Tbh probably the most exciting and scary experience I’ve had this month.
So, long story short – my cousin and his friend have been telling me to expand my horizons outside of online connections and to try to get feedback from outsider’s perspectives aka professionals in social media/blogging/vlogging and get real advice from all the successful online entrepreneurs.
It took me a little bit to understand what this really meant but as the last few months went by, I finally realized that ‘what this meant’ was clearly said and I was just not hearing it.
Going to panels and networking events to meet people.
Yeah.. It sounds pretty simple but when you’re afraid of the idea of meeting smart people who obviously know better than you, well it gets a bit more complicated than that.
I never realized that I was actually scared about networking with people.. I mean, I do seem very social, and I am – but I’m equally socially anxious. I’m very nervous about what people think of me and a part of me wants to feel accepted no matter what.. Which might be due to the fact that I’ve been bullied at a young age and don’t want to feel alone or excluded.
Anyways, so putting these scares behind, I signed up for my first networking event which happened earlier today (November 29, 2018). The event was on how to use Instagram to grow your business – and I thought it was the perfect first event to go to!
Knowing it was on the other side of the world (next to the Don Valley Parkway which is 40 minutes away from me without traffic) I knew I had to leave at least an hour and a half before the event. And so I did! But because the traffic in Toronto is so bad, I got there 30 minutes late.
IT TOOK ME TWO HOURS TO GET THERE!
Since I was so focused on being on time, I was really nervous about the idea of being late and looking like a complete idiot due to my lateness. I wasn’t sure if I would still go around 6pm because that’s when the event was technically starting and also I was still half an hour away at that time.
I decided to still go and whatever would happen, well would happen!
Once I got there, I saw a receptionist from outside so I knew that I could just ask her if it was too late to go in there and if it was, well I just would’ve went back in the car. The idea of just having one person knowing I was late was more pleasing than the idea of 20 people or so knowing that.
None of this happened though – the receptionist was super nice and told me I was on time! The reason they actually put 6 PM on the event is for people to start arriving and start ‘mingling’ as they call it. Aka networking.
So after getting my name, she told me where to go to meet people. The other attendees were just random people talking to each other on the other side of the entrance. I remember being soooo nervous as I was walking there and even hid for a few seconds in a corridor.
I eventually took my courage into my own hands and confronted what I was scared most of: meeting people and owning up/proudly presenting my work/myself.
I started to talk with a few people until one of the women I was speaking with asked if I had a business card. Well, that was my first mistake.. I didn’t bring any! I should’ve thought of this before – but, I was there so I owned up my fault and said that unfortunately I do not have any. I explained that this was my first networking event and I didn’t really know what to expect.
The people were very nice, welcoming and understanding and were even sharing some of their first times at such events!
Eventually, the panel started and we all walked in a room were six panelists were waiting for us to sit in the audience section.
All six panelists were digital marketing professionals/influencers/digital media savvy. They shared sooo many ways to grow an Instagram account for business (which I will be writing about in a few days). I definitely felt like I came to the right place and all the recommendations these women were sharing were so helpful! From the right applications to use to how to use Instagram as your business was really awesome to know.
At the end of the panel, we had to put our business cards (or contact info) into this bowl for a surprise raffle! I usually never win anything but my luck quickly came around because I won a half hour Instagram analysis with one of the panelists! I was so happy to win this because it’s exactly what I wanted from this event – have someone helping out with my Instagram reach and techniques to represent the blog better.
I am so excited to work with this professional and get to learn from her and from the others that I collected cards from. I was so scared to go to this event but going there actually opened up a few doors that I’m so excited to explore!
If I have one advice or one thing that I’d really like to share with you guys from that one particular event is to go after what scares you. I mean, what do you have to lose? You already know and can feel the negative outcome, so even if a negative outcome would come (which probably won’t) well, you can just say that you were expecting it. But guess what? Most of the things we are scared off usually never come true. They actually turn out great and we realize how useless that fright was.
Don’t let your fear take over your mind from going after what you really want. Use that fear and just embrace it fully to become the next level of awesome that you are.