The Importance of Networking in Business – Episode 86

Networking in Business

Networking is so powerful for any business because as the saying goes, “your network is your net worth.” It’s all about having meaningful relationships and connections with people who can guide you, inspire you, help you, and vice versa. I’ve invited Ash of Fusion Biz Co to share with us why networking is key to business success. She’s also going to talk about the top benefits business owners will see once they start to network and how you can make it fun for you. It’s a really fun and information-filled episode!

Important Links Mentioned in the Show:

Fuzion Biz Babes Website

Fuzion Biz Babes Instagram

Ash Matkovic Instagram

Mark Mason Books: Everything is F*cked: A Book About Hope and The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck

Action Takers with Angela Henderson

Angela Henderson Consulting Instagram

Profit Pillars

Business Masterclass – The Ultimate 4-Step Framework for Creating a Sustainable and Profitable Business

Women in Business Retreat 2020

Angela Henderson Active Business Facebook Group

Angela Henderson Website

Angela Henderson Facebook Business Page

Prefer to read The Importance of Networking in Business? Here’s the transcript:

ANGELA:

You’re listening to the Business and Life Conversations Podcast with Angela Henderson, Episode 86.

Hey there, you’re listening to the Business and Life Conversations Podcast. My name is Angela Henderson and on this show, we talk about improving your business, life or both, by having amazing and rich conversations with brilliant guests who will inspire you and who will give you tips and tricks to help you grow both in life and in business. 

Well, hey there and welcome back to another awesome episode of the Business and Life Conversations Podcast. I am your host Ange, from Angela Henderson Consulting where I am a Business Consultant and Coach who has helped hundreds of amazing women business owners get all the pieces in place to have consistent five-figure months and then on to six-figure years without burning out in the process.

As the saying goes, your network is your net worth. Let that sink in for a minute – your network is your net worth. I know for a fact that the biggest reason why my business currently, Angela Henderson Consulting, is where it is today, and where my first business, Finlee and Me, was where it was, was because of the importance I placed on networking. 

Making relationships, having conversations, making connections, investing and to be surrounded by amazing people. People who were smarter than me, people who were able to guide me, enrich me and take my businesses way beyond places that I personally was able to do alone. I was surrounded by like-minded people.

And it’s through these connections that I was able to help out other businesses, other businesses are able to help me, and it just goes on and on and on. You build this really rich and amazing ecosystem of awesome people. And it’s through that your business just grows and grows and grows, but equally, you, too, grow as a person.

So today’s episode is all about the power of networking. Now, some of you may want to crawl into a corner and/or potentially start rocking with the thought of networking, the thought of having to shower, the thought of having to speak with people, the thought of having to get in your car and go somewhere. I know it can all be too intimidating; it can all be too much. But you’re going to have to get uncomfortable in business because when you get uncomfortable, growth happens.

So today’s episode, I’m bringing on the amazing Ash, from Fusion Biz Co who’s going to share with us why networking is key to business success, what are the top benefits businesses can see when they start to network? She’s also going to be talking about networking made fun because sometimes networking can be a bit, a little bit boring, but she adds this really great, rich fusion of fun to it, and we’re going to talk about so much more. It’s going to be a super fun episode.

But before we hop straight into this amazing episode, I’d like to remind you that if you enjoy this episode, I would love for you to share your key takeaway, a fun fact, or anything you found interesting from the podcast today over on your Instagram stories, and then tagging me with the @angelahendersonconsulting. I would love it and it would simply make my day.

This episode is also sponsored by my 12-month group coaching program, Profit Pillars, which helps women in business create consistent 5+ figure months. My 12-month group coaching program is for women business owners who are ready to take action to grow a sustainable and profitable business.

The program includes the complete Profit Pillar’s training system, complete with videos, PDF guides and more; monthly live strategy sessions, monthly hot seat calls, monthly master classes with guest experts, 24-hour access to my private Facebook community, world-class member support, special bonuses and so much more.

To learn how you can join my 12-month group coaching program, you can head to angelahenderson.com.au and simply click on, ‘I Want Help Creating 5+K Months.’ Now, let’s get into this amazing episode.

Welcome to the show, Ash.

ASH:

Thank you for having me.

ANGELA:

Oh my goodness. I’m super excited. We were talking pre-recording as I do with majority of all my guests that come on and we were trying to like work out, you said something like, “Anj, how did you find me? Like, how did you know about me?” And I just remember seeing something on Instagram and what I loved about one of your posts was about is that you had two of my favourite all-time words in there and they were connection and network. And I was like, “Oh my gosh. This lady is speaking my language.”

And then, as we all do, we do a mini stalk and I found out that you love events and you just love bringing people together and there’s something; if anyone who’s following me for a long time know I’m all about conversations equal conversion. I’m a big believer that if you connect with people, not only for your own personal growth but for your business growth, good things happen. 

