Networking for the socially anxious

 Photo Credit:  I  talian Bark

Photo Credit: Italian Bark

Hey folks, I have just come back from a Hills Biz Chicks casual catchup, come along to the next one if you're  a fellow boss babe operating a business in the area. It was my first time with the group so naturally, I felt the nerves but I would have to say that all of the ladies I met this morning were super lovely and despite feeling sweaty and experiencing butterflies in my stomach, I really enjoyed the conversations and the laughs. 

 

I thought this would make a great blog topic for today seeing as it's still fresh in my head. Hopefully for those of you that also suffer from social anxiety but at the same time run your own business, the advice below will come in handy in preparation for your next networking event.  As much as I'd like to hide behind my computer for the most part, there's certainly advantages to attending these - it's a great opportunity to make meaningful connections, build trust with others and create visibility for yourself and your business. Every time you attend an event, regardless of how painful it is or if you feel like you've made a complete ass of yourself afterwards - you learn and grow from the experience, which is why I push through my fear and make myself go. Just like any exercise, the more you do on a regular basis and the more persistent you are, your social and networking muscles will develop and you will feel stronger and confident with each and every event. Slay girl!

 

10 Networking Tips:

  1. Affirmations - before you go, give yourself a bit of a positive pep talk. I know it kind of seems silly and embarrassing to tell yourself that you're amazing and you're going to kill it but it really does help place your mindset in a positive space. Even if your conscious mind wants no bar of it, your subconscious mind is soaking all of that goodness in!
  2. Dress to impress - it might sound shallow but dressing in something that makes you feel professional, authentic and damn fine will increase your sense of confidence. 
  3. Get to the event early - when you're rushing, you're in a state of panic which is never great when you're already anxious about meeting people. Allow yourself plenty of time for getting there and finding a parking space or whatever else you need to do, so that when you walk in - you're as calm as a cucumber, or at least as you can be!
  4. Give yourself credit for attending - even if you don’t talk to anyone, at least you SHOWED UP and that still counts.
  5. Making one genuine connection far outweighs flitting from person to person and talking to them for a minute. It's all about the quality of the conversation rather than the quantity!! This also puts less pressure to talk to a million people which is draining for introverted boss babes. 
  6. Remember that it's not all about you and promoting your business - engage with the person you're talking to, ask questions, show your interest in who they are, listen and help out where you can. It's about creating a relationship and if you're lucky, you might end up with a new BFF. 
  7. If you’re feeling really anxious, it’s okay to be honest and let the other person know - you might find that you’re not actually alone in feeling the way you do. But try not to dwell on it too much, smile, take a breathe and if you need to excuse yourself for a little time out, do!
  8. Create and commit to memory, a short paragraph that details who you are and why you're in business. I stress the committing to memory part! When I'm really nervous, I tend to blank out but because I've said this paragraph to myself so many times, it usually does come to me in dribs and drabs, enough to introduce myself. Thanks gosh right?
  9. Humour tends to make everyone feel more relaxed - if you can make people laugh, it really does change the vibe for yourself and everyone else!
  10. The lucky last advice nugget is more for post-attendance - don't forget to celebrate the positives! For so many of us, we don't tend to do this, we only reflect back and critique ourselves harshly and negatively, which tends to discourage and damage our confidence. I don't mean for you to ignore the things that you feel you can clearly work on, but try and approach self-improvement in a kinder and more compassionate way. 

 

From the words of one of the fiercest women in business... 

In today's world you have to interact. You can't be some difficult, shy person who is not able to look somebody in the face, you have to present yourself, you have to know how to talk about your vision, your focus and what you believe in.

Anna Wintour

Those are just a few handy pieces of advice, I’m sure there are heaps more out there - I would love to know what helps you! Please feel free to share your thoughts and advice in the comments, it’s all about sharing and caring here.

Raechelle's Family Day Care

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Raechelle's Family Day Care WIP
Raechelle's Family Day Care WIP

 

This was one of my fave logos to work on, a fusion of graphic design and traditional illustration - more projects like this please UNIVERSE. I love this cheeky little possum so much!!

 

raechelle-logographic-short.jpg

Although I follow a general process for all projects, there is no cookie cutter method or solution. NO SIREE. Every single one of my clients has a different brand voice and unique story, which of course needs to be reflected in their custom logo.

