If the word ‘networking’ sends chills down your spine, you’re not alone!
The idea of networking tends to conjure up thoughts of people standing around in a stuffy room, shuffling out business cards, and making boring and awkward business talk.
And if you’re an introvert, the thought of approaching and talking to strangers can cause a full-on panic attack.
The good news is networking has changed a lot over the years, thanks to the internet.
There are now ways you can mingle with like-minded business people without wanting to hide under a rock.
THE BENEFITS OF NETWORKING AS A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT
Before I go into the different ways you can network with people, I want to talk about the benefits. Once you understand what networking is all about, you’ll likely feel more comfortable connecting with people.
1. Networking can help you find clients. The people you connect with might become clients or refer you to new clients.
2. Networking gives you a chance to make new friends. We’re talking entrepreneur friends who understand the life of being an entrepreneur.
3. Networking is a way for you to help others. Helping other people feels great, right?
Well, when you connect with new people, you have the opportunity to help them, whether it’s referring them to someone, offering your VA services, or something else like sharing their business on your social media channels.
WHERE CAN INTROVERTS NETWORK?
1. Traditional in-person networking events. If you’d like to connect with people in person, you can. If a stuffy hotel event sounds drab, you can search for ones that are more fun. Who knows! You may even find some that are geared toward introverts! You can search Google, MeetUp, or Eventbrite for local networking events if you want to try them out.
2. Online networking events. Typically, you’ll meet on Zoom and break out into small groups, making it easier for introverts to handle. And instead of passing around business cards, you enter your info in a chat window. You can find virtual events on places like MeetUp or Eventbrite.
3. One-on-one opportunities. LinkedIn or Alignable are places where you can connect with people individually. You can find people you want to get to know better and invite them to chat over Zoom. That way, your conversation is more intimate, which most introverts prefer.
4. Facebook Groups and forums. You can find these by searching Facebook or Google, but you can also find them with most courses or memberships you purchase. These are great for getting in front of a bigger audience and expanding your network. Get in there, be active, comment on people’s posts, create your own posts, and be helpful. You can also join group coaching programs or masterminds. These are great places to get to know people and find excellent clients or referrers.
Remember that networking isn’t all about promoting your business and getting clients. It’s also about helping people succeed, getting referrals, and finding supportive friends who understand what you go through as a business owner.
Why not give networking a shot and see how it goes? You might actually like it and look forward to more networking opportunities in the future!
Want to learn more about networking? The Introvert’s Guide to Networking is an exclusive training inside my membership, the Introvert VA Club. You’ll learn how to find online networking events, what to say, how events work, and one-on-one and in-person networking tips.
Join us at introvertvaclub.com!