“It’s not about who you know, but about who knows you.” Hotep
Ah! The power and possibilities that come with networking…
Over the past few weeks I’ve taken my business beyond the typical 9-5 hours. Now that I’m moving into a stage of becoming a true entrepreneur, this has meant that by day, I work and by night I NETWORK. This personal goal has allowed me to connect, reconnect and meet new people. Atlanta is popularly known for it’s nightlife, but there’s also a thriving market of entrepreneurs, small business owners who are looking to build and to expand their market.
I fall into that category. So with that said, I made a commitment to myself to tell more people about who I am and what I have to offer. Networking can be a struggle or it can be simple. I’ve had a few experiences of both recently.
The first networking event I attended was The NetParty Social: An Elegant Evening, held at Livingston at the Georgia Terrace Hotel. It was a really great event. The environment was very upscale but the atomosphere was very inviting. It was very informal and people were comfortable mixing and exchanging business cards. The interesting thing was that this particular mixer was directed primarily towards singles within the city. “Oh, I wasn’t aware of that part,” I mentioned to someone when exchanging information. As the night went on it became a little more obvious. Still, the event was great and then it was on to the next one.
The following week a friend of mine invited me to another business social. This event was a little more exclusive than the one I’d attended the week prior and it required that you have your own business. “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” Ask, me later, but I decided to wear a leopard print dress to this event. I wondered to myself if it was appropriate, but when I walked into the Del Jou Art Gallery I realized I was dressed just fine.
The event, Taste of SBC, was strictly for business owners. I met quite a few people from various professions; event planners, photographers, videographers, etc. The atmosphere here was way more lively as there was a live DJ and entertainment. Caterers and boutique owners set up booths offering samples (tastes) of their inventory. I had the opportunity to observe some unique jewelry, and try authentic Indian cuisine. I even had some curry kabobs which was probably my favorite, but then again, I didn’t try the alcohol infused cupcakes a few of my friends were raving about. It was definitely an interesting evening.
I enjoyed the event and was sure I’d made a few real connections. The great thing was that a few of the same people I talked with at the last networking event were also at this one. We saw a pattern and felt maybe the connection was going to be with the group of us.
The most recent event I attended was the Kickboard Kouture Spring mixer. I admit I was being bias in my actions. The reasons behind my intentions of going was not to mix, mingle, network or anything. It was to support friends who I’d known since middle school. When I met Kristie and Donnell we were all going through puberty. Years later, I hear that the two who were just friends in middle, were now engaged and coming to Atlanta to feature and promote Donnell’s fashion line he’s been working on for years. There’s a love story in there, but I digress…
The mixer was held at Halo Lounge off of West Peachtree Street on a Saturday evening. I was so excited and looking forward to seeing old friends. Since I wasn’t thinking of this being a networking event, I went very relaxed. Hey I was even planning on staying for the after party. (Halo is Saturday night hangout for anyone looking for weekend plans. The music is great. You should go.) However, the night proved that if you’re in business for yourself, you should always be prepared.
I met a lot of great people and made some really good connections. I was even able to refer a few of my friends of particular backgrounds and interests who weren’t there. It was definitely my kind of vibe. Thankfully, I had a stack of professional business cards that were making a great impression. Be on the lookout for more events to come.
In the meantime, please visit http://www.kickboardking.com and check out their line of customized kouture clothing. It’s worth it and yes, I’m saying this because I know them, but also because it’s good.
Until next time…