Learn how Lori has built a network (in 2 different cities) by doing great work and genuinely caring about other people’s stories.
Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL
Business: Business coaching, content strategy and copywriting services
How we met: Through Wendy King, a business coach in Denver, and Lori’s aunt
Even though Lori had a great network in Denver, when she moved to Florida, she had to start over.
Having completed both undergraduate and graduate school in Denver meant Lori had a ready base of colleagues to build a professional network. It was this network that helped her find new positions and provide positive recommendations. This meant she could leverage her network whenever a project ended or a change in positions was needed. This made it easy for her to rely on her reputation and thegreat network of friends and colleagues she had established. That all changed when she moved to Ft. Lauderdale. It was her husband who had the connections, not Lori. Not having an established reputation made her feel like a fish out of water.
Moving allowed her to reinvent herself, and because she did excellent work, her reputation helped her build a new network.
In some ways, it was hard, but it was also a great opportunity to recreate herself, because people didn’t know what she was doing before. Starting over also meant Lori needed to rethink her approach to networking. Whether it’s a new career or building a new network, you start at square one. For Lori this meant helping an established company pilot a social media. Using her connections from that job, Lori landed a new position with a digital marketing agency. By the time she left that company, she had a ready network of referrals. She was so excited to know that she had a reputation and people wanted to work with her.
It started as a slow trickle, and grew, and then expanded in ways that she hadn’t realized.
Lori gets very excited talking about what she does. She loves helping people succeed. She credits her talent for having the ability to understand what a person’s business goals are, what their unique niche is as well as seeing their business possibilities and then help them to articulate that messaging to their target audiences. “When you’re starting to do something on your own, it’s scary. It takes some experience to realize that the expert advice that works for some people might not work for you. Having someone with whom you can share your dreams with and see them have a positive reaction is rare. It makes you feel supported and understood,” explains Lori
Outside of work, Lori likes to laugh and have fun. She finds that when she’s just enjoying herself, people have a lot fun with her. She doesn’t consider herself an extrovert; a friend called her the most “extroverted introvert” she knows.
A new business model for freelancers who want a built-in network
Now Lori wants to create a business model in which a small business owner can work with all different people in one place – web designers, copywriters, coaches, etc. It would be a collaborative model in which everyone could offer their expertise and share clients. A small business community for freelancers. It’s a new approach to the problem of the lone freelancer, who has a lot of freedom, but none of the security of working for an agency. I’m interested to see what comes of her idea.
- Having a great reputation is incredibly important for building a successful network.
- When you really care about other people and are genuinely interested in them, networking becomes a pleasure. (I also noticed this in many other conversations, among others, the ones with Carrie Ure and Kerstin Hammes.)
- Lori’s skill at building a network in Denver made it much easier for her to network in Florida – which shows that network building is a skill – a thriving network is a reflection of the person, not the circumstance.
1 step you can take to grow your network today:
Think about what kind of reputation you want to have with other people. Do you want to be known as friendly? Reliable? Detail oriented? Make sure that you are living up to that reputation in all of your interactions.