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The One Skill You Need in 2023

entrepreneurship networking self-improvement Dec 26, 2022

My online business journey began in 2015.

For the next five years, I worked hard. I spent 20+ hours per week writing and building my "business" — on top of my 9-5.

But I made less than $10,000 over that entire span of time.

This happens to people often. And most of them quit.

We've all seen online creators come and go:

  • Blogs with no new posts in years
  • Inactive social media accounts (with thousands of followers)

You hate to see it. So much potential wasted.

And I don't want you to be next.

I was lucky because I didn't quit. And one day, I found the solution to my problem.

We often think our content quality is the problem, but it rarely is.

Yes, you want to write well. But most people aren't great when they start. Neither were many of your favorite creators.

My issue was a simple belief — that I didn't need to interact with others.

I believed I could write, gain attention, then sell products to those people. And while this is possible, it's a difficult road.

I had to fix my mindset and accept that there might be a better way.

And for aspiring online creators, there is.

Why You Need to Network

Most online wantrepreneurs struggle because they aren't networking.

  • They don't know their market well.
  • They have no way to test ideas and get new clients.
  • They miss opportunities to learn from those ahead of them.
  • They lack friendships that inspire and motivate them to succeed.

Unfortunately, they don't realize that this one skill is holding them back.

And I get it — because I was one of them.

There are various reasons why people shy away from reaching out to others:

  • They don't know what to say.
  • They don't know how to find people.
  • They don't want to come off as spammy.
  • They don't think they have any value to add.

No one wants to tarnish their brand, embarrass themselves, or waste time.

But when I talk to my favorite (and most successful) friends, they all say the same thing. Networking is a key to their success.

People like Dan Koe and Justin Welsh have said this in their tweets as well:

If you can learn to network, the world is your oyster.

It helped me build a 6-figure online coaching business. And it's going to play an integral role in my path to 7-figures.

Again, you don't have to be great to begin. Start small and increase the quantity and quality of your connections as you grow.

Because these people will help you become better.

The people you network with become clients, friends, mentors, and acquaintances. They improve your odds of success by providing feedback, motivation, enjoyment, and income.

Your network impacts your net worth and well-being in a big way.

Networking Done Wrong

There are a million ways to screw up your networking efforts. From asking Googleable questions to being needy. From being annoying to having no personality.

I can't go through all those reasons.

But most people suck at networking for a few key reasons:

  • They don't follow a good process
  • They're not consistent (so it doesn't pay off)
  • They don't reach out to the right people enough

When you network wrong, it doesn't work.

It becomes frustrating and, eventually, you quit.

There's a reason Naval said, "networking and agenda-less coffees are pointless."

When you don't have the right goals (or worse, any goals), networking is a waste of time.

Below, I will show you how to get clear and network the right way. Use this if you want your online business to grow faster, starting today.

Why You Need a Networking Process

If you want to network like a pro, you need a process. This is the number one thing that screws people up.

They either start with a broken process.

Or they do some of the right things with little consistency.

Both lead to one road — giving up.

When you have a good process, you know exactly what to do and when to do it.

You know what you're trying to achieve and what you need to do to make that happen.

By defining strict parameters, you can make quick decisions. This is critical.

Most people waste time trying to find people to connect with.

Or when they find them, they waste time thinking about what they want to say.

Why? Because they don't have clear criteria for making decisions.

Imagine this:

Instead of finding two potential connections in an hour, you find 30.

Instead of sending three DMs in 30 minutes, you send 20.

Over the span of six months, the difference is staggering.

You can struggle. Or you can thrive.

It's your choice.

If you want to thrive, keep reading.

How to Find Your Tribe, Connect, Have Fun, and Grow ASAP

To create a good networking process, you must know:

  1. Your goals
  2. Who you want to connect with (and their qualities)
  3. Where to find potential connections
  4. The value you bring to the table
  5. How to make networking fun
  6. How to connect (the right way)
  7. How to manage your networking efforts

Learn these and you'll be unstoppable.

You'll create friends, clients, and mentors in no time. And the quality of your connections will continue to grow over time.

Here are the exact steps you need to create a networking process that works wonders for you:

1. Your Goals

You can't hit a target if you don't know what it is. — Tony Robbins

It's easier to hit your networking goals when you know what they are.

