“Go to networking events!”
“Post on social media!”
“Start a newsletter or blog!”
These are all bits of conventional wisdom that are propounded ad nauseam, and we’ve all grown quite cynical about them. This is due to a very simple but important misunderstanding.
I will often tell clients that there is no silver bullet. No one thing that will launch your career or business. No secret formula. And all of the above is good advice. Sorry.
“Networking feels like a waste of time, I meet these people and don’t have time to follow up with them. Plus everybody at them is desperate.”
The reason it feels like ‘a waste of time’ is that your expectations are inappropriate. And so are most other people’s.
That’s why most of the people you meet at these events will fall by the wayside. But every so often, and I’m not saying very, somebody becomes a collaborator, a service provider or possibly even a client. Or they enrich your life in some other unexpected way. Or vise versa. And if you hadn’t been at that stupid event to meet them…or reached out to them on LinkedIn…
My father used to fish. When the water was still and there wasn’t nary a nibble, he would throw some bait in the water. That’s called ‘chumming.’ It would attract the fish, and since fishing is about patience, eventually, one would go for the bait and he’d catch it.
Chumming is especially useful in ocean fishing because the ocean is so vast. And while business can seem like a small world, it’s vast as well.
This is how we need to think about all promotional and marketing activity.
It’s chum in the water. If you’re not catching anything, keep chumming. And even when you do, nothing lasts for ever so….never stop chumming.