During my dreaming phase of starting a business, this is the part I always skipped over.

I knew what I loved to do and how I wanted to use my expertise to help others. I could visualize working with them! But getting from launch (Point A) to working with clients (Point B) was lost in the glow of anticipating how wonderful it would be.

I hoped it would be as easy as saying, “Hey, world! Here I am! This is how I can help you!” And the clients would be lining up. It didn’t happen that way. At all. Not even one tiny bit.

I had heard of networking but I had a very dim view of it. I assumed it involved being surrounded by strangers in a bar, business cards in hand, unsure how to strike up a conversation. A friend asked if I had ever heard of BNI (Business Networking International). I had not. I looked them up and liked the set up. It involved meeting people during the day! I visited a chapter, submitted an application and was off to the races.

Since that first step, I’ve learned that networking opportunities abound. Some are structured like BNI. Some are, in fact, happy hours. Some are leads groups. Some are based on building relationships. Some are based on business types. Some are restrictive. Some embrace an abundance mentality. Some are workshop based. Some are centered on events. First and foremost, make no mistake, networking is essential. Referrals are the best way to build your business. I am happy to report that networking isn’t the bane of entrepreneurs, it is a blessing to entrepreneurs. Next week I will share more about that.

Feel free to share some of your networking favorites. Polka Dot Powerhouse is mine!

Next up: The Two Sides of Networking