And as we’re taking pre-recording, you know, in a world where everything is getting so busy with technology and deadlines and this and then the other, people are actually forgetting the importance of connection. And I believe the old is going to become the new again and those coffee dates, and the meet-ups, and the networking events that you epically run over in Perth are going to be making a big come back.

ASH:

Yeah.

ANGELA:

And so, yes. So that’s why I knew I had to have you on today to talk about the importance of networking in business. But before we kind of get into the nitty-gritty, I always like to ask a fun question so that the audience gets to know you a little bit more, Ash. And my question to you is I was looking at your Instagram feed. And listen, as you can see clearly today, I’m in a bun, hair is back and I’m in my tracky dax, as most people know that is 99% of my time. 

And I was admiring your elegance in your photos. You’re very elegant and vibrant with your coloured choices and I was like, “Man. I’ve got a little bit of envy. She’s got great choice of clothes.” And so my question to you is, you have so many beautiful, different dresses. My question is what all-time dress company; like who do you just absolutely love and what’s your favourite colour?

ASH:

Oh my gosh, that is so funny because I do not see myself like that at all.

ANGELA:

Interesting though, you’re so elegant. 

ASH:

Oh my gosh, that’s so nice to hear because I don’t think that; because I had a baby several months ago. I literally haven’t been shopping since I’ve had her. But to answer your question, probably, when I was pregnant, definitely, [Inaudible 00:06:06} aren’t they amazing? And since there are like, I think like I said, I haven’t been shopping but I would say [Inaudible 00:06:12] is my favourite.

And colour-wise, I don’t know, I thought it was just white. Like, I like lighter, brighter colours just because I feel like it suits my brand better and especially when I’m at events, which probably is when you see the photos when I’m looking a bit more glam. Right now I have my hair in a bun just like you. Yeah. I feel like white and bright; when you someone that’s dressed white and bright, you just feel happy and that’s what I like to do at events. 

ANGELA:

Yup. And I can feel already, just like again, we were talking before, there’s this positive warmth and energy that comes from you, Ash. And I can only imagine if I can feel that energy through a computer screen, chatting to you and hearing you, I can only imagine the warmth that you would bring to your networking events and supporting the women that you’re doing business.

ASH:

Oh, you are too kind. Keep going. 

ANGELA:

No, no, no. You can just tag with the podcast about networking in business, just, I’m feeling good. 

ASH:

Thanks. I appreciate that. 

ANGELA:

So obviously, we’ve got the dress company good, we’ve got your colour good, we know that again, you’re this vibrant person. But tell us a little bit more about where you started in business, and I think you started four years ago, and where you’re at now? What does that look like for you?

ASH:

Yeah. So I first started; I actually started running events when I’ve moved back from London and I was only running social networking events so I wanted to make new friends in Perth. Because if anyone from Perth is listening, it can be quite cliquey and all my friends had moved back to the country because I went to boarding school. So I wanted to meet new people.

So I was doing that and I was starting to grow the business, obviously, and I wanted to meet new people in business because those are the people that inspire me. I really wanted to get around people who are like growing something big, who are living their values and all of that. So I started going to networking events about four years ago. I mean, the landscape has changed a lot since then.

ANGELA:

Yes.

ASH:

About four years ago, networking events were very, very different and they were a very different demographic; if you know what I mean. 

ANGELA:

Yes.

ASH:

I was running events, but I knew there was a market out there, I knew there were women starting to start their own businesses and I wanted to be around them. So I thought, “I’m running events, why not try running an event for women in business?” And I did, and long story short, here we are today. Like, I have grown, it took off. People liked it and they started coming to my events. And they started off small, like 12, only 12 people around the table talking about their real issues in business.

ANGELA:

Yup.

ASH:

And then, I launched the membership a year or two after that because I wanted that online and offline connection; I wanted that. Because running the events, different people come every time and they don’t have a reason to keep coming back.

ANGELA:

Right.

ASH:

So starting the membership was a huge game-changer in my business because people had that reason to keep coming back and they were meeting people in person, and they were building those connections even stronger online as well, and that’s where the real friendships have come in. Like, most of my good friends now are in business.

So, yeah. And so the membership has now grown to 220 women in business in Perth, which I think is amazing because Perth is not that big and my big goal was 200 members and now we’re here. So, yeah. So that’s where we are today. 

ANGELA:

That is fantastic. I mean, like you said, you started out, you’ve come back from London, you saw the gap in the market. Was there a pivotal moment for you when you’re like, “Shit’s got to change.” Like, this switching of business cards, let’s be honest, typical; like high male demographic; it still happens here in Brisbane. I mean, it is what it is. But was there a pivotal moment where you’re like, “We’re going to change this shit up. We’re going to bring the magic.” 

