Networking Like a Pro

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Another one of those topics that I seem to get asked about over and over is networking. “How do I get my name out there?”, “How do I network without coming across as a a weirdo?” and “How do I get people to know I exist?!” With the majority of us doing a most of our business online these days, thinking about networking and meeting people ‘in real life’ can be a scary and intimidating thing. But (and this is a big but!) I honestly believe that getting my backside off my computer, out of the safe confines of my house and going to meet people in real life was the number one thing which truly got my name out there.

The reasons for this are three-fold…

1. People are more likely to remember you if they’ve met you and put a face to the name.
2. People are more likely to recommend you to others if spoken to you in real life and realise that you’re not a complete psycho.
3. People are often just as shy as you are, and by being nice to them in real life, will make them feel better about themselves and therefore good about you.

But just how does one go about it? We all know (even the most extroverted people like yours truly) how intimidating walking into a room full of people can be… and a room full of people that all seem to already know each other is a million times worse!

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Fake the funk

We all know the phrase ‘fake it before you make it’ and in no other situation is this more true. Secret: I bet 90% the people in the room you’re trying to ‘network with’ are just as nervous as you are!

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Breaking Up is Hard to Do

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“It’s not you, it’s me…”
“Let’s just be friends…”
“I’m just not ready for a relationship right now…”

Whichever way you sugar coat it, break ups are a hard. And although the demise of a romantic relationship is emotionally gut-wrenching and awful, the breakdown of a professional relationship can be just as catastrophic for our hearts.

We’re complex creatures us humans, and whether you’ve worked together on a project or you’re just business acquaintances, if the relationship starts to sour it can be a tough situation to navigate. Differences of opinion and varying priorities – even how you view the relationship – can taint how you interact with people. The shock realisation that a person you considered to be a good friend as well as a work colleague actually now seems to just out for themselves or their business and profits can be a bitter pill to swallow.

I’m not going to lie, this happened to me not so long ago. Someone I considered to be more than just a business acquaintance (i.e. I figured we were pretty good friends actually) stabbed me in the back. I’m sure they had their reasons (in fact I know they did because I spoke to them about it) but it still hurt. Badly.

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Remembering Why…

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Why did you start your business? What was it that made you want to leave the security of a regular paycheck, employee benefits and never having to calculate your own tax?

For me it happened by accident. I started this blog to document my wedding planning. I always loved to write and wistfully pondered a vague notion of one day finding a topic that I was passionate enough about to properly pursue… and them baaamb! I felt in love with weddings, but more so with wanting to inspire other brides to do things their own way.

As time went on I found that I also loved writing about the process of running my own business. As someone with no formal business training or qualifications (I didn’t even do business studies at school), who is brought out in a cold sweat by the thought of accounts, taxes and budgets, I’m certainly not the most obvious candidate to have branched out in this direction! But I love it, and in many ways the community I’ve become a part of because of this area of my blog is even more satisfying than the wedding one. Of course I adore every single one of my bride-to-be readers, but usually (there are a few exceptions!) as soon as their weddings are over they’re off and Rock n Roll Bride becomes a distant memory. Those of you that read these business rambles are the ones in it for the long haul. You’re the ones I like to think of as my long lost friends and my blogging comrades, and for each of you I am immensely grateful.

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Your Brand Is Not What You Say It Is…

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Your brand is not what you say it is, it is what other people say about their experience of you. You are not good at something because you tell people you are, your strengths are defined by what other people decide about you on their own. Your weaknesses are not your internal soul-crushing insecurities, they only become a problem when they are visible to the outside world.

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The Blogcademy: Live in your Living Room…

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The Blogcademy online Q&A session is starting at 1pm PST / 4pm EST / 8pm GMT today. Sign up below for the bargain price of $7 to watch and participate in the action. If you can’t tune in live, don’t worry, your ticket will give you access to a recording of the action forever. Signing up is easy – just press the orange button!

However I do have to warn you, I only got into Portland late last night so I’m pretty darn jet-lagged… it may not be a pretty sight but maybe seeing that is worth the $7 in itself!? Thank God I have Gala & Shauna to keep me awake and excited. See you there my pretties, and don’t forget – this is your chance to grill us and to ask us all those difficult questions! Either pipe up during the livestream or tweet them to us in advance.

EDIT: The livestream has now taken place but you can still sign up and watch a recording of our shenanigans below!

Six Rules Every Business Owner Needs to Obey

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As bloggers, designers or photographers running our own businesses there are a million and one things to juggle and keep track of. It can sometimes feel like you have 27 balls in the air at once. Here are the six rules that I think you need to follow so that you drop as few of them as possible.

1. Be gracious

Never ever forget the importance of good old fashioned manners. Whether its replying to your emails in a timely fashion, sending a thank you note or even turning things down with grace, never underestimate the power of being polite. In an industry where competition is rife and reputation is everything, this is more important than ever. Even if someone is awful to you, smile and let it slide. Never bitch and moan in public and always, always be the better person.

In a hectic world full of tweets, status updates and emails sent via phones while on the move, it can be all to easy to forget just how much these small gestures can mean.

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2. Manage expectations

Managing expectations from clients, colleagues or anyone you work alongside is imperative to a smooth-sailing working situation. Be realistic with what you promise people and lay everything out from the off. Always strive to under-promise and over-deliver and if you ever can’t deliver something that was expected, be as honest and as gracious as possible.

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