Werrrrrk it [Fierce in Seattle]
I am one of those freaks that apparently thrives on chaos. Why else would I work a full time job, be an active volunteer, write for 2 blogs (and about to start a daily third one), and now start my own business on the side? Normal folks don’t do this stuff. But then, I am certain I will never be considered “normal,” nor do I want to be. And this is why I have decided to begin my own freelance event production company. It is exhilarating, exciting and exhausting. But I signed up for this. I’m about to turn 40 and now it seems I’m taking those risks that I was never confident enough to take 10 years ago, or even 2 years ago, for that matter.
This isn’t my first time starting a small business and I’m sure it won’t be my last. One thing that has changed since my last effort is not only the explosion of social networking but my ability to network live in person. Back when I was an actor in LA I hated, hated, hated networking, or as we called it then, “schmoozing.” I had pals who excelled at this form of human communication, but I would often freeze up and be very quiet, would leave early and basically not be myself. I always felt like I was forcing people to talk to me and felt that speaking to me was not worthy of their time, that I was completely exposed & naked. Self esteem = zero points.
Fast forward over a decade later, minus some bad habits, moving to a different city, becoming active in philanthropy, falling in love, and other major life changes…somehow the confidence worked itself out. And it couldn’t have happened at a better time in my life.
When you know who you are, know what you want and know what you can give to the world, there’s an innate sense of peace. So when I meet someone new I see it as an opportunity to grow with my personal connections, my business, my community. In the past I had viewed it as if I were trying to get something out of someone that didn’t want to give anything to me in the first place. I feel I now have the life experience and the tools to break the ice and initiate a casual conversation with a potential client, vendor or friend without feeling like I want to run away and puke.
So how do you network? Is it difficult or a snap for you to promote yourself?