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Community for Entrepreneurs: Building an Intentional Network

Community for Entrepreneurs

You know the saying “Your network is your net worth?” In the beginning stages of my entrepreneurial journey, I fought so hard against this—mainly because I didn’t have a network. It was just me and my big idea in my little corner of the Universe. Even two years in, although I was focusing on building a community of entrepreneurs around me, I still didn’t realize how my community translated into my network until last year. One of my primary goals for 2023 was to get myself out of my comfort zone and really start to nurture my network. I had already been doing this with the partnership I had forged with a top 3% Luxury Brand Strategist. Not only did I sign on as her mentee, but she hired me to do her clients’ luxury branding and website design. Over the course of one year, she brought me over 35 clients.

During that year, I learned so much valuable information about building your network, and that’s when I discovered step one: find a mentor. Not only should we be looking for a mentor, but value also comes in the form of becoming a mentor. When I set my networking goal for 2023, the primary objective was to learn. My goal was to build a community of other entrepreneurs around me that could teach me about successful business strategy. Not only was I learning, but as I nurtured my network, they were bringing me numerous clients. However, we can’t just rely on partnerships and mentors to fill our pipeline, which is why building a community of fellow entrepreneurs is so important.

Building an Intentional Network

Nowadays, with the power of social media and our ability to connect with a stranger at a moments notice, it’s much easier to grow our network organically. While there is great value in attending networking events, roundtables, etc., it’s not the only way to grow your network anymore. Social media and community building is the power now. Beyond creating The La.Rue Community, I myself am a part of a few different networking communities for entrepreneurs. It’s in these places that you can make authentic connection and find yourself a valuable mentor. I truly don’t know what they did 30 years ago without social media. Did they post ads for a mentor in a rec center? Ugh, that sounds scary!

Building an intentional network (I think) doesn’t require that much actual work, it simply requires putting yourself out there. Last year, I put myself way out of my comfort zone by attending the Forbes 30 Under 30 conference. And while I learned invaluable information there and made some incredible connections, it was the client work and community building that helped me grow my network and meet other incredible entrepreneurs.

Community Translates to Growth

As entrepreneurs, when we start building out an idea, spending all of our time and energy on something, our minds can sometimes be closed off to greater possibilities. We get so consumed by our ideas that it can be hard to see beyond them. Over the last five months of building out The La.Rue Community, I had multiple conversations with friends and other entrepreneurs about this process. I had these conversations solely for the purpose of talking out the idea and getting their feedback. In every single one of these conversations, the person I was speaking to brought up a valuable point that I hadn’t thought of yet. Community and network have a direct translation to growth. Whether that means client/ sales growth, knowledge, or further networking growth.

Our network doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the place to fill your pipeline. It’s the community we go to to bounce ideas off of, communicate advice, and build a support system. Things like roundtables and brainstorming sessions are the true value of community. This is where we turn a single idea into a full blown product or offering. Roundtables are places you can learn incredibly valuable information simply from attending and listening. In The La.Rue Community, we’re hosting two roundtables each month. One for the purpose of lifestyle directed at personal growth. And another for the purpose of entrepreneurship/ career directed at professional growth. These roundtables are arguably the most valuable pieces of programming; you never know who you may meet in there and what advice they may have.

Nurture Your Network

Networking goes far beyond a single conversation with someone. It takes follow ups, introductions, quick emails, gifting, etc. In my experience, the most successful businesses are ones that have a referral network. Think about the majority of businesses you’ve worked with personally. How did you find them? And if your answer is social media, that’s a piece of your network. As businesses owners, our pipelines will be filled majority of the time from people in our network referring us. 80% of the clients I signed last year were from previous referrals. So how do you nurture your network and remind them to refer you?

  • Brief Email Check-ins: It takes all of five minutes to send someone in your network a quick “hey, thinking of you, would love to connect soon and chat about how we can help each other.” My mentor taught me to keep a “Connection Log.” Fill one section with your network and the other with gifting (see below).
  • Gifting: First, you need to buy the book Giftology on Amazon. Read that and then check back in with this article! Giftology teaches us that gifting something to previous clients drastically increases their chances of referring you. It doesn’t need to be anything crazy, just a small “I’m thinking of you.”
  • Interact & Celebrate: We’re likely connected to our entire network on social media. It’s important to nurture that relationship in small but meaningful ways. They post about a launch: congratulate them. It’s their birthday: text them. Interact with them and let them know they’re on your mind periodically.

Doing this will increase your referral rate more then you can imagine. It doesn’t take too much to start putting yourself out there and growing your network of entrepreneurs. We encourage you to start by joining The La.Rue Community and attending our live brainstorming/ roundtable sessions each month!

Xo,  lauren

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