I interviewed successful entrepreneur, Tracey Parnell, to share about her story as an entrepreneur and to share with the readers her fabulous networking tips. Tracey is author of ‘The 40 year old snowbird: How to live where you want 365 days a year’ available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-40-year-old-Snowbird/dp/1442126523
Q: what was the main reason you decided to be an entrepreneur vs. working for others
A: As an employee your given what someone else thinks your worth as an entrepreneur the sky is the limit on what you make, where you travel and who you go into business with, in a word CONTROL
Q: what issues/obstacles have you faced being an entrepreneur vs. an employee
A: Obstacles are simply speed bumps along the way. Each time I am stalled with a delay or roadblock I figure out a way over, around or simply take another path all together. At first the obvious challenge is start up money but with some creative solutions that can be over come especially today with infinite resources to raise capital via the net. Cloud Funding is one I recommend.
Q: what inspires, motivates and encourages you in your journey as an entrepreneur
A: Inspiration is something that comes from within however I turn to new projects, new products and services to ignite that inner excitement. I also love to produce books and that is always a source of inspiration. I inspire and lead others through the process of writing their own books through workshops. Helping others achieve what they want has always been one of my core values.
Q: what have you learned is most important about networking
A: Networking is critical for all my 8 companies. As someone once said "the guy with the biggest rolodex wins". Why? Well if you have a product and service to sell you need someone to sell it to. I attend 3 networking sessions a week, I exchange business cards with a minimum of 3 people. I process the business card. My system, I email them a nice to meet you email, I add their phone number in my cell and finally I send them a greeting card through SendOutCards. If I have an extra minute I will look them up on Facebook and Linkedin. PRESTO we are connected now for life. It is important YOU DO NOT TRY AND SELL them anything at this point, rather wait until you have made contact 7-10 times, then and only then let them know what you do. IT WORKS every time.
Q: does it take a certain personality to be good at networking
A: Networking is an ART, no question. If you have a system and you process your business cards and your sales are decent then your probably doing it right. If on the other hand you have stacks of business cards in a drawer or scattered everywhere or worse none at all you may need some help. Hire a coach or take a course and learn how to network. The best and most effective training I recommend is Toastmasters International.
Q: what has been your best experience networking
A: My best networking story is, well, every time I meet a new friend. I LOVE people so I tend to network wherever I go. If I am standing at the bank in line I will start up a conversation with the lady in front or behind me. In no time we are exchanging cards and have become friends 9 times out of 10. I also always wear a name badge, YES I wear one everywhere I go. It is like telling others you are OPEN for business. I dare you to wear one EVERYWHERE for one week and see what happens.
Q: what has been your worst experience networking
A: The networking challenge I have is with the noise level at most events. I have industrial deafness so I resort to reading lips most of the time so I tend to prefer smaller gatherings or lecture type events where there is only one speaker so I can take in all the information. Online social networking has made is now so easy to continue to network in the convenience of your own home. So once again I turned the lemon into lemonade. This is an important quality of a successful entrepreneur.
Q: what tips do you suggest to others as they network
A: Networking Tips: Become a member of a least ONE and no more than 3 community based groups. Find them through Meetup.com or simply look up the Rotary, Toastmasters, Chamber of Commerce to name a few. Have a name tag professionally done that states your name and business name. Wear your name tag 24/7. Create or follow a system for processing your business cards. Even if you just pick up the phone and call the person the next day to say "it was nice to meet you". For the most bang for your buck and a high class result of staying in touch I recommend and use SendOutCards.com