The Long Game of Networking Pt. 2

Networking Pt. 2

In August, the Association of Virtual Assistants is highlighting the value of networking on our monthly blog, podcast, and LinkedIn newsletter. Be sure to read our previous blog on The Long Game of Networking Pt. 1

In last week’s blog, we talked about the benefits of having a networking strategy. Now we’re going to help you create a strategy. 

  • Create a Networking Budget

Not all the networking groups you join will have a fee. However, there should be at least one group you are willing to invest in. The key word is investing. This lets you know that their members are also serious about networking. It’s a great reminder to you as well. A reminder that you have invested in networking and you want to get the most out of your investment which means devoting time and energy to it. 

You might also include networking events fees for dinners, coffees, lunches, gas, etc. 

  • Determine How Far Out of Your Comfort Zone You Are Willing
    To Go

Getting outside of your comfort zone isn’t always a necessity if you’re someone who likes to network and is committed to it for the long game. However, if you’re someone who struggles to find the time and energy to network, don’t set yourself up for failure. Find a networking strategy that matches your communication style, with a group of people whom you look forward to seeing at each event, and at a time you’re comfortable committing to. This might be before or after your scheduled working hours or during your work. There are plenty of networking events and groups that will meet your criteria once you establish the criteria itself. 

  • Decide the Most Important Purpose of Your Networking 

Not all groups network and connect for the same reason. If you are looking for business support, find the group that supports you in business. If you’re looking for clients, then find a group where you think your clients are likely to be networking as well. Networking with a community of like-minded people, possibly a group that networks to support a singular cause or organization that is also a great place to start. 

The purpose of defining the group is so you can ensure you are getting exactly what you want out of it. It’s not that you can’t or won’t get all three from one networking group, but groups rarely exist solely to do all three. 

  • Set Your Intention 

Setting your intention for each event you attend is crucial to your strategy. An intention might be to meet one person whom you’d like to follow up with and get to know better. Your intention might be to meet two interesting people from fields and/or industries you’re not familiar with. Maybe it’s to practice your elevator pitch and describe your ideal clients. A great intention could be to provide at least one person with valuable information. This is the go-giver mentality. 

A go-giver refers to a person who has the great attributes of a successful person. A basic attribute is the ability to take your eyes off yourself and focus on adding value to the lives of others. While it may seem counterintuitive, this is the person who accomplishes the most.

Constantly thinking of what someone else could do for you instead of entertaining the idea of you being of value to someone is not the mindset of a successful person. 

  • Know You Have Something To Offer

Many VAs shy away from networking because they dislike talking about themselves. If you lead as a go-giver, then you will already be focusing on someone else. Focusing on the needs, desires, frustrations, and interests of others, you’ll be able to respond with value – even when you’re talking about your business, services, and yourself. 

The key is to begin with active listening so that you can reach the person you’re speaking to and/or the audience in a way that shows you’ve been listening because you’re able to provide a solution. 


  • Network With Consistency 

You could do all the above but if you’re not consistent, it won’t matter. You never know when an opportunity will come knocking on your door. You must be consistent. Many business owners have an unspoken rule that they won’t do business with someone who comes to a group just once. They want to see if you’re coming back and are committed to the group or just your own sales goals. Particularly when making a referral they want to know that the referral is good enough to associate their name with. This takes you consistently allowing people to get to know you and establishing trust.

Networking is one of the most powerful business strategies you can use to grow your virtual assistant business. Never forget that networking is the process of making connections and building relationships. The best networking is not transactional and the relationships formed can provide you with advice and contacts, which you would have not had access to otherwise. Remember that someone is looking to network with someone just like you!