Overcoming Fears and Insecurities While Networking

Overcoming Fears and Insecurities While Networking

Hi, I’m Julia, and I run a Virtual Administration business called Starfish Admin Services Ltd.  I’d like to tell you a little bit about how I started, launched my own business, and overcame my fears of meeting new people, networking and other challenges that I’ve faced whilst building my business.

I always dreamed of starting my own business, being my own boss and getting things done whilst helping people. My biggest strength has always been that I’m super organised, and I love that! I am a driven person, hugely ambitious and I have never purposely let anything get in the way of that.

When you make the decision to start a business, you lay your life bare for all to see, you invest every little bit of you into it, and that determination to succeed runs through your veins. I have loved seeing my little business grow into a thriving company but it has left me open; open for judgement and questions about me, about my past and what I did before and want to do in the future, and this makes me slightly uncomfortable.

One of my biggest struggles has been with networking. Networking when you’re a Virtual Assistant is key to building up your business, you need to meet lots of different people so that you can build your brand and clientele. In everyday life, I love meeting new people and hearing their stories, but with networking, it wasn't always easy.

Let me tell you just one story about how effective it can be putting yourself out there:

A client I met was looking for a certain type of business in his call to action, he had been trying to connect for a while unsuccessfully and finding it tough.  That day, at his networking group, he decided to bite the bullet and tell people that he was struggling and this is what he needed.  At the end of the meeting a person came up and said ‘I know this person in the business and I can place you in contact!’  How amazing is that! Such an easy, simple fix. He was shocked as he had no idea that others might be able to help, the person wasn’t even in the same type of industry but he was able to help.  The power of simply talking to people is amazing!  

However, as good as we all know networking is, it is still daunting and frightening to put yourself out there!   So how did I get over this challenge?  I can tell you, almost a year into my business that the key to getting over my issues was to stop assuming that everyone I spoke to was somehow "better" than me.  Do not judge the book by the cover, we can assume something, but until questions are asked, we don’t get to know the person behind the image. Many people do just assume, and think this causes them to miss out on opportunities. And as my little story above taught me, you never know who they know!

I used to turn up to these networking events and look around, feeling like I was holding myself back, why should I not lead the group? why should I not pitch my business?

So this year that is what I am going to do.

I am preparing a presentation to show people who Julia is, and what I do for my business.  I’ve learnt that if you do not stand out and be yourself then you will be holding yourself back and not allowing your business ideas to grow.

My ambitions for the future are great. I’d love to be able to have a big team of people all working hard beside me, striving for success and its then that I’ll allow myself a little more time to be hands-off, although I’m not sure the entrepreneur in me could totally step back! Like Richard Branson and Steve Jobs, I’ll still be the face of Starfish Admin Services and it will still be me with the strategy and vision for its future.

In conclusion, I guess what I’m trying to say is that yes, I have my challenges and difficulties, but who show me someone that doesn’t? Never let this hold you back. My final plea to you when meeting someone for the first time whilst networking is to look at who they are in that moment; the phrase is a cliché but totally true; never judge a book by its cover – there is so much more inside and it is often simply marvelous.

Learn more about Julia and her company here! 

Julia Cheeseman

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