ASH:

Yeah, kind of. I went to an event that was in a room; I’m very visual, so I went to an event that was in a room that had no windows. So it was so dark and dingy and I was probably the only one of three women in the room, and most of them are men and these people just throwing business cards around.

And I just thought, like, “I don’t necessarily want to buy people’s stuff, I just want to get to know you. I want to get to know what your challenges are, and if they’re the same as mine, and if we can help each other and all of that.” So I went away from that event, and I was like, “Yeah. I can do it better. I know I can.”  And I did, and I just put it out there. And yeah, here we are.

ANGELA:

And here we are. And again, as we know, that saying, and it’s spoken about very often, but it is so true – people buy from people.

ASH:

Yes.

ANGELA:

So if you actually get to know them first, again, that conversations equal conversions. If you just treat people kindly, right? And get to know them, the world is a better place. And as many people have heard on the other episodes of the podcast, I talk often about; mentors of mine had said, “Oh, you put too much time and care into your community. You’re not going to be able to go to a seven-figure business.” And I always go, “If that happens, well, then, I’m okay with that,” because people are humans and they want to be treated like humans.

ASH:

Yes. We’re not a follower, we are not a sale. We’re more than that. 

ANGELA:

Exactly. But like you said, it’s not just about getting that quick sales, but like, what happens after the event? How can you guys support each other? Maybe you guys become family friends. Like, there’s so many positive things that could come up, but so many people have been told the wrong selling techniques.

Talk about this educating; as I’m sure you know even at your own events that like all about having a business card, I don’t dispute that. But I’m also like, with the world of technology today, I don’t know how many times I go, “Listen, I actually forgot my business cards. But if you just give me your phone, I’ll friend request you now. Let’s just connect.” I’m like, “Really? Let’s just cut to the chase. We’re all going to end up in each other’s network, so we might as well just be friends now.”

ASH:

Yeah. I actually don’t have a business card. If I’m at an event and I meet someone that I want to know, I’d say, “Oh, what’s your Insta handle?” And I’ll just follow them. 

ANGELA:

Exactly right. Like, there’s so many ways now that you don’t have to have the business card. And I know a lot of people, also, speaking of business cards, there are so many business owners that are starting out that I know is it’s a slight tangent, but they’re going to like, they worry about their business card. They worry about this. I’m like, “Just get a sale?”

ASH:

Yes.

ANGELA:

Don’t; like, if the amount of time you look Googling for business cards and do you get this colour or that colour, this blue or that colour, whatever, and then you go into Facebook groups asking people, “Do you think this logo looks great? Do you think I should do this?” And you’ve just spent 14 hours from designing like a business card and you still don’t have any money in the bank, screw the business card. 

Like, genuinely, just start selling and go from there, you now? There’s obviously, yes, other foundational elements that I am very big about, but it’s like, really, if you had to choose between a business card and selling, sell. Don’t get hooked into those little things that aren’t going to make you any money.

ASH:

Exactly. And make sure the market is there for what you want to offer. Even if you don’t have anything to sell, just get out there and meet people rather than thinking about what they want. Have conversations, find out what they want and then figure out what you can serve them. 

ANGELA:

Exactly right. If there’s a gap, and I also say very often, you can’t polish a turd. So if there’s a gap; like you did, you found a gap. There’s a gap for beautiful networking events for women in business in Perth and you’re killing it, right? So again, you found a gap, you executed it, you’re capitalizing, which is brilliant. 

So now, we can talk about the beauty of events and all of that. But do you feel that networking though is key to success in business? Do you think it’s a component of it? Do you think like; where do you rank networking and contributing that business success?

ASH:

Well, obviously, I would rank it number one because that is my business. But also, if you’re networking, it has the flow and effect to every other part of your business. I think the number one barrier for people making success in business is their mindset, and the thing that can help you with your mindset is getting around people that are going to help you through the tough times.

Because inevitably, you are going to have tough times in business and you are going to come up with fears and limiting beliefs and things like that. But if you can go to a group of people who understand what you’re going through and had that same thought yesterday and can give you tips and advice to get you through it and that you know that you’re not alone, then, that you’re going to push on, aren’t you?

So I think networking; and also, I mean, I don’t promote selling in my networking group. I say, “Don’t join because you want to sell your business.” But ultimately, that is what happens. People buy from people they know, like and trust. If you make the time to get to know people and build relationships, eventually, friendships, then people are going to want to buy from you.

If you’re a hairdresser and you’re in the group, you’re making effort in there all the time. If they’re thinking, “Oh, I need a new hairdresser. Oh, who do I know? Yeah, that’s right. Actually down the road in Fusion. She can cut my hair. I’m going to go to her.” I’m not going to Google or find someone…

ANGELA:

Or even just, I could assume just the referral pathways and the cross-promotion of each other, right? Like, “Oh, I met this person at Fusion’s networking and we did this. Let me connect you with them.”

