28 Day Network Challenge

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networkSo, I’m still waiting to find out if I got the job.  If it feels like it’s taking forever, it is.  It’s been a long process.  Hopefully I’ll hear some good news in the next couple days.  The old adage, “It’s not what you know, but who you know when it comes to jobs,” is very fitting in my case.  I wouldn’t have ever heard about the job if it wasn’t for a friend of mine.

 

Networking

A recent survey completed by LinkedIn shows that 85% of jobs are not obtained through blind online résumé submissions, but through networking.  Networking is one of those buzzwords that I’ve never paid enough attention to.  I constantly hear that I should be networking and expanding my network because it will be beneficial for me in the future.  

 

network

As an introvert, that sounds exhausting.  I can’t imagine working 8-10 hours a day and then going out for drinks with a bunch of strangers to build my network.  Just the thought of it, makes my introvert self want to scream for silence.  By the way, if you are a introvert OR an extrovert, I highly recommend reading the book, Quiet, by Susan Cain.  It provides great insight into how an introvert operates.  Reading it was great self-reflection for me!

 

Unintentionally Networking

Outside of my very first job, every other job that I’ve had has involved someone in my network sharing an opportunity with me.  So while I may not have called what I was doing “networking”, I am a prolific networker at work.  As I have learned over the years, networking is about personal relationships.

 

network certificate awardI am constantly looking for opportunities to introduce people to each other to make connections.  I never expect anything back in return.  But, strangely enough, that has led to some doors being open.  I was just nominated for a mentoring award, which is incredibly bizarre since I don’t have any official mentees.   

 

My Terrible Networking Story

I wasn’t always this way though.  At first I was a neophyte when it came to networking.  I have a horrifying story when I completely blew it.  My wife had just had our son, and I connected with an old college acquaintance on Linkedin.  While I was on paternity leave, this acquaintance and I decided to meet up.

 

networkDuring the conversation, it was apparent that he was quite successful.  He had just started a new company and was looking to hire quality individuals.  I don’t know if it was a lack of sleep from the new baby or what, but I didn’t connect that he was basically pitching me.  

 

Instead of me selling myself on how I could add value to his new company, I talked about my narrow vision for my career.  It quickly became a busted meeting.  

 

I berated myself on the car ride home because I knew I blew it, and I have no idea why I was so self-absorbed in that moment.  I tried to touch base with him a couple of days later, but I haven’t heard from him since.  It’s unfortunate how the situation went.  But everything happens for a reason, right?

 

Rich People Network

networkI saw this quote the other day by Robert Kiyosaki, and it really got me thinking.  “The richest people in the world look for and build networks; everyone else looks for work.”

 

In 2011, Adam Rifkin was named the best networker by Fortune magazine.  He believes that you should network with 1 to 3 people every day.  He introduces the concept of the 5-minute-favor in which you give 5 minutes of your day to someone else.  This can be done a variety of ways.  The most common are (1) making an introduction to two people who have a mutual interest, (2) providing feedback to someone on something they share, and (3) making yourself available to answer a question for someone.

 

The Stats

networkEven if you are incredibly busy, you can probably still spare 5 minutes.  According to Tom Korley, 79% of wealthy people network 5+ hours each month while only 16% of poor people network that much.  That breaks down to 10 minutes a day that the rich spend networking.

 

On top of that, I’m sure you could find a little bit of time if you gave up one of your tv shows.  67% of wealthy people watch one hour or less of TV every day while only 23% of poor people watch so little TV.

 

The Challenge

So readers, I’m starting up a challenge for February.  It’s called the “28 Day Network Challenge”.  For the month of February, I challenge you to look for ways to develop and grow your network.  Look to give to, rather than take from, your network.  

 

I want to open my network up to all of you.  Feel free to connect with me any way you’d like.  I’m happy to share 5 minutes of my time to help you out.  

 

So what do you say, are you in?

Mustard Seed Money

Welcome to the website. A mustard seed is a very small seed but astonishingly grows very large over time. My hope is that through your financial journey that your small investment in time, money and faith will grow beyond anything that you could ever imagine.



62 Comments

  1. Great post! I think alot of the importance of networking comes down to our need for community. Regardless of whether we’re introverts or extroverts, we have a basic need for relationships with others. It just so happens that one of the outflows is job leads and other perks.
    Daniel Palmer recently posted…Don’t Waste Your Tax Refund!My Profile

  2. Awesome Idea Mustard Seed Money, networking is extremely important in our world today… I’m in the same boat as you: I love my alone time. I have no issue spending a day by myself 🙂

    That being said, I realize how important it is to get out and network.

