If you are just getting started and are looking for networking opportunities and speaking gigs, I have one very big piece of advice: Start locally. Here’s why this is so important when you are ramping up:
1. When you network locally, it’s easier to attend groups or events more frequently. This will help you get to know people better.
2. Staying local means your network will build on itself as you meet more people who know the same people you do.
3. With local networking, you can get more visibility in a particular area to get known better by the community.
4. Local speaking gigs give you the opportunity to network with these same people repeatedly, creating a stronger impression.
When you go outside your area at the beginning, you risk spreading yourself too thin. You won’t be able to follow up and benefit from the lasting impression that comes with meeting the same people over and over again. This is how important connections and relationships form.
To get more clients and build business, you want to be seen frequently in your area. People will think you are everywhere, which is good for getting noticed. When people see you in several places, awareness for what you do starts to spread, which is exactly what you want.
In addition, I don’t need to tell you how quickly travel expenses can add up these days. Plus, traveling makes it difficult to manage your time and may prevent you from implementing your marketing plans. You’ll be at your desk even less.
When you focus on speaking and networking locally, you can manage your time far more effectively. This is especially important at the start of your practice.
Have you done a thorough search for networking groups and associations in your area? If not, make it a top priority this week. Make a list everything you find. In addition, as you get out there, ask the people you meet if they can recommend other groups or associations. That’s a wonderful way to expand your circle of connections and discover opportunities you might not find any other way.