ASH:

Yes.

ANGELA:

Like, this is the magic that happens post-event when you’re not in the room and people are still talking about you in a positive way. 

ASH:

Yeah, exactly. For sure. I think there’s like so many magical things that can happen from networking. It’s just that people have to push through that nervousness, and then, they get to the magic on the other side.

ANGELA:

And also, would you think that you’ve got to find the right networking, too, right?

ASH:

Yeah.

ANGELA:

Like, there is so much bad networking, right? So, like I, when I first started, obviously, because when you first started, you don’t have copious amounts of money. Even now, you still don’t have copious amounts, but you’re doing better than where you were. And I just remember like, you would go to free events and they’re pitching.

And then I got smarter, I was like, “Well, hold on. I’m going to start paying for like a $10 and $20 and $30.” And the more money you do invest, typically, alright? The better the event, the better quality of the people. People’s mindsets’ are a little bit stronger. It’s not as toxic, it’s not as cliquey.

But just know that when you start out, if you’re not prepared to invest in a particular event that some of the detriment is going to be, you’re going to get some of those business card shit, okay? So would you agree? 

ASH:

Yeah. To an extent, I would agree. But, yeah, I guess so. Definitely. And also, you want to be the dumbest person in the room.

ANGELA:

Totally. Amen. Amen.

ASH:

Yeah. And obviously, if you’re spending more, you’re going to be getting more. But my membership is not expensive, but it’s a different market. It is kind of like the startup in growth phase kind of people. And that’s okay, too. Just getting around those kind of people that are actually doing something with their life and not complaining; not complaining and that mindset of being stuck.

ANGELA:

But your membership people, I would suspect is I believe, whenever a transaction takes place, transformation forms, right?

ASH:

Oh, yes, yes.

ANGELA:

And so, because they’re either paying to go to your event, or they’re paying to be in the membership, or whatever that looks like, right? Their mindset is already, just by that, stronger, right? Because they know they’re prepared to invest. It doesn’t matter; like I said, it could be $10, $20, $30-event and that’s okay, but they’re still prepared to invest, they’re still prepared to surround themselves by beautiful, educated, funny people that are going to help uplift them, right?

ASH:

Yup.

ANGELA:

But I found, like so many people, like again, when they’ve been like consuming my podcast content or consuming my blog articles or whatever, I still help them. But they’ve said to me so many times over, “Anj, but when I work with you, all the pieces just fell into a row.” Like there was this transformation and I think it really can only occur holistically. And so the fact that you’ve done that with like, did you say, 220 people? You would see an enormous transformation.

ASH:

Exactly. Yeah. And then put some skin in the game. When they started paying, they’re like, “I want to get my value from this.”

ANGELA:

Exactly. 

ASH:

“So I’m going to start going, I’m going to start doing, doing what they say.” Yeah.

ANGELA:

So, yes. So I think, woohoo, yey. Because again, transactions equal transformation.

ASH:

I like that. 

ANGELA:

I also think that there’s that saying that they talk about, your network equals your net worth.

ASH:

Yup. 

ANGELA:

And when I first heard that years ago, I didn’t really think much about it. And then one day, I was just, I saw it again and I was like, it just; I was like, “Kaching.” It is so true that your network is your net worth because as we just talked about, those women that you’ve become friends with within your membership is they’re just cross-pollinating and referring and like freely, happily. And we know the power of word of mouth, right? So when you start to build that network, it’s going to just like blossom. What do you think about that?

ASH:

Yeah. I totally agree. For sure. But I think for a lot of people, it’s just hard to get out there and get out behind their Instagram, behind their laptop. But once they do and they even just meet one person for coffee, and then, I think once you see the magic that that starts to bring, then they’re like, “I need to throw myself into this.” So yeah, like even just starting small and getting out there, and you don’t have to have a huge network.

ANGELA:

No.

ASH:

But one by one, you eventually wake up one day, and you’ll be like, “Wow. I do know heaps of people,” and people start asking you for referrals and things like that. And yeah, it becomes this web, this web of network and it’s just amazing.

ANGELA:

And that web, like I said, I also think of the web is like it’s building your ecosystem, right? It’s all these other people who become your advertising agents and you become theirs because you know them for who they are and what they stand for because you’ve had so much time together that’s not in the screen, but in an intimate-like environment where they can sit and have a conversation and have a drink together, laugh together – the power of it is so magnificent.

And which leads me to, I guess, my next question is what have you found since starting the business and the membership are the key benefits when it comes to networking?

