Think very carefully about who’s in your company. By company I mean the truest sense of the word, who do you keep company with, not who’s an employee or member.
“The word company is derived from the Latin cum and pane, which means ‘breaking bread together'”, The Start-up of You
Your network is massively important to any success you may have and you have to treat it with respect and nurture it. If you want to grow your network, you can’t wait until you need something from it. Grow your network when you don’t need anything. In fact, grow your network when you have some extra time and can contribute to others.
“The fastest way to change yourself is to hang out with people who are already the way you want to be”, The Start-up of You
While it’s rare, on occassion people have dropped into ThreeFortyNine interested in coworking who we’ve turned away. You can see them peeking around corners looking to see who’s sitting in the desks. They have this glint in their eyes like they lost something in the building and they just need to spot it. At some point they say something along the lines of “so you have web developers in here who will help me with my project?”, then it’s obvious. I politely explain that no one here is under any obligation to help each other. Our people show up and contribute to others first and it’s all karma based.
I began hosting DemoCampGuelph events back in 2007. I’d just recently made the leap from commuting to work in nearby Waterloo to working in my home office in town. I committed myself to spending my energy here in town. After hosting my first DemoCampGuelph, I started randomly inviting people on the attendee list for coffee. I didn’t know who they were, just that they were interested in technology in Guelph. I had nothing to ask of them. Strengthening and growing your network doesn’t have to be complicated.
While there will be cases you need to ask someone for something the first time you meet, you need to view that as a failure. Lead your first interactions with people with “what can I help you with?” The next time you get caught in a cab with someone you admire and would love to partner with, raise funding from etc. Don’t drool on them while you hunt through the asks you have for them. Instead just end your conversation with “is there anything I can help you with?”, that’s powerful!