which is not ideal for someone who likes to be around other people. So when I was introduced to Network Marketing my ears perked up a little.
So what is Network Marketing?
Basically it is the idea that WHO you know is just as important (or more) as WHAT you know.
Consider these two examples:
Entrepreneur #1:
This lady is well educated and knows the ins and out of how to run a business. She can write top performing blog posts, create amazing marketing content and knows how to close a deal. In her spare time she studies top earning CEO's and reads business and marketing books. She doesn't need anyone else's help because she can do it all on her own. She has a "no-nonsense" work ethic and expects a lot from the people that work for her. Her clients respect her for her knowledge, but would say that she is not the most personable person to work with. She is the first one in and the last one out at the end of the day, spending most of her lunch breaks at her desk working away.
Entrepreneur #2:
While she has no "formal" training, she has worked hard to learn the basics of running a business. She relies on the help of others and isn't afraid to ask questions. Her blog posts and marketing content may not be top notch, but she puts her heart, soul and personality into everything she does. People are drawn to her open and honest personality and her clients feel connected to her on a personal level. She is involved in her community and makes a point to get out and be social with other small business owners.
Which entrepreneur do you think will accomplish more in her business? 
There is really no right or wrong answer here. Both women can go on to lead VERY successful businesses. However, from a Network Marketing standpoint, Entrepreneur #2 would win hands down.
The KEY to Network Marketing is to get out and be social. Get to know the people around you. Make connections and get involved.
Just like with all marketing ideas, you want to make sure you invest in something that is going to give you the best ROI (return on investment). Paid marketing is tricky because you don't always see a return right away, if at all. Passive marketing such as blog posts and social media posts are the same way. It gets your name out there, but how successful is it at brining in new business.
The best investment I have seen in my business has come from investing in RELATIONSHIPS! 
It took me a while to realize that building relationships would get me a lot further than reading marketing books or researching how to write the perfect blog post. 
Getting out and talking to other business owners has made a HUGE difference in my business. We all want the same thing, and most of the time we are willing to help someone else get there if it also helps us.
So where do you begin?
Make a list of local businesses that you would like to partner with, and reach out to them. You could send an email or stop by and visit in person. Create an offer that benefits both businesses and lead with how you can help them first.
For example:
If you are a personal trainer and you want to partner with a local smoothie shop, you could offer to do a group fitness class with their staff in exchange for them sharing your information in their shop.
Get creative and offer to brainstorm with the owner/manager for ways you can work together.
One of the biggest fears I hear (and I had the same one) was fear of rejection. "What if I ask and they say no?" - then you move on to someone else!
I can't even tell you how many emails or phone calls I have made that went unanswered, or were met with a "no thank!" In the end you say "thank you for your time" and move on to the next one. Eventually you find the perfect networking fit for you!
Networking Events
Networking with businesses is great, but it's also a good idea to make connections with individuals. You never know when the lady you chatted with at the park will turn into a client or a top referrer.
I recently joined a local women's group that meets once a month for lunch. Each month we mingle and get to know each other while enjoying a nice lunch. While events like this may not lead to instant bookings, I am investing in the long game. One day the lady I sat next to may have a friend who is getting married and needs a photographer. Or maybe the lady across the table from me will have a high school senior next year and will be looking for a photographer.
People are more likely to refer someone they met in person, than someone they found online. 
Look around for local events to volunteer for, charity nights to attend or women's groups to join. There is no right or wrong way to do it as long as you get out and get social!
Have you partnered with a business or joined a networking group that has greatly helped your business? Share with us in the comments so we can all learn and celebrate your success together!

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