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.