“The world is run by those who show up” - anon.
I quit my career as an engineer and started my own education business, Coding Kids, all because I turned up. I am where I am today because of networking.
The value in networking is serendipity. Often, it is not the person you meet, but rather the people that they know and can connect you with. The value is in the second degree of separation. It broadens your network exponentially. The one connection is actually dozens of connections.
5 years ago, I was still thinking about starting my own business. At the time, I had been reading a lot of books on business and catching up with my business mentor. But, I was not doing much else. My business mentor recognised this gap and encouraged that I go to networking events. He said, I had done enough reading and I needed to just turn up, start networking, and meeting people.
My mentor, who lived in Sydney at the time, sent me an email with a link to River City Labs’ Startup Spring events in October 2014. There were about half a dozen events over a 2-week period. I went to a number of these events. I met a number of people who kept mentioning Startup Weekend and how it changed their lives. So I signed up. I did it. And my team won. But that was not the best bit.
I met a significant connection at Startup Weekend. We were not even on the same team, but we talked a lot about our personal goals and journey. As part of that conversation I mentioned that I wanted to learn to code, but I did not know where to start. She encouraged me learn to code by joining CoderDojo, a volunteer run non-profit organisation that teaches children to code, as a mentor. Her tip: just learn faster than the kids. So I did that. Soon I became team leader and I had all of these ideas of how to do things better. I started thinking seriously about a bigger idea, perhaps going out on my own, but for a long time I did not think that I could do it. Finally, I changed my mind. I could do it. I started my own business, Coding Kids, in January 2016. All because I was told to just turn up.