If you’ve read the opening post for this series on networking, you may have already started with your first bit of networking homework – making lists of your strong connections, weak connections, and “new” connections (the people you don’t know but want to meet).
This step alone can really open your eyes to how extensive your existing network may be. For most people, they’re more connected than they realize.
That's rad. But now we want to know what to DO to build up our networks and use them effectively.
But before we can answer that question of “what should I start doing?”, there’s one critical decision that you have to make.
First, you have to decide what networking “camp” you’re in.
Once you decide that, all the next steps start becoming easy and intuitive.
So let's talk about that.
There are 3 basic types of networkers, and you have to know which kind you want to be right now.
There are 3 types of networkers, which I’ll talk about in a moment, and each kind will take a different set of actions in order to build (and use) their networks effectively.
Each camp is going to do different things and get good at different things in order to win at their version of the networking game.
A good analogy for this is cooking. If you’re going to excel at cooking Italian food vs. Chinese food vs. Mexican food, your choices of what you “do” in the kitchen are to depend on which style of food you decide to make.
There’s a lot of overlap in general cooking skills, to be sure, but there’s no need to master the wok if you’re cooking Italian. And you don’t need to develop your pasta-layering skills if you’re going for chefdom in the (heartbreakingly) delicious world of Mexican food.
Different cuisines use different tools and different cooking styles. It’s not just “cooking”.
Today we’re going to break “networking” into three separate, identifiable categories, like we would with different types of cuisine.
No category is better or worse than the other – any more than Chinese food is better than Mexican – they’re just different in their own ways. They all have their own styles, their own objectives, and their own activities that you can excel at.
And once you pick a camp, you can stop doing things that don’t work for that camp. You can put the wok away, and pick up the lasagna pan, or vice versa. (I’ll stop with the food analogies right now. I’m starving, and it’s my own damned fault.)
So right now I’ll walk you through the three camps, and you can decide which one feels like the one that matches up with your goals, desires, and ambitions.
Let’s take a look.
1. Networking for Fame
Fame Networkers make up the smallest group, made up of the true artists and/or exhibitionists.
These are the people who aren’t prioritizing money right now – and frankly, might not ever truly prioritize it – because what they really want is to get attention on the work they’re doing.
For them, the “currency” they’re after is reach and visibility. The money, such as it is, will probably take care of itself down the road.
Simple examples are people who want 1 million followers on Instagram, or who want as many people as possible to subscribe to their bedtime stories podcast that helps you fall asleep at night.
Sure, they might make some extra money or get some swag as their reach increases, but that’s not their goal. Attention is their goal, whether it’s because they want to “be a big deal”, or they want their work to reach as many people as possible.
What success looks like for Fame Networkers: Tons of people paying attention. With more on the way. Money is optional or an afterthought.
2. Networking For Fortune
Fortune Networkers represent the majority of business owners in the world, but they’re actually pretty quiet in online spheres.
These are the people who want clients and customers and don’t actually care a whit about being famous or even well-known. They just want to fill their book, or get enough customers to pay their bills, or buy a second home by the lake.
For Fortune Networkers, the currency they’re after is… well, currency. Fame doesn’t have to come along for the ride.
If 10 people on the planet know who they are, but they’re making money? They’re aces with that.
Simple examples are accountants who want a full roster of clients, Etsy sellers who just want to move inventory, book editors who want to have a consistent stream of books to edit, freelance writers who want enough writing gigs to pay the bills each month.
Plenty of people just want the income. If it comes from a few key sources who refer clients, or via advertisers, or another provider who sends them overflow, they don’t care. They don’t need any name recognition at all from the masses. They just want the gigs.
What success looks like for Fortune Networkers: Billable hours, or products sold. And that’s it.
3. Networking for Fame And (Therefore) Fortune
This one’s a tricky little hybrid, and one that’s quite common in the online world, but has been around since the beginning of time.
Fame and (Therefore) Fortune Networkers are people who are trying to use fame as a means to acquire fortune.
For these networkers, anything that falls into the realm of getting visibility is a means to an end.
Where a Fortune Networker would be cold calling, they’re making content so they can “build a name for themselves”. Where a Fame Networker is just trying to be seen, they’re trying to be seen and get the opt-in as a result.
Simple examples include… well, just about everybody who engages in content marketing, podcasting, or otherwise “being seen” to build expert status indirectly.
For Fame And (Therefore) Fortune Networkers, most networking activities tend to be split between networking upwards to “bigger fish” that can get them visibility, and lateral networking with peers, colleagues, and their audience.
Some people in this camp love the game, and can’t get enough of it. Others think of it as a necessary evil, and will do it only as long as it’s necessary to meet their financial goals.
What success looks like for Fame And (Therefore) Fortune Networkers: Platform growth + high conversion rate + lots of stuff to sell.
This is why it’s so important to choose your camp:
Once you know which camp you’re in, you can decide what to do and what not to do.
If you’re a Fame Networker, you could back out of networking activities with the general public and focus on meeting people who can give you publicity, or engaging heavily with connected superfans who will spread the word that what you’re doing is cool.
If you’re a Fortune Networker, you can lay off on all the content marketing and schmoozing on social media to build up “likeability”. You’re not trying to get your name out there – you’re trying to directly connect with a smaller group of buyers (or people who know buyers).
If you’re a Fame and (Therefore) Fortune Networker, then you can focus on connecting with people who would enjoy sharing your expertise and vouching for it. You’ll probably want to amp up your content and find people who can share it with their audiences.
Each of these paths gives you a different set of things to focus on.
Take a moment and consider which camp you’re in, and make it a word in your head from this point forward.
Instead of thinking about “networking”, give it one of those names. Think of it as “Fame Networking”, or “Fortune Networking”, or “Fame and (Therefore) Fortune Networking”.
This will help you develop an intuitive sense of whether or not any given activity will suit your networking goals.
So you’ll know what to say yes to, and no to, intuitively.
Networking gets easier when you quit doing incompatible activities.
If you find you’re struggling with the “doing” part of networking, chances are it’s because you’re focusing activities that aren’t a good match with your true networking goals.
When we’re doing things that make sense for our goals – that are truly in sync with them – the act of doing-the-doing gets much easier. There’s not all that pesky resistance in the way, because we can see the true, real value of those activities.
So that’s your homework for today: Choose a camp. Start thinking of what networking activities seem valuable for that camp’s goals, and which feel like a waste of time.
And stay tuned to the blog – because I’ll be giving you details on what to do for each one of these three camps.
In the meantime, stay safe, stay sane, and as always, thanks for sharing this post. :)
Talk to you soon,