By Guest Blogger, Mary Schmidt, Marketing Troubleshooter, LLC
A very successful (at least by NM standards) man once told me, “I don’t hang out with losers.” He proceeded to give me his exceedingly cold-blooded view of networking. If you can’t do something for him, he has no time for you. I guess I should feel privileged the guy (still) talks to me…and, while my inner-Pollyanna was offended by his statement, there is some validity to his point. (And the interpretations of both “success” and “loser” are highly subjective, in any case.)
Copy Blogger recently posted: The Most Important Success Tip:Stop Lying Down with Dogs, Already, in which he worries that he – like, whoa, Dude – is hanging with the wrong people. But, he also borrows from Tony Robbins: Love Your Friends and Family. Choose Your Peers.
You should write this on your hand before heading out to the next group event. (Yes, I can’t believe it either. I’m actually recommending wisdom from Robbins.)
How many times have you gone to an “entrepreneur power networking” gathering to find:
...that the “entrepreneurs” are the same sad group of folks who have been trying to get funding for years?
...that the “expert consultants” attending are the same unemployed folks you’ve been seeing at everything for months (looking increasingly desperate)?
...that the diamond-drippin' "high-powered fellow women biz owners" are actually hobbyists and their "business" is made possible by a husband paying the bills (and buying the bling)?
...that the “networking” consists of wide/wild-eyed people forcing biz cards into your hand, unasked? (“Let’s have coffee! I want to know more about you!” Who are we kidding, oh, frenzied one? You want to sell me something…or “pick my brain” for free.)
This is why I’m highly selective these days about what groups I join and events I attend. I do go to some here and there simply because I like the people, but I go without any illusions of business development. (While you never know where business will come from – I have to allocate my time wisely, since it’s literally money for me.) I also – all snark aside - do occasionally let people pick my brain for free (I even pony up for the coffee); kindness is a good thing and should be practiced on a regular basis. But, the reality is that many of my peers aren’t in New Mexico – they’re scattered all over the World and the Web.
P.S. Another highly successful (by any standards) man, a VC, told me, “We don’t have time to work with a##holes.” So, there’s a bit of balance for you.