ASH:

Yeah. So I was thinking the best way to answer that is to share some of the stories of my members that they’ve told me the benefits they’ve got from joining Fusion.

ANGELA:

Yeah.

ASH:

And a lot of these women have been with me from the start, so they’re inputting good two years into their networking as well. But one girl, Brooke, from Villa Management; I’m not sure if you’ve heard of her but she’s really big in Perth. She came to one of my very first events; it was just a coffee catch-up, we’re just ten of us. And we all went around the room and we said what our biggest challenge was. 

And all of us pretty much said social media, like getting social media to work for your business. And that just came natural to her, but her business at that point was running events. And so, she pivoted her whole business to be teaching businesses social media, and to this day, like she’s got a  massive following in Perth and she’s got like more than a six-figure. She’s doing amazing and she credits Fusion to helping her make that pivot. 

ANGELA:

That is fantastic.

ASH:

So that’s it, just one conversation has like changed her whole business model. And another girl; so many, so many women in the group have joined and then a few months later been able to quit their day jobs. I mean that was a huge thing for me; like I hated my day job, and getting around the right people who are already working for themselves who are just a few steps ahead of me was a massive catalyst for me being able to quit my job.

Because I thought to myself, “If they can do it, I can do it.” So that’s just another mindset, being getting around those people. And even I remember having a conversation with one of my business friends when I was about to quit my job and they had offered me to go part-time and I was thinking about it. And she said to me, “No, Ash. You’re ready. Go all in. You can do this.”

ANGELA:

Yup.

ASH:

And I’m so thankful that she said that because it’s two years on now and I did quit my job and I’m so happy for it. I just think of myself every day that I don’t have to get up and go to a job that I hate. 

ANGELA:

Gosh. I could think of nothing worse having to do that.

ASH:

I know. It was the worst. I felt like my soul died a little bit every time I go in. Yeah. And so, another girl, Rache, she has expanded her business so much and she’s actually my kinesiologist and she sent me a beautiful message. She said, “Look. I never expected to get clients. All I wanted to do was come and meet like-minded people.” But she’s actually expanded her business; like she’s booked out now. Like, amazing, hey?

ANGELA:

Dude, that’s so awesome. Because again, it’s like, she’s changing worlds, like other people’s lives, right? Through her business of kinesiology, which is like, it’s not just what’s in it for her but all those lives that she’s touching because she came to the networking, grew her referral base and now look at where she is. That’s fantastic.

ASH:

I know. I know. I’m so proud of her and I love kinesiology, by the way.

ANGELA:

Like a side note, kinesiology.

ASH:

Yes.

ANGELA:

I would also say like, someone, like I’ve been a mental health clinician of 15 years. I’ve also suffered depression and anxiety. We’re about to hit, I think, I don’t know; I don’t know how long it’s been since I’m in remission, but it’s been a while now; over a year, which has been fantastic. But I also know networking also helps to decrease that loneliness.

Mark Mason is that latest book I think it is, where he talks about; he’s the guy who wrote The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck. And he talks about, in the world that we’re at right now, our depression, our rates of depression or the highest they’ve ever been and our suicide rates and the highest they’ve ever been in Australia alone, we know what the data, 8 people take their lives every single day.

ASH:

Oh my God.

ANGELA:

When you add a business to that and you have all the financial stressors and everything else, getting out in networking not only helps to decrease that overall loneliness but helps to increase your mood, your spirit and everything else because you now, like you’re not just sitting in your office. Like, almost becoming a little bit paranoid because you’re like, “Oh, should I do this? Should I do this? Do they mean that?” That you’ve actually got someone else to bounce ideas off of.

ASH:

Yeah. 100%

ANGELA:

Yeah. And so, I just think it’s such a beautiful thing; the power of networking, not just for business but just for your own personal growth. And I think that you said, what I just want to touch upon is that mindset, right? Is mindset, I too, believe is 80 to 90% of businesses’ success and equally failure, alright? 

And that, so many people, when they come to me and I start working with them either in my mastermind or my group coaching program or whatever that is, is they think they need help with sales, they think they need help with, I don’t know, say going to a networking event; they think they need all that.

But the reality of it is, it’s their mindset that they need to shift because if they continue to hold on to those beliefs and those stories, you’re never going to; you will still grow, but it’s going to be a much slower pace because you’re going to self-sabotage a lot of your success or failures along the way.

ASH

Yeah. 100%. And back to what you were saying about the loneliness is that sense of belonging; like there’s even a campaign around that on TV, Act-Belong-Commit. If you can find the right group for you and the people that you really connect with, you will have a sense of belonging that can last a lifetime. And I think that is; because we are, I feel like it’s meant to be a more connected world with social media, but it’s making us more isolated because people are thinking, “I’m connecting on social media, I do belong.” But no, there’s this wall, there’s this wall up.

