A lot of people run around networking as if its the key to success. I have bad news. The network doesn’t come before success. It comes with success.
You earn a network just like you earn money. You gain it over time by providing value to people. A network is mutually beneficial. People invest time and resources in people who bring something to the table. People invest energy in people if they can find mutual gain. You help me. I help you. That is a network.
It has to be a win win.
If you have nothing to bring to the table your network will never grow. You will never get recommended to meet people. People won’t come to you to do business with you. People will not go out of their way to help you get ahead unless there is something to gain. They won’t put their neck out to recommend you for a job or to a friend unless they know everyone wins.
Powerful people will give opportunities to people when there is a chance at mutual gain. When there is a chance to make money. When there is a chance to solve a problem or reduce stress.
I spent some time recently thinking about the most valuable people in my network and how I met them. I didn’t meet them at networking events. I met them because somebody recommended me to them because they thought I could help them with a problem they were having. There was mutual gain. I could provide some utility.
You have to earn your network. If you aren’t good at anything or you aren’t helping yourself your network will never grow. You have to be a master at something. You have to be able to add value somewhere.
A network grows when someone says “I know a guy that you need to talk to about that”. Be that person! Be that person that people refer people with certain problems to.
Get really good at something. Help powerful people solve a problem they are having. Add value. Don’t build your network – Earn it.