    A brief story on how I got my current job: My company has an annual all-employee event and afterwards people will go to the bar and hang out. I was with a buddy after the event and I walked in and we sat with some senior managers who I had seen in passing but never chatted with. We start chatting and they realize I would be a great fit for their team. Fast forward 3 months, and I’m on the team. Through the power of “networking”, I was able to move into a role where I could succeed, growth, and make an impact.

    Best of luck in Feb, looking forward to the results!
    Erik @ The Mastermind Within recently posted…One Yoga – Kundalini YogaMy Profile

    • Erik this is such a great story!!! Congrats on the position. That’s so incredible to hear that by networking that you had that type of opportunity!!! Awesome job 🙂

  3. Best of luck with the job! I love that introvert book, it describes me perfectly.

    I’m with you that I don’t officially “network” because that sounds both annoying and exhausting. But I do approach work with an attitude of learning and help, which causes me to network by default. Learning – I am a voracious learner and am always looking to find out more about our business, our technology, what other people do in their jobs. People love to talk about themselves and their areas of expertise, and I’ve found it makes me an extremely valuable IT project manager because I understand the business AND technology deeply. Helping-when I help others on my team, on other teams, etc. then I’m again networking by default. Not only do they appreciate and remember it, but they’re more likely to return the favor. I’ve found those are two great ways to “network” without feeling fake/forced/annoying.
    Liz@ChiefMomOfficer recently posted…Protecting Your Health, Life, and Ability to Earn Income – The Foundation To Financial FreedomMy Profile

    • Thanks for sharing Liz!!! I have no doubt that you provide a ton of value to your company as a PM and to your team. You sound like a natural networker that lives networking on a daily basis as opposed to those forced meet and greets at happy hours 🙂

  4. MSM, this is a great post and a great challenge. I can definitely use some of your expert advice on how to grow your readership on your blog. Secondly, networking had always been one of my weaknesses, so this challenge is perfect for me to step up my game and overcome this weakness. Challenge accepted.

    You may have this all planned out already, but I am going to ask anyway in case someone else has the same question. Are you going to have update posts similar to Amanda @ centsibly rich’s no spend challenge where everyone report their progress? I think that idea was quite brilliant to get reader to participate and to engage in the challenge.
    Leo T. Ly @ isaved5k recently posted…The First Step To Saving A Million DollarsMy Profile

    • Thanks Leo for accepting the challenge. I’ll be happy to reach out to you and talk to you about your goals.

      My plan was to do little blogettes on Saturdays so everyone could share their experience 🙂

  5. Great idea – I’m the same as you, never intentionally really networking but always finding opportunities through people.

    You really learn the value of knowing the right people when starting a new project or enterprise though. I’m in for February!

  6. Thanks for this great reminder! I love meeting new people and exploring options for improvement whenever possible. We do this everyday, whether we realize it or not – just like the example you gave when you “blew it”. I had a similar example the other week when my boss asked if I was happy and I failed to realize she was gauging my interest in a management position. Ha! Thankfully, I don’t want a management position anyway, I actually want to hand in my resignation, not cling the ladder. But, it’s the perfect example. That being said, let’s get talkin’ and collaborate!

    Mrs. Mad Money Monster

    • Absolutely Mrs. Mad Money Monster!!! I’m happy to collaborate whenever you’re ready 🙂

      Thanks for sharing your story there are definitely some days I’m ready to turn in my papers. Thankfully I think good things are on the horizon.

  7. I also heard another technique is to ask someone you admire for a favor. Apparently this does wonders to build bonds. Who knew? I’m pretty introverted too. For me, joining a social athletic endeavor really helped with networking. I learned how to play beach volleyball years ago, and that network is huge. And hey, bloggy friends is networking too.
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted…But What If…?My Profile

    • I hadn’t heard about that technique but that’s really interesting Tonya!!! I feel like I’d be too scared to ask someone I admire to do me a favor but I may have to try it sometime. I got nothing to lose, right 🙂

  8. I’m also an introvert when it comes to just blindly networking in crowds, but I’m very personable on the small scale, so I’ve created many great relationships in my career and still keep in touch people 20 years later!

    I also am not shy about reaching out online and locally to individuals. When I find someone in the area who I think I can collaborate with, I have no problem sending an introduction email. It is made me some great new friends too. 🙂
    Primal Prosperity recently posted…“Some Travel, Others Journey”My Profile

    • That’s awesome to hear Primal Prosperity. I have to admit in addition to being an introvert I’m also extremely shy. So I definitely am working on that as well 🙂

  9. Aghhh, I hate waiting to hear back about jobs. I’m rooting for you!

    I am so, so bad at networking. I’m a dorky introvert and I hate talking to new people. I got my current job from unintentionally networking, though. I kept in touch with old coworkers and one tipped me off to a great opening at her company. I’ve been here over a year and the pay has allowed me to speed up my debt repayment. Not too shabby!

