How Networking Exploded My Business

Set of pens created for my favorite customer, Mike

“I’ve never met anyone that does what you do. This is so cool!” That’s usually the response I get whenever I meet someone new at a networking meeting, and it feels pretty awesome. Even though I know tons of people that do beading, the average person has no idea what it is that we do. Networking has definitely upleveled my business, and I’ve had more sales of my finished pieces this year than I’ve ever had. If you are actively selling your jewelry, I want this for you, too. That’s why I’m sharing this story today.

Part of the Pie
Last September, I attended a seminar on mindset and marketing. One of the questions posed was “Are you willing to do whatever it takes to make your business a success?” That was an emphatic “Yes!” from me. I’ve wanted to make a living from my craft ever since I started selling my jewelry at age 12. I have a website, and I did shows, but I learned that was only a small piece of the marketing pie. Business Networking is a piece, too. A piece I had never attempted. I made a new friend at the event who had a networking group, and from there was invited to another group, where I met Mike.

A Shift
I decided it was time to put myself out there in a bigger way. I attended several meetings and met with a few people, but it was still a little scary for me. One day I nervously sat down next to this guy with a friendly smile. He said his name was Mike, and he owned a roofing company. I showed him one of my beaded pens and shared a bit about what I do and why. He thought they were cool and ordered 4 on the spot, and even paid me in full upfront. I was blown away and my heart was bursting with gratitude! Mike turned out to be one of the coolest human beings I ever met on a personal level, AND he continues to be one of my best customers.

It’s really about helping people
Please don’t expect to walk into your first networking meeting and have business land at your feet. It’s about building relationships with people, and doing what you can to help their business. Everyone on my block knows to call Mike after a hail storm. If you don’t know anyone who needs their service, you can promote them on twitter, or like their Facebook page, or connect them to someone else you know (like a caterer to a wedding planner). To learn more about networking, I recommend The 29% Solution by Ivan Misner and searching for groups in your area on meetup.com.

{ 7 comments… add one }
  • avatar Kevin August 15, 2012, 4:50 pm

    This is a great article and the pens look very cool

  • avatar Rachel September 28, 2012, 7:08 am

    My husband networks and using marketing to motivate all of his business lines. Sadly, this scares the bejeezus out of me. It is nice to see you have overcome similar fears and are making it work. Good for you!

  • avatar Faye January 2, 2013, 5:07 pm

    It is nice to read a realistic post by someone who doesn’t push the high powered networking circuits. I am with Rachel (earlier commentator); networking intimidates me. But even you have a good product or good information (which I like to think I have), you have to push to get the word out. I am glad that you are getting to realize a dream that you have had since you were very young. Good for you!

  • avatar Mandi Ainsworth January 2, 2013, 5:46 pm

    Thanks for sharing, Faye. Part of it was also changing my thinking about the purpose of marketing. I used to think it was slimey and sleazy, but now I know that marketing is a service to those who need/want what you have.

    Two of my fav marketing mentors put out amazing free content on their blogs every week that you may want to check out:
    http://www.marieforleo.com
    http://www.christinekane.com

  • avatar Deborah Bergen January 3, 2013, 2:37 pm

    I’m getting excited more with each read.
    We live on a horse ranch not ours..but one day I showed the owner some of my beaded cabs. and she put them up to the horses forehead and said they would be beautiful for shows. That was last summer
    I need to get on that one. Thanks again!

  • avatar stephanie jordan March 21, 2013, 6:17 pm

    Oh My Goodness.
    I so want what you have. I happened on to your site because I was searching for freeform beading. I am really thankful to you for the resource bok on networking.
    I went on amazon and read some of it and I really want it. I’ve always thought of Networking as going to events and talking to people, but I still had no idea what to say. I REALLY want to know what to say to people. Not just for self serving reasons but for people to seek me out for my work. I am a seed bead jewelry designer.

  • avatar Eva March 11, 2014, 10:29 am

    Hi Everyone,
    I’m new here today. I too find that networking can make me nervous. I’m a very shy person, and don’t like to push anyone to buy my stuff. I have a difficult time finding the right time to mention my jewelry. I’ll keep on reading more of your posts, maybe I can get an idea that works for me.
    Thanks
    Beadablethings

  • avatar Sol December 17, 2015, 3:23 am

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