WHEN: Your Network Expands

It’s been a really long day at work. Like, not overly long in the sense of time, but long in the sense of activities and things taking place. But in my new (I can still call it new?) job, I find my days getting longer and my network getting bigger.

And I’m so okay with that.

I think all I ever wanted from my old job – other than better pay, better benefits, professional development that actually applied to the admin staff, flexible hours and decent coworkers – were opportunities to grow my network and build my career. That’s how I knew that job was a dead end one.

I had no opportunity to network with anyone in my industry because my company thought I wasn’t important enough.

Yeah, I accept that harsh reality now, but I hated it then. I wasn’t good enough to network. Which I translated into my professional goals didn’t matter.

Now, it’s essential to my role that I constantly be networking. Meeting new people, plugging in the programs we offer and the value of my role in the company. Today, I got to meet and hang out (loosely speaking) with the ladies of Sebastian Professional. Later in the day, an actress from the Hart of Dixie stopped by and talked with each one of us. And hugged us and mentioned how much she loved the work we’re doing. So that meant meeting her assistant and a photographer who was there to shoot her on site. Meeting more new people.

This is was networking like for me now. No two encounters are the same. No two experiences are alike. But each one offers of wealth to learn from and people to connect with.

Thursday’s Thoughts: Who’s In Your Backyard

Notary in their own backyard

A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine’s aunt reach out to me and asked to me notarized a deed trust package for her church — her church owns a school and are selling it — and of course, I said yes.  Then I asked her for the address as she wanted me to meet them at the church, since that’s where they had the paperwork waiting at.  So I Googled the address as I recalled only visiting the church once with my friend who was hosting a model call (at the time my friend operated a digital fashion/lifestyle magazine) back then.  When I looked at the area to familiarize myself with it, I noticed someone’s Notary business indicated on the map.   With a website.  So I did what any curious competitor would do.  Clicked on it and read on all their sh*t.  I felt I needed to.  I wanted to see how I stacked up against someone already in the biz doing it longer.

For starters, I was surprise to see that the notary charged $25 for the first 8 miles from their location.  DAMN!  I don’t know, I think that’s a lot of money to charge for going 8 miles in LA.  But I read on.  Similar to my “Discount Notary Days“, he had a list of Starbucks locations he would travel to provide notary services.  And if you wanted to meet him there on the weekend, he’d knock off $5 of the travel fee.  Dude, for real?  Yes.  He was seriously charging people to meet him at Starbucks.  $20!  You could at least get for over-priced coffees for that.  Just sayin’.  But I loved learning how he priced everything and made it very transparent for the customer.

So I arrived at the church, spent about 30 minutes notarizing the package.  It turns out that my friend’s aunt was the church’s secretary, so she was present there to sign off on whatever needed to be signed on behalf of the church along with another member.  After I was paid and we packed up, she walked me out and we briefly talked and I promise to touch base more frequently.  Well, as soon as I turned the corner, I saw this notary business sign on someone’s lawn across the street from the church.  And no, it wasn’t the $25 travel fee dude.  It was another person.  Two notaries within their distance and I get the job.  Loved it!  But of course, it was networked.  My mother always keeps telling me, it’s not what I know, but who I know and who knows me.

Then it dawned on me.  How many notaries must there be on my block, in my neighborhood?  How much business am I potentially losing out on because someone else is there and I don’t even know it?  Well, technically, I Googled it and no one came up.  No one or no business in a 5 block radius, at least.  But who may quietly be there?  Hmm?  What competitor is in my own backyard that I may not know about?  So it got me thinking about how creative I need to be to put myself out there, to get people’s attention and to earn their business.  I don’t know what that is yet, but I’ll figure it out.  After all, you never who may be in your own backyard doing what you’re doing too!