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Today’s topic is building confidence in networking and putting yourself out there.  I have written this with Bookkeepers and Accountants in mind but it can certainly apply to anyone.

So I have an advantage here as my background before I started bookkeeping was in Marketing and social media. I spent about 5 and a half years doing that so I am pretty comfortable up in front of an audience. However at the beginning of my career in marketing I will be honest I was pretty quiet and shy. I Had to get over that though to find success.

I find that a lot of bookkeepers and accountants tend to be more like I was at first. Quiet and shy. Not really wanting to put themselves out there. It really is the perfect job for an introvert. Always hiding behind a computer.

However times are changing and now that we are slowly being seen as more then just data entry people we need to step outside that comfort zone. For whatever reason. Could be simply confidence with your clients so they can see you as their trusted advisor. Could be that you want to offer seminar and speaking engagements, offering up all your knowledge. Could be that you want to get out there to find new clients.

Whatever the reason its time to step out from behind that computer.

So how do you start? It can be really overwhelming to push yourself to step into those new situations. Feel free to start Small. Pick one group to network with and just start by attending an event. No pressure to do much more then that. I started with a local woman’s group. Showing up can be the hardest part. Once I showed up it became easier each time. Have your 30 sec elevator speech ready. Given the opportunity you will need it to introduce yourself around.

Each time you deliver this speech it will get easier. During my first year of membership I delivered this speech every month and each time it was a little easier. You can develop what you say and how you say it over time as your comfort level grows. Once you are comfortable with that take advantage of other opportunities to speak to the group. Once your confort level has grown with one group try another. Some that I have been a part of are The local woman’s networking group, ours is Quinte Woman in Business. A great one is your local chamber of commerce, they offer so much make sure you really connect with them and take advantage. If you fully develop your relationship with them you will benefit so much. Don’t just join and assume things will happen, you have to get involved. There are a lot of young professionals networks, find one in your area. Start up Quinte is part of Quintevation here, there could be a local start up in your area. There are groups like mompreneurs, or the local small business centre. Once you start finding these groups you will see that they are everywhere.

If you are looking to grow to the point of being a speaker or offering your own seminars you may want to investigate something like Toastmasters.

There are so many out there and remember that all the people attending these events want to meet you. They are there to grow their own network so say hello, Exchange cards and get out of your comfort zone.

Remember to act confident and over time it will begin to come naturally.

Thanks for hanging out with me today. Be sure to follow our YouTube Chanel and check out my video on Networking for Bookkeepers here!