We work a great deal with asset sheets and financial numbers for our Southwest Louisiana clients. We’re always on the hunt for ways that we can minimize tax burdens and be strategic about every available resource on behalf of the Southwest Louisiana families and people we serve.
But what is becoming increasingly clear in this 2017, always-online, world is this: our most powerful assets are those which can’t be measured on a spreadsheet.
I’m talking about the “soft” asset of our personal network. It’s the group of people you can turn to in a crisis, who might be willing to lend you money in a pinch, or come to your house to watch the kids.
And then there are the door-openers: those who, by virtue of their accomplishments or THEIR network, are able to introduce you (or your older child) to the kind of people who can shift the direction of your or your child’s life.
For some of us, building this network is effortless and easy. Either by virtue of how we’ve been raised, or because we went to a particular school or worked at a certain company, we are well-connected to these kinds of people.
For others of us, we have to work at it. And if that’s you, let me urge you: it is a task worth pursuing, and pursuing well.
And here are some things I’ve learned along the way (as *I’ve* had to work at this myself) that might help…
Building a Better Personal Network In Southwest Louisiana
“It is not fair to ask of others what you are not willing to do yourself.” -Eleanor Roosevelt
If you want to succeed in your career (or in life in general), then meeting people from Southwest Louisiana who’ve already succeeded before you is going to be a huge help. In fact, this could be the sole difference between success and failure. But how do you network effectively?
Learn from my mistakes… and from my many years of seeing how it is done by those much better at it than myself. Because this “mini crash course” I’ve put together will help you build relationships that will help boost your network AND your career, whatever it might be.
And, of course, these tips hold true in online networking, as well.
Make Friends First
In my experience, this business axiom holds very true: “All things being equal, people prefer to do business with people they like. All things not being equal, people still prefer to do business with people they like.”
If you want someone to share with you their techniques for building their business or getting to a particular point in their career, then the first step is to build an actual friendship with them. Get to know them as human beings and allow them to get to know you. Show a little vulnerability, as well as curiosity and an interest towards them.
Once you have a bit of a relationship, THEN talk business. Don’t enter into this venture on a purely mercenary level. Seek friendship.
Give First, Before You Take
Perhaps you’ve discovered a career or management strategy that’s been working really well for you — so don’t hoard it for yourself. There has to be some “give” as well as “take” in any kind of relationship. Share your knowledge and your insights freely, and others will do the same.
Take The Next Step: Join (or START) a “Mastermind” or Networking Group
Meeting with other like-minded people on a regular basis can really help drive you forward.
There are two important things that happen when you’re around other people like yourself (or better): First of all, you get to share ideas, techniques and stories that’ll help you figure out more ways to be successful.
The other thing that happens is that you start to build off of each other’s momentum. If one person is making more money than the others, everyone else can learn what is causing this increase. Everyone will start taking more action. The energy begets more energy.
If there isn’t a mastermind group near you, then start your own group. It’s not that hard to find like-minded people near you. Get these people together and ask them to bring people they know. Soon, you’ll have a great group of like-minded individuals.
Find a Mentor
If you’re bringing in $20,000 per month to your business, and want to be doing $50,000 a month, then find someone who’s making $100,000 a month. If you’re hitting a wall within your organization, and see someone who has already gotten to a different level (either within or outside your organization), be intentional about pursuing them.
This relationship can be a paid relationship, or a friendship, or it can come within a mastermind group relationship. Whatever you need to do, just make sure you have someone in your life who’s where you want to be financially or otherwise. This will have a magnetic effect on your finances or career life. You’ll slowly but surely start to operate out of a new kind of strength.
The bottom line is: WHO you spend time with has a great deal of influence on your success. The old adage is true: we are often the sum of the 5-10 people with whom we spend the most amount of time. So make sure you’re networking properly — that you’re spending your time with the right people.
I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve you, and for your referrals.
Joshua L Ortego, CPA