 

With Raechelle's design for her family day care, she clearly expressed that she wanted something that was not the stereotypical bright colours or ABC blocks. It was important that her visual branding resonated with her vision of providing a calming space for her children along with some of her practices like natured inspired play.

 

Gathering as much information as I can from my clients is a very crucial step to the ideation stage as it actually creates clearer pathways to explore. It narrows down the amount of concepts required where I normally only present 1-2 different visual directions which I think closely align to a client’s branding, from experience this a positive thing and prevents overwhelm! It’s an approach that seems to work fairly well and I’m proud to say that for the majority of my clients, they are usually happy with the initial concept presented.

 

I’m thankful that this project was no exception and Raechelle feels that it’s everything she wanted it to be and so much more which makes me so overjoyed! 

I love working with small businesses to create beautiful branding to fall in love with.  Are you after a professional image that is authentic to you? Let’s have a bit of a chinwag and discuss how we can work together, just email me via hello[at]nevertheless.com.au

Tips for choosing a business name

 Photo Credit:  Frankie & Claude

Photo Credit: Frankie & Claude

I think the best place to start is to ask yourself branding questions, if you're not quite sure what branding is, visit here. In a nutshell, the formation of your brand relies upon people's perception of your business, products and services. Regardless of what you do, people will form an opinion of your business so if you can do something to steer it in the right direction, it makes sense to, right? 

 

There are plenty of questions you could explore but below are some that I think are quite significant and could open up a whole bunch of possibilities for your business name!

  • Why are you starting your business and how do you feel?  for example, interestingly enough, Richard Branson along with his business partner chose Virgin because they saw themselves as virgins in business.
  • Who are your ideal customers? what language do they use? words or phrases that come up often in their conversations? their likes and interests etc.  you might find inspiration in what you come across!
  • What services and products do you sell? Victoria's Secret sell lingerie, their name was apparently chosen because Victoria was after Queen Victoria and stood for class and refinement while Secret was what was hidden underneath the clothes. So maybe you could think of creative ways to describe what you do or sell.
  • What makes you unique? your USP might give you ideas, for example, Snapchat came about from their unique way of sending quick messages/photos or short snaps that disappear. 
  • How do you want your customers to feel?  Boost Juice gives the connotations of being lifted and energised, it's positively suggesting how their customers will feel after having their juices. 
  • Do you see your business expanding in the future, will you want to expand your skills or will you want to sell? I mention this because you might intend to sell your business in the future so you would probably want to avoid a business name that refers to your own personal name. Or if you think that there's a possibility in future that you will up-skill, don't be too narrow with your business name and include a specific area of service. You can use your subtext or tagline for this!
  • What's your brand personality, values, beliefs? for example, if you're selling organic products and you believe in providing pure products, you might want to reflect this in your business name. 
  • Who are your competitors? if you don't know who they are, you can't differentiate yourself! 

 

If you're a visual person, you could create a mood board of images/quotes/colours/shapes that captures your brand, maybe this will prompt certain keywords. 

 

When you're ready, start brainstorming keywords, a thesaurus comes in handy for synonyms!! Jot everything down that comes into mind, don't filter yourself, this can come later. Put things together and play around with combinations, have fun with the process!

 

Once you've narrowed it down to a few, make sure you let it sit with you for a little while. No rash decisions with this okay, you don't want to wake up with regrets. 

  • Ask yourself if it feels right when you say it (pretend you're answering the phone to a potential client) and if it looks right when you write it down
  • Get other people's opinions, specially if they belong to your target market
  • Remember that simplicity is great for memorability, alliteration also works well for memorability
  • It's great to be clever but not if people simply don't get it
  • On the flipside, don't be so generic that it's not striking.

 

There's also other things to check:

  • Whether it's already taken or if there's anything registered that's very similar
  • If the domain name is available 
  • The vanity addresses for your social channels. 

 

If you're in the position of choosing a business name, hope you have found this post helpful!

If you're interested in hearing why I chose Nevertheless for my business name, I'll be sharing the backstory on Insta and FB - find me @hi.nevertheless

Are you an existing business? I would love to hear how you came up with your business name and if you have any advice for those that are on the quest to find one - please just share your thoughts in the comments!