Networking...is it worth it?
You are a business owner. You opened up your business a couple weeks ago in a field you feel really comfortable with. You start your marketing and you have every one tell you to network more. So you start searching for networking groups and find a few that are general groups (chamber of commerce), some that are referral based (BNI) and others that are just professionals gathering to chat (meet ups). You start attending these events and one thing is clear, you will only get out what you put in.
You are a business owner now and you have to represent your brand. There is not time to be shy, or be quite. You have to put yourself in front of people. But when networking, make sure you put yourself in front of the right people. If you keep blabbing off your elevator pitch to every person you meet, you will start to tire and think that networking is not for you. Take your time talking with others and remember, chances are, they are just as shy as you are. Lucky for you, you are a business owner in the industry you love, so show that. Your experience and knowledge will be the greatest ice breaker when delivered properly.
Dont feel obligated to attend every network event you hear about. Feel free to check out new events from time to time but develop relationships with one or 2 select groups that you know you can refer each other business with. But always try to come out of your shell. Confidence commands the room.