The other day I saw a book about networking called “Coffee, Lunch, Coffee”. I only read the title and I was already exhausted.
The problem with most “networking experts” is they focus on the wrong things. The want you to build “weak ties” with people who can help you. Go to conferences, approach people with “loosely” prepared remarks, connect on LinkedIn, then schedule a coffee.
My goal isn’t to have a bunch of LinkedIn connections or Facebook friends who I consider “weak ties”. I want a group of people who I’ve contributed to in a deep and meaningful way.
Three months ago I started “un-networking” and my business and life have never been better. The focus of “un-networking” is not on building weak ties, the goal is to create strong ties. I couldn’t believe how easy it was, not to mention how much better I felt doing it. I’ll tell you why I started and some tips I’ve learned along the way.
How to Develop Your “Inner Circle” With Un-Networking
A few years after college I was thinking about getting an MBA. I remember sitting in the passenger side of my boss’ black Audi on a road trip listening to Dan Kennedy CDs. He’s got an MBA from Stanford. I asked him, “If you could go back, would you still get an MBA?”
He said, “To be honest, I felt like I spent a couple of years on the sideline. The connections I made at Stanford were good, but I wish I’d spend that money and started a business.”
It blew my 23-year-old mind. He went to a top 3 business school and wouldn’t make the same choice again. I decided then I wasn’t going to go back to school, I would start a business. That conversation and subsequent decision changed my life.
I can attribute most periods of growth in my life to individual conversations and interactions, like that one, with a small group of extraordinary people and advisors. I think of them as my “Inner Circle”.
I believe everyone should have a group of extraordinary advisors in their life (even if your advisors don’t necessarily know they’re advising you). Having an “Inner Circle” makes life much easier. The good news is if you don’t have one, you can build one by starting to “un-network”.
Here is a four-step process for building your “Inner Circle”:
These tips are loosely gathered from Joe Polish, who I’m sure gathered it from somewhere else.
- List out 7 people you’d like to become part of your “Inner Circle” over the next 90 days
- Identify what makes them special. Are they incredible product designers? Can they turn $1 into $3 with paid ads? Do they have wisdom?
- Figure out what specifically you can do to help them. If you feel there is nothing you can do to help them, you’re being lazy. If you take the time you can figure out how to help anybody.
- Do it and don’t keep score. That means contribute without expectations. Let go of your ego.
Number 4 is the most important. Most things you do aren’t going to come back your way. Other times they will come back 200%. That’s the way un-networking works. You must fully commit to an abundance mindset and trust that by creating value for others, you’ll be rewarded.
If you want to achieve at a high-level you need to get out of the favor-for-a-favor, dollar-for-a-dollar mindset and start thinking bigger. You must find other A-Players and contribute to them. This is how successful people get even more successful.
The 90 Day Year (Or How To Get 12 Months of Results in 3 Months)
In the last 3 months, I’ve “achieved” more than in my previous year.
- I took an “off the grid” hiking trip to Glacier National Park in Montana with my fiance for 10 days
- Officiated my sister’s wedding in Los Angeles
- Attended my fiance’s sister’s graduation in Chicago
- Spoke at one of the most prestigious marketing conferences in our industry.
- Organized a dinner in San Diego with the top Ecommerce business owners in Southern California (and another in Austin tonight)
- Planned and prepared for a year-long honeymoon around the world that starts in November
All the while, my business has steadily grown and I’ve become less stressed out.
There are two reasons for this and the first one is simple. When you surround yourself with people smarter than you life gets much easier. Decisions that previously took months can be made after a phone call. The problems that plague a business at every stage become easy to solve, and eventually seem to disappear.
The second reason is that I forced myself into more uncomfortable situations.
About 4 months ago, I made two decisions that set me up for success. I hired a coach and I committed to following Taylor Pearson’s Effective Entrepreneur planning system. Both of those choices have helped me become more effective. They have also been uncomfortable decisions.
It isn’t easy to have someone looking over my shoulder keeping me accountable, but it makes me better.
If you are interested in stepping on the gas in your business I’ve got an opportunity for you. I’m currently looking for a “beta group” of
five four more 7-8 figure ecommerce and SaaS entrepreneurs who want to commit to achieving more in the next 6 months than they have in last 2 years.
It’s called The Profit Mastermind and it’s for entrepreneurs who are committed to an abundance mindset and believe in the concept of “un-networking”. It’s going to be a small and exclusive group and if you’re accepted I can promise you it will change your life.