If you know me, this has been quite a “Corner Stone” / “War Story” of me starting up my business. Even though I wished too, I didn’t want to publicly name the Networking Group that did this to us. I know some good people in it – and if I was to publicly name the group, it would make it just harder for them – but believe me, I would like too!
However, in light of protecting my buddies – I still wanted to present this story as a warning to everyone else out there. When I first started my business, it was tough. I was under-confident, not too happy, had Vista-Print business cards and no money. So going out to a Networking Group for the first time was hard as!
I then found a local Networking Referral Group. If you aren’t familiar with this wording – it’s not so much a Networking Group where you meet people (e.g. say 4Networking) – it’s more of “Closed Network” where you purchase a seat. That is – you have one of each profession and YOU MUST refer to each of them.
The Group measures you by the number of visitors and referrals you give and if you don’t deliver – you will get shunned and eventually kicked out.
There was a start-up chapter of this group nearby in Inner West Sydney. It was about $1100 to join and besides the odd person I didn’t get along with – it was a great group of people. Then about the 4th meeting, we have this “Director” by the name of “Brian” come along.
The man was mean and abusive and sat there and told us all that we have to “Bring Visitors” along. If we didn’t, we would be asked to leave.
That day, quite a few members left the group and had quite a horrible reaction to being treated this way (i.e. it wasn’t just my view, it was a common view of this being handled poorly). It put an incredible amount of stress on me and it was some very tough times for me.
I found another Networking Group which was fantastic (i.e. 4Networking which I love), and then about 3 months later the Chapter collapsed. So I bet on the right horse and did well getting out of there!
I think I grew up 5 years in 2 months over this experience and it taught me of some of the lack of ethics some people have. When people start out in business, they are already going up against the odds – and some evil characters exploit this. I always said to myself, if I see this “Brian” fellow in the street – I would give him a piece of my mind.
He is the type of character I bet that would often be rude to waitresses and probably have beaten up smaller children than him when he was at Primary School.
My lesson is one big time – if you are starting out, make sure you are mixing with a positive and supportive crowd that have your interests at heart! If you get caught up in the wrong circles like I did – don’t take it, don’t get upset, just move on! I was very lucky to meet the likes of Grant Dempsey from 4Networking to help me back on my feet! As for you “Brian”, if you ever read this blog – be thankful I didn’t use your last name. I probably should have you meanie!
So if you know who I am talking about, make sure you try and steal his wallet if you see him in the street!
Here’s to looking after and protecting the underdog!