ANGELA:

The disconnect is profound.

ASH:

Yes, it is. And it breaks my heart. And don’t get me wrong, I do love social media, but I think there’s a place for that and there’s a place for in-person connection and we cannot forget that in-person connection.

ANGELA:

And I know like even, I mean, the fact that they’re now having to do social skills training to kids because of their addiction to Ipads and electronics and technology holistically is like I go, “What the beep?” I’m like, “Really?” Our kids should be out playing and so forth. But it’s the same thing, it’s like, I remember when I was growing up in Canada. You would just literally, my mom, we would just get in the car and we would just go to her girlfriend’s house, and we’d just walk in and put the coffee on, the kids would play.

Well, here, it’s like I feel, even with some of my friends, like, “Hey, are you busy?” There’s always like, “Oh, no, sorry. You can’t come over right now because I’m doing XYZ.” Whereas like, even 40 years ago when all of that was going on, you can just walk in in someone’s home and you are welcome. Whereas now, there’s all these like restrictions about what to do, how to do, when to come in, when to not to come in. The world is funny.

So again, going back to the more you can get out and network, you’re going to not only increase your brand awareness, really again, start to create that network, which is going to equal your net worth, you’re going to decrease your loneliness, you’re going to be working on your mindset, not to mention the encouragement, building your self-esteem, and your confidence. And ultimately, you will start to see your profit and revenue go up because it’s inevitable. People will start knowing you and refer. 

ASH:

Exactly. You just set that up so well then, that is perfect. That is a perfect explanation of networking. I need to put that on my website. 

ANGELA:

I’m going to copy this.

ASH:

No, that is so true. Like I said, networking can help in every area, but you just need to get through those five minutes of nervousness.

ANGELA:

Yup. Because obviously, as we were talking about, I run Australia’s leading 4-Day, 3-Night Women in Business Retreat and I know I actually call every one of the people who are attending my event about two to three weeks out.

ASH:

Yeah.

ANGELA:

We just have a chat. I don’t give it to my VA, I do it myself. And I’ll just be like, “Hey, how are you?” And the amount of people that have said to me, “Anj, you know how awesome that was that you called us. But be that like, it just decreased my anxiety. Like, I was a bit nervous, but then I was okay because it was like, okay, Anj said it’s going to be okay. I just needed to hear it.”

And I could have written that on the internet. But them hearing it and having the, like kind of, “It’s going to be okay. We’ve got the welcome dinner and then we’ll do this. So by the time we get to day one, everyone will pretty much know each other,” and blah, blah, blah. So it is, if you can get through those nerves, it’s such a bonus. 

ASH:

That is so beautiful that you call all of them. Like, not a lot of businesses would do that so you should be so proud. 

ANGELA:

Thanks for that. Yeah, one of the things that I do speak a lot about is human to human marketing. It’s kind of like my jam and it’s about creating the experience and the interaction one faces with the brand. And most people will either have the experience, but they won’t have the interaction, or they’ll have the interaction but not the experience.

And so, for me, it’s really important, the time when people, again, some of my mentors had said, “Don’t do it.” Again, it’s really, really, really important for me to have those connections. Every group coaching client that starts with me gets a one-to-one phone call by me. Everyone that comes into my mastermind gets a phone call from me. I just block the time out because to me, it’s part of my core values – connection. And that’s how I can demonstrate that. So yeah, that’s super important for me. 

ASH:

Yeah. I love it.

ANGELA:

Now, one of your sayings that I saw when I was mini stalking you at the beginning, which again, I knew that I was going to like you is that you say, “Networking made fun.”

ASH:

Yes.

ANGELA:

Is what you talk about. And so, what does networking not fun look like, alright? And then, I want to talk about what networking made fun at your events look like?

ASH:

Yeah. I think networking sometimes have some bad connotations to it, so as much as my business is a networking business, I need to put that in my bio because I want people to know that it can be fun, but not only so imperative to your success. So networking not fun to me is like you being nervous and awkward and small talk and salesy. Like, I feel like that is what people think of when they think of networking.

ANGELA:

Yup.

ASH:

And I never wanted Fusion to be like. And I started that to kind of quell all of that, turn on its head and show people that networking can be fun. So for me, so to kind of quell the nervousness, what I do is we have ambassadors. So we have six ambassadors that I make sure if they can be at the events that they’re there and they’re the people that are welcoming all of the guests in. 

I mean, these are the women that came to all my events anyway and they are part of the core Fusion groups since the start. So when I asked them if they wanted to be an ambassador, they were like, “Of course, because I come anyway.” And they were the ones that are over-the-top friendly, and they’re the warm, you know? You instantly meet them and you love them. 

ANGELA:

You’re like, “I like these people.” Yup.

