I went to a motivational weekend hosted by Kristi Blicharski and I left with a new sense of motivation and inspiration. There was one woman in particular that really gave me a rejuvenated perspective. Jodi Womack, founder of No More Nylons, is an entrepreneur, a speaker, a networker, and most importantly as a woman, a friendly and kind-hearted person. She plans networking events for women founded on friendship rather than competition. So many women can get wrapped up in the rat race but Jodi focuses on the human component–the essential desire we have as women for camaraderie and support. I just had to share her advice with you. Enjoy!
Here is Jodi’s website so that you can be apart of the next No More Nylons event: http://nomorenylons.com/
1. You have started your own company, No More Nylons, which gathers women together to network in a fun and social environment. How does this twist on networking add more happiness to not only your life, but the women who attend?
Everything about No More Nylons is meant to be lighthearted… from the name itself to the Snooty Lady logo to the nametags that say, “Hello, my name is… and I’m really good at…” I want people to smile and enjoy. That’s what running my own company is all about: getting out of the work you HAVE to do and into the work you LOVE.
One reason I started my own company is to have more freedom in my life. I surround myself with people who love what they do, and who are inspired and engaged with the world… I realized when I started attending other business networking events, that those people weren’t having fun. They attended out of obligation. It was depressing. Everyone I know is extremely busy. So to add something to your schedule that you don’t enjoy is crazy! The Socials are an opportunity to relax, socialize, and really connect with other women authentically… We are all so much more than our titles and companies.
2. What do you think are some pitfalls women encounter while networking?
The biggest mistake I see women making is NOT networking. For example, eating lunch alone at their desk everyday, skipping the after work gatherings to get home or waiting to attend a conference or meeting until they know exactly what they need before they start asking…
I make an effort to have one networking appointment per week. It can be as easy as inviting someone to coffee before work, or taking a walk on a lunch break. I estimate I have 5 opportunities a day to network: (1) morning coffee, (2) lunch, (3) afterwork walk, (4) happy hour drinks/appetizers and (5) dinner/evening event. If I do one networking meeting a week, for 50 weeks a year, that equals 50 times I’ve focused on my personal and professional development.
1/wk x 50 wks = 50 opportunities/ year
And obviously, the more you do each week, the more those opportunities add up over the course of a year. Time flies, especially when you’re busy! So building in networking as a routine will ensure you actually do it.
If you feel shy about attending an event alone, recruit a friend. Sometimes when that’s not possible, I’ve reached out to the attendees and coordinators on Twitter before the event to introduce myself and coordinate meeting up with others who are attending alone. By taking the initiative, I become a leader within the group.
3. You have an entrepreneurial spirit. How do you think young women can capture this spirit and apply it to their own lives?
Do something you really care about. Make a project. Organize an event. Write a article. DO something. It doesn’t have to make money. What it does is give you the confidence and credibility that you are someone who makes things happen in the world. So many people are sitting and waiting for someone to tell them what to do with their life. Their energy. Their gifts. That’s what school prepares us for: an authority figure assigning a project with parameters and deadlines. In fact, that’s the work we need to do for ourselves! Focus on what projects have meaning to us, then design what the outcome should be and prepare a schedule when we want to achieve it by.
Surround yourself with positive, outgoing, uplifting influencers. This includes people, media, environments… I subscribe to Springwise newsletter which reports innovative global business ideas; I watch TED talks (www.ted.com) and I attend conferences like SXSW, World Domination Summit, Wisdom 2.0. Build and carefully design the input you influence yourself with. For example, I stopped watching TV news years ago. I find other sources to receive input, without the fear and shock factors.
4. Once you’ve made a connection, what are some suggestions you have for maintaining that relationship?
Start building your personal database. Connect to the actual people, not just the company email and phone numbers that may be on a person’s business card. People change jobs so often that those business cards may be irrelevant within a few years. I personally use an electronic address book as well as Linked In for my business contacts. Any time I can make a note about when and where I met someone, and if a mutual friend introduced us, I know that helps me remember people better. I use the social networks as a way to remember peoples’ names and faces, like virtual flash cards.
Stay in touch, even when you don’t need anything. Many people start networking when they’re looking for a job or when they’re “making an ask.” That strains the relationship before you’ve built it. Send birthday notes. Forward relevant articles that you find. Share inspirational resources. Be someone that contributes.
5. So many women fall in to the corporate bubble for security’s sake rather than pursing their true dream. What advice do you have for women who want to take that leap of faith yet are holding back?
Build your network. Keep your overhead low! Surround yourself with entrepreneurs and those that are pursuing their dreams.
My husband and I started the Jason Womack Company from a home office by purchasing two Apple computers. In the first weekend, we built our company website, designed our workbook and started reaching out to prospective clients from our LinkedIn networks. Within 60 days our company was profitable.
6. Is there anything else you would like to add?
Keep seeking mentors. Find someone who cares about your personal journey, not just your linear career path to advise you on money, strategic alliances, and connecting to influential partners. No one does it alone.
The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook