Don’t Be Wendy Whiner! Get Better at Networking with These 5 Tips
Are you good at networking?
Networking is really just talking to people about your VA business, either in person or online.
But when I ask VAs if they are good at networking, they tell me it is something that they dread.
So instead of networking with potential clients, they hang out in the VA forums and online groups with their colleagues. And they develop terrible networking habits!
You’ve seen them – maybe you even are ‘them’ – Wendy Whiner. Always complaining, or looking for someone to agree with what they are complaining about. (apologies to any Wendys out there!)
You really need to be networking with potential clients.
But even if you are spending more time in the VA forums, then I have some tips for you on how to practice your networking there, so that you get better at it (and then move to business groups!).
I see VAs talking to each other ALL DAY LONG in Facebook groups and other online forums.
I shouldn’t have to tell you that you will never get clients by spending your days in VA groups.
But it’s not just the time being spent there. It’s what I see being posted there.
Do you know what they are talking about? How crappy their clients are. Or how uncertain they are about their skills. Or how they can’t even find clients because Upwork refused their profile.
These posts bother me so much.
Why? Mainly because they are not a good use of anyone’s time. And some of the groups even have potential clients in them which makes VAs look even worse.
If you are going to seek out support from – or give support to – your colleagues, you need to start to develop the right attitude and skill – to do it well, so it supports both of you. You might even find a great collaboration or referral colleague!
Here are 5 tips to get better at your networking:
1. Find a Great Support Network
Where do you find support for your business? Many business owners seek it out through their colleagues – and VAs are no different! If you want to be successful, you need to surround yourself with others who are working towards success as well. Fresh ideas, advice and camaraderie is important as a business owner, but especially one who works virtually – alone – all the time. A free VA group with thousands of members is not always the best place for you to grow, or to get the best support. If you can’t find a support network that gets you excited to share and support the others in the group, keep looking. There is one for you!
2. Offer Advice Only From Experience
One of the things I see VAs do all too often is offer advice they are not qualified to offer. That’s not a dig – it’s a simple truth. You should only offer advice when you have had experience with the exact situation that is being discussed. If a VA is asking about business advice or advice about a client situation that you have no experience with, simply don’t respond. Don’t guess at what you think you would do. Think of your VA colleagues as your clients for a moment. Would you offer your client untested advice in a similar conversation? Probably not.
3. It’s Not Personal, It’s Business
Keeping emotions out of business is challenging at times – especially for women. But if we don’t learn to separate the business from the personal, that makes for difficult conversations with people. When you are networking with colleagues, look for the opportunities to lift everyone up by focusing on the business impact of the discussion – not on how it makes you feel. Business is business and when you remove the emotion from decision making and how you handle certain conversations (like money!), it is often so much easier. Sounds easier said than done – until you try it and you’ll love it!
4. Come From Abundance
When you are struggling to find clients, it is hard to stay positive. It gets difficult to watch others celebrate getting new clients if you aren’t. You might even feel that other VAs are somehow taking your clients. Having a poverty mindset will take its toll on you. It’s important to remind yourself every day that there are plenty of clients for everyone. You just need to find and connect with yours. Creating and maintaining an abundance mindset – where you know that there is enough for everyone – is so worthwhile.
5. Keep a Positive Mindset
Stop complaining! As a VA, you are a business owner. You must act like one everywhere you go. A negative mindset will soon take over your thoughts and will reflect in your actions. Work on reframing your thoughts when they go to the negative side. If the forums suck you in and drag you down, stay away from them for a week (or forever!). Focusing on a positive mindset not only helps you, but it helps those around you. Connect with other excited business owners – who need your support! You might even get a client!
Simple advice, right? I know it’s difficult to do. That’s why it takes practice and good daily habits to help you maintain it.
I urge you to try it.
Focus only on positive messaging for a week – in what you post yourself, and in what you respond to. Skip over everything else.
I think you’ll find that you are in a better frame of mind. And that’s the vibe you’ll be putting out there for your potential clients. They’ll notice!
For more tips on how to think like a business owner, check out this free training video Creating a Business Mindset. There are over 50 free training videos for Virtual Assistants on my Youtube channel.