How to Network Starting From Nothing + Fundraising Fieldnotes - 2.11.22
Hey - it’s Jason Yeh 🕺🏻
This is my Friday recap of thoughts I’ve had while helping founders solve their fundraising challenges this past week (2.11.22)
If you have any questions, please reply! I try to get to every comment/question I get :)
On to the Fieldnotes for 2.11.22…
How to Network starting from nothing
I’m going to start by sharing something that might get me blackballed from some startup circles.
I got an MBA back in 2012.
And I won’t stop there. Don’t cancel me for saying this, but… I enjoyed it AND think it was really valuable.
Crazy, I know.
When I first got accepted, people told me not to go to HBS. They'd say “Why go? It's only 20% about learning and 80% just meeting people.”
After going to HBS, I realize they were so wrong.
It's not 80 / 20. It's 99 / 1.
99% who you meet and only 1% what you learn… but that IS why you go.
My time in business school helped me internalize 3 very important but simple lessons. If you haven’t learned them yet, learn them now:
A strong network can take you to the moon
Not everyone has a network, but everyone can network
The path to a person might seem far, but the path to their network is not
But unfortunately, that lesson along with other pieces of advice around networking fall into a particular category - the type of advice that is both obvious and incredibly frustrating at the same time. Frustrating because yes of course you know a network is powerful, but telling me doesn’t help me actually build one.
This category of advice is doubly annoying in that it is usually hardest to follow for those who need it most. In other words, building a network is much harder to do for those that don’t already come to the table with some network. It cuts deepest for the underrepresented founders I work with so I hope this essay bridges the gap somewhat.
So networking… can it be done from scratch?
Yes, it can.
There are two keys to networking at any stage that are essential when starting from zero.
Key #1 - to network well you need to show up as someone that people want to network with aka “a great hang.”
In other words, are you someone who people want to spend time with… someone people want to introduce to others? And what does that even mean?
What it means, like my tongue in cheek tweet says, is you want to be a good hang. You want to be someone that people enjoy meeting, which can be derived from a variety of things. It can be how pleasant you are, the energy you bring to a situation, or the people you know. It can also be the value you bring when you meet someone. Are you someone that tries to give or take first? Do you come with a unique value that only benefits specific people? Or do you have a way to help most anyone you meet? Figure out what it is that you are and how you show up as someone people want to meet with and double down on that.
Whatever it is, the mindset of wanting to be someone that people value meeting is the framework you should use to approach networking.
This could very well mean you’re not ready to start actively networking because figuring out how to be a great hang comes first. Whatever your source of value is, you need to figure that out before you become a great networker.
Weekly Fieldnotes 👇
Sam Lessin’s next take on Calendly links was not as popular…
Great take. I’m always quick to share short notes that will help you better understand Investor Psychology…
Till next week. Stay adamant and be chased.
P.S. This made me roflcopter
In case you missed it…
Last week, we shared the top 22 essential newsletters for startup founders in ‘22:
If you thought this was helpful or enjoyable in any way, I’d love for you to:
Forward this newsletter to others who would enjoy it
Listen with a friend to Funded, my podcast that tells the rollercoaster stories of how founders raised millions (and subscribe🙏)
Ask me your fundraising questions so I can help you and cover them in a future issue