ASH:

Yeah. So I wanted all; as the membership grew, we’re getting up to 50 people at our monthly events now and I knew that I couldn’t work on everyone that came in, so I had to put someone in place that would make sure they still feel that welcome. So, yeah. So they agree to be an ambassador, they introduce to someone straight away, so just to kind of like quell that nervousness as soon as they walk in because I know that it’s that first five minutes of as soon as you walk in, having to butt into a conversation saying, “Hey.” I hated doing that. 

ANGELA:

Yup.

ASH:

So I just wanted to try and stop that as much as I could and make it easy for them as much as I could. So, yes. And then also, cutting to small talk. So at our monthly events, what I do is they’re seated; so everyone sits down at a roundtable and then we have a mini mastermind style discussions. So I try to cut through that small talk as quick as possible because I hate small talk.

I’m an introvert and I hate small talk. So I just find it so boring and dull and I feel like I want to know you at the core. So I try and facilitate those conversations by getting everyone to share what they’re business is about, share a win and then share a challenge that they’re currently going through. And then, on their table, they kind of mastermind it so if someone’s been through that experience before, they can share what helped them. And then after, like, it kind of opens up that door for everyone to have real conversations.

So that’s what we do with the small talk. And then, and salesy, I make sure in my sales messaging that you shouldn’t be joining Fusion if you want to make a sale. And whilst that is the icing on the cake; sometimes it’s not the reason why you should join. So I make sure that it’s not, and we do have a lot of members now so that stuff may still happen without me seeing or without me knowing. But those people generally don’t stick around. 

ANGELA:

Yup. And I guess one of the other things that I notice about you on your Instagram page and I think Instagram stories, too, at your last event was that you; like it’s just, it feels fun, it looks fun. You’ve got like great, big windows, so it’s not just about making people feel welcome, but the environment that you’ve placed them in is very warm and welcoming, which is going to reduce their anxieties, naturally. 

And like I know, I saw some of you guys doing some dancing. And just like, it’s like a very fun, whereas, when you think about those, like again some of the networking events that I walked to, it’s just like, you said, no windows, people, men in suits, sitting down, handing out business cards, right? Like, there’s not a lot of vibrancy. 

But yeah, when I’ve seen you, I was like, “Oh, yup.” It makes me want to be there and I would imagine it would be social media’s best treat because the fear missing out would be in so many people. Like, “Oh my God. I should have been there. I should have got behind the computer screen.” Because it does, it is very welcoming.

ASH:

Oh, good. Thank you. Yeah. No, that’s what I hoped is portrayed on social media and we do get a lot of people saying, “Oh, massive FOMO.” Like, even if our members couldn’t make it. Luckily, we do film the event and put it in the member’s group so they can see it. But it’s still not the same as being there.

ANGELA:

No, not being there.

ASH:

Yeah.

ANGELA:

And for those people, I mean, a lot of people hate the thought of having to get dressed in the morning, let alone to go to a networking event. What are your top tips for those wanting to get to an event as a beginner, but just or a bit too nervous? Like, what would you say to them?

ASH:

Yeah. Well, I’m going to be a bit of a hardass here. Oh, sorry, am I allowed? 

ANGELA:

Yeah, that’s fine.

ASH:

Well, if you want to run a business, you’re going to have to get uncomfortable and you are just going to have to change; if you can change that nervous energy into excited energy because they’re very similar energy anyway, and just catching those thoughts. 

So when you’re thinking in your head, “Oh, I don’t want to go. What if I say the wrong thing?” Just catch those thoughts and just switched it around and think, “Oh my gosh. Who could I meet? What opportunities could await me? How am I going to be able to help someone?” So if you can change that thought pattern when you catch yourself doing it, you’ll feel a lot more comfortable walking in, walking in. 

Yeah. And if you have to, take a friend with you. Just get there, just do anything that’s going to make you feel comfortable to get there. And do you know what? If you don’t like going to big events, you don’t have to do networking that way. You can actually just, if you admire someone from Instagram, say, “Hey, I’ve loved chatting with you online. Let’s have a coffee.” 

ANGELA:

Yeah.

ASH:

That’s how networking is. You don’t actually have to go into a big event. And if you do that with enough people, you eventually will feel confident enough to actually go to an event because you will know people there already.

ANGELA:

Yeah. So like you said, be there. Potentially start small, have a coffee with someone. Maybe then bring that friend to the event and it just becomes that positive ripple effect.

ASH:

Yeah, that’s right. Yeah. There’s so many ways to networking, just do it your way.

ANGELA:

And once they get to an event, alright, big or small, you’ve made them obviously, for you, you’ve got your brand ambassadors there. They’re helping you, they’re welcoming; what would you suggest, like how can they make the most out of the event? Do you have any like do’s and don’ts that they should be following?