    Even if you’re an introvert, try to stay connected with a few people. It doesn’t always matter about breadth, but depth.
    Mrs. Picky Pincher recently posted…Our Student Loan Payoff PlanMy Profile

    • That’s awesome to hear that you were able to stay in contact and get tipped off. Plus on top of that to get a job that can help speed up the debt repayment process. That’s awesome to hear!!!

  10. Quiet is a great book, and I agree that all introverts should read it.

    Another great book on this subject is Give and Take (Adam Rifkin is discussed in the book). One of my biggest takeaways from the book was to go into every interaction with the intention of helping the other person out. Too often, networking is viewed through the lense of “what can I get out of this interaction?”. The more selfless we become , the better off we all will be.
    NinjaPiggy recently posted…How to Crush Your Retirement Savings GoalsMy Profile

  11. I’ll take the challenge and raise you. We all should be consistently working on our network. It should be a give and take. Don’t only reach out to your network when you need something, reach out to say hello, check in, extend a happy holiday, etc. If you find an opportunity in your company that might be a good fit for someone reach out. Building a strong network , takes a little bit of time and effort, but when you need it, it will be there for you.
    Brian recently posted…I Can Do More to Save Money…And You Can Too!My Profile

    • Thanks for joining the challenge Brian and I appreciate the push to build a stronger network. I look forward to hearing everyone’s progress and will definitely push any opportunities that might align with others 🙂

  12. Its not what you know, its whom. Early in my career I hated those outside work work functions because I just wanted to get on with it. It hurt my career at the time. As I’ve progressed I’ve learned those work social functions are critical to your success. You don’t want to brown nose, but you do want the CEO to know your name and what you contribute.
    Full Time Fiannce recently posted…The Impact of Computers on your Personal Finance DecisionsMy Profile

    • Thanks for sharing Full Time Finance!!! I’m actually somewhat amazed that I’ve gotten as far as I have with the lack of name recognition where I’m at. But I am well aware that in order to continue moving up I’m going to have to start doing a much better job. Thanks for sharing your experience!!!

  13. Waiting to hear back on a job is terrible! To get my current job, I went through about 7-8 rounds of interviews over the course of three months. Waiting to hear back in between each stage was excruciating. Especially because I really wanted this job.

    And to prove your point, it was who I knew that got me the job. Well, it didn’t get me the job but it got my foot in the door of a high level position that I otherwise would have had a hard time getting an interview.

    I try to make it a point to keep in contact with those I’ve worked with in the past. That includes both people I’ve managed in the past, and people who have managed me. You never know when that old contact will pay off in the form of a referral. Plus, I like sharing my experiences and giving advice to those who have worked under me in the past.

    My wife read the book Quiet last year and shared some of it with me. I still haven’t read it myself. I’m also an introvert and at times it’s challenging to succeed in a world dominated by extroverts. Especially when the word introvert seems to carry negative connotations.
    Go Finance Yourself! recently posted…The Three Stages of Financial IndependenceMy Profile

    • If/when you get a chance I highly recommend the book. She goes into great detail on how introverts should be looked at as assets within companies and how much value they really bring to the table. It definitely was an eye opener for me and made me appreciate my introvert tendencies a lot more.

  14. “The richest people in the world look for and build networks; everyone else looks for work.” – Interesting. I am not one for networking as my job truly doesn’t require it, however, my personal life does. It’s been said how difficult it is to make friends as you get older, and this might be true for some. But I have found that zeroing in on your interests and building around them helps to bring the right people into your life. My blog has become a great source for networking with other like minded individuals. I don’t have intentions to build a job from it, but knowing if I wanted to I have surrounded myself with the people that could help guide me in the right direction. Another win for joining the blogosphere!!

    Sending good vibes for the job!!
    Miss Mazuma recently posted…I’m Officially Famous For Being In DebtMy Profile

    • Thanks Miss Mazuma for sharing!!! I have to admit I was a bit scared when I first started to blog, but now it’s been a wonderful opportunity to get to know people and share experiences. I am definitely looking forward to FinCon 🙂

    • That’s awesome to hear that you’re in Smart Provisions!!! Sounds like the month of February there are going to be a couple of us out there really putting ourselves out there 🙂

  15. I suck at networking. It’s probably because I’m such an introvert, but I’m not very comfortable talking about myself let alone “selling myself” in these types of situations. That being said, networking is very important because, as others have said, it can come down to who you know rather than what you know.

    Hopefully you’ll hear back about your interview soon. Waiting for a response sucks… I know, I’ve been there before.
    SomeRandomGuyOnline recently posted…Invest or Pay Off Student Loans: A Closer Look at the NumbersMy Profile

    • I’m like you and I don’t love talking about myself. I usually try to defer and try to steer the conversation their way until I truly feel comfortable with people. But maybe it’s time I open up a bit more 🙂

      I’m hoping to hear something from the job sooner rather than later. But it’s out of my hands at this point. But I’ll be sure to share when I hear something.

  16. I’m definitely in for the networking challenge. I’m definitely an introvert as well and always struggled with the after-work events I attended when I worked at a public accounting firm…they basically made all of us young employees get together with a the younger members of law firm and “network”. It was so awkward. I love the approach of reaching out to others and helping them-that’s so much easier for me than forced small talk.

    • Awesome Kathryn!!! So glad to hear that you’re jumping in 🙂 The forced approach unfortunately hasn’t worked out well for me. So I’m hoping that by reaching out to others and approaching them that things can potentially go better 🙂

  17. Great challenge! I must admit that I’m not the biggest fan of networking myself. It can really be time consuming at times as you mentioned. But I’ve found that its worthwhile most of the time…even if its not job related because you never know what will pop up in the future.
    Andrew recently posted…How To Buy Or Sell Shares In A CompanyMy Profile

  18. Great post, MSM! I landed my last job based on connections. The connection helped me get an opportunity for an interview and I landed the job.

    I would love to start out and connect with you, will be reaching out to you shortly 🙂
    Michael recently posted…Goal for 2017My Profile

  19. This is so true! Out of 8 jobs, I have only gotten one without my network. I suck at interviewing and if it wasn’t for my network I’d probably be working at a company I hate rather than somewhere that I love. I think everyone should find a professional association in their area or online relative to their career and make an effort to attend at least 5 meetings a year. You’ll be amazed by the people you meet. And if you are shy just ask others a few questions about themselves and they’ll open up. People love talking about themselves. I always like asking successful people “How did you fall into your career?” and “What was your biggest failure and how did you recover from it?”
    Stuart @ Epic Quiver recently posted…HOW I TOOK BACK CONTROL OF MY RETIREMENT PLANMy Profile

    • I need to take your lead and find an organization to join. On top of that I love your questions. I suck at small talk so having some good open ended questions will really go a long way. Thanks for the tips 🙂

  20. Great idea and a great reminder that whether we like to or not – networking is an incredibly important component of being successful. In fact, most of the jobs I’ve gotten have been because of my network. As a fellow introvert (loved Susan Cain’s book, Quiet!), I too don’t love the idea of networking, but I know it is important.
    Freedom 40 Plan recently posted…Consolidating Brokerage AccountsMy Profile

    • I don’t think I realized how important networking was until I started to climb the corporate ladder. On top of that it really helps when it comes to interviews if you can have common references to vet against.

  21. Great post and very timely! I am definitely in for the networking challenge as that is something I have been good about doing with my current career, but I haven’t done a very good job in the online/blog world. As part of my Sustainably Happy Project, I will be dedicating the month of March to “work” with a resolution to “grow my network”. In fact, I have been toying around with the idea of forming a mastermind group, so this challenge sounds like a great way to help me get started with that!

    Hope you hear back soon on the job.

    Hope you hear soon

    • Thanks for stopping by and joining the challenge!!! Sounds like your a cool idea of forming a mastermind group. You’ll have to keep me informed on your progress!!!

  22. Nice idea MSM! Good on you for sharing your networking story, suppose I’m fortunate that I enjoy meeting new people and could be considered somewhat of an extrovert..
    The challenge I have is keeping up with the contacts and if you had any tips on how to maintain a network that’d be brilliant? 🙂

    • There’s a basketball coach at Virginia Tech and his goal is to write/call 4x a day a different person in his network each month. Says it’s allowed him to expand out his network over the years and catch up with old friends.

      So maybe you can adapt something to fit your life that would allow you to reach out to old friends 🙂

  23. Awesome read Mustard Seed Money! The principal of 5 minute favors is an amazing tool for relationship buliding from Adam Rifkin that I try to employ daily. I will have to admit that 90% of job opportunities I have received was from successfully connecting with others. I have huge goal of becoming a super-connector where I am consistently focused on adding significant value to others.

    • Thanks for sharing Antonio!!! Super-connectors are definitely sought after and that’s awesome that you are constantly looking to provide value for others. That’s a great perspective to have 🙂

  24. Great write-up and idea to start the challenge. I would like to take your offer to connect with you and request your 5 minutes. Like you, I also want people to save money and build wealth. So, I have developed a messenger based bot to track expenses and income. Would you please give it a shot and see if you can recommend people to use it.
    I will send you the link based on your reply. Thanks in advance.

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