ASH:

Yeah. Maybe before you go, go with a purpose and think what do you want to get out of it. So if there’s 50 people there, obviously, you’re not going to be able to talk to 50 people, but maybe you could think to yourself, I want to have free, real conversations with people.

Or if you’re thinking, “I need a new website. I want to go and try and meet some people who could put me in touch with a web designer.” Or, “I’m having this challenge. I want to talk to people about this challenge.” So at least if you go with a  purpose, then you can come away feeling like you’ve got a lot of value from it. 

Some other ways, like, you could even ask the host to help out. If you’re feeling super nervous, if you go there, then you have a purpose. Even as an event host, I love all the help I can get. So if you’re feeling nervous, you could contact the host before and be like, “Hey, is there anything I could do? I’d be willing to help out.” 

And then you’re there, you’re maybe giving out name tags or whatever; you have a purpose and you have a purpose to meet people. So there’s ways that you can overcome being uncomfortable at events.

And then, also finally, after the event, make sure you follow up with people. Don’t just go there and then that’s it. Follow them on Instagram, comment on their things, keep building those relationships after you’ve been to the event. And I think that’s where you going to get the most value.

ANGELA:

Yeah, fantastic. And it’s like, again, there’s so much that can happen pre and during the event, and so many people do forget that post-event connection. And I would think, a knowledge I use often is it’s like again a bank account. You get what you take and put in, right? But if you’re not putting into the relationships, just like if you’re not putting money into the bank, you can’t take anything out.

So if it just stops at the event, well then just know that you’ve just, I guess, put a barrier into that relationship to some degree. So if you do meet someone, like you said, follow them up, have another conversation with them, ask them if you can help them in any way. Like, there’s so many beautiful things that you can do to keep that relationship going past the networking event. 

ASH:

Yeah, that’s right. And with their membership, that’s why I wanted to do that is because we do have our online space now to connect with each other. I mean, Instagram is amazing for that as well, but all of us in one place, we’re grouped together; it’s really powerful. Like, so much magic happens in there. 

ANGELA:

Yup. And that again, it just warmth everything just continues on. Well, this has been again a brilliant conversation with you today, Ash. I love, again I just love hearing, again, the importance of connecting with human beings because you speak my language so it has been so great having you on board today.

Where can people find you? Where can people follow you? I know you mentioned Instagram, I think that’s kind of your platform of choice. How can they find you?

ASH:

Yeah. So Instagram handle is @fusionbizbabes. We’re actually about to change the name, which is a bit exciting. We’re going to change to Fusion Biz Co just because I feel like we’re moving away from the terminology of babes and a lot of my members, I’ve been hearing a lot and I think you do need to change with the times.

A lot of our members are saying they don’t resonate with that, and therefore, they don’t feel comfortable with theory and I think that as you said, word of mouth is a big thing. So in the New Year, we’re actually going to change to Fusion Biz Co.

ANGELA:

Very fun.

ASH:

Yes. And my personal Instagram is @ashmatkovic and I share things about my business life, my mom life and my spiritual life as well, which I’m really into all that woo-woo stuff.

ANGELA:

No, dude, very, very exciting. And my final question to you is what do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started out in business?

ASH:

Oh, good question. I think probably, it’s never going to be comfortable and just get comfortable with being uncomfortable because at every levelling up, it’s been those thoughts going through your head. You’re always going to feel uncomfortable, but it’s going to feel better being uncomfortable than sitting in your safe space because then, you don’t really get to experience the amazing things that life has.

ANGELA:

Fantastic. I love it. And before we sign off, my team and I will also be putting together the whole transcription for this episode at angelahenderson.com.au. And as I mentioned earlier, if you enjoyed this episode, I would love for you to share it especially over on the Instagram stories by tagging me @angelahendersonconsulting or you can share really wherever. It just makes my heart seeing and I feel happy and I love Instagram story, so that would totally rock.

And if you do love this episode, I would also love for you to leave me a review because it also means that I can impact other women in business to help them grow sustainable and profitable businesses. 

Thanks so much for being on the show today, Ash, it was awesome having you. And for the rest of you, I hope you have a fabulous day and I look forward to you joining me again next week for another amazing episode of the Business and Life Conversations Podcast. Have a great day.

ASH:

Thanks, Anj.

ANGELA:

Thanks for listening to the Business and Life Conversations Podcast with Angela Henderson, Networking in Business. www.angelahenderson.com.au 

Angel Henderson Consulting

I'm Ange... proud Canadian, Nutella eating lover and pink is my favorite colour with a splash of glitter. I'm a business consultant/coach who has helped hundreds of business owners get all the pieces in place to have consistent 5-figure months and multiple 6-figure years... without burning out in the process.