You likely want the people you meet to become one (or more) of the following:

Clients - people you help in exchange for money, experience, testimonials, or a deeper connection.

Friends - people who provide motivation, enjoyment, a shared vision, and good vibes (and vice versa).

Mentors - people who help you in exchange for money, testimonials, a deeper connection, or some other form of value.

You can look for clients, friends, and mentors at the same time.

Also, one person can play more than one role (e.g. a mentor can also be a friend). Or their role can change (e.g. someone who starts as a friend can mentor you later).

But often, you'll have one priority.

  • Maybe you want clients ASAP to gain experience and get testimonials.
  • Maybe you want to befriend like-minded people to make your online journey more fun.
  • Or maybe you want a mentor to learn more about your niche and the skills needed

Once you know your goals, write them down. Then choose one as your top choice. This will be your main focus.

Don't worry, even with one focus — like creating clients — you can still create friends and mentors.

2. Who You Want to Connect with (and Their Qualities)

This is crucial.

You need to define what qualifies someone as a person you want to reach out to. Otherwise, you'll spend too much time deciding.

You'll be inconsistent and indecisive. You'll miss out on good opportunities and you'll waste time on the wrong people.

The goal is to get good at knowing — within seconds of seeing someone's profile — whether they make the cut or not.

The first and most important question you must answer is this:

Do I vibe with this person?

Don't connect simply because they could become a client or teach you something.

If you don't find them interesting (like someone you'd want to hang out with), don't try to network with them.

You won't end up with clients you don't like. And you won't end up with mentors you ignore.

These people could be in your life for several years, so choose wisely.

This simple question makes networking way more fun and effective. Don't skip this step.

Next, answer this question:

What are the potential qualifiers?

I'll use myself as an example. If I want potential clients for my coaching business mentorship, I want people who:

  • Are spiring or struggling coaches
  • Have decent-quality content (at worst)
  • Tweets often (showing drive and commitment)
  • Write about health, wealth, relationships, or well-being

These could be my qualifiers.

I'm looking to see if the person is a good fit according to my goals.

They don't need to check every box, but the more the better.

For example, someone might tweet about techniques to overcome anxiety. Even if they don't mention anything about being (or wanting to be) a coach, they could be open to the idea of becoming one. They'd fit the bill and I'd reach out to them.

Another example: If you want a mentor to help you grow your Twitter following, you may look for someone with:

  • 25K+ followers
  • High-quality content
  • A similar niche to yours
  • 5K+ followers in the last 2 months
  • A personal brand that's not anonymous

You might not know their growth in the last two months. But the other qualifiers give them enough potential.

And now you have one last question to answer:

What disqualifies someone as a potential connection?

This keeps you from wasting time by moving through your search at a rapid pace.

Two seconds in and you see a disqualifier — boom. Onto the next one.

Back to my example of looking for aspiring coaches. If I see "freelancer," "web designer," or "ecom founder" in their bio, it's an immediate pass.

I don't need to waste any more time on this profile.

Maybe you're a fitness trainer looking for clients. Don't choose the guy who's jacked in his profile pic. It's obvious he doesn't need your help. Move on.

Maybe you're looking for friends with shared goals and good vibes. Your disqualifiers could be:

  • They argue about politics
  • They don't tweet every day
  • They focus on money, not purpose or impact
  • They post negative content and complain often
  • Their life goals are too different (e.g. you want a business and they want a career)

See how clear this makes it? By defining your disqualifiers, you quickly know when to pass on someone.

When most people network, they have these in the back of their heads. Sometimes they remember them, sometimes they don't.

This makes their process slow, inefficient, and ineffective.

This won't be you anymore.

Take some time and answer this question. Include anything that disqualifies people from being a potential connection.

3. Where to Find Potential Connections

Knowing how to find people fast makes your networking process seamless.

Let me show you how:

a) Finding Clients

Ask yourself: who's audience do I want?

Then, go to their profile and look at the people commenting on their tweets.

You should find several people who fit your criteria.

Helpful tip: sometimes you think someone has the audience you want but they don't.

For example, I thought I wanted Justin Welsh's audience. As I went through his commenters, most were freelancers and ghostwriters, not coaches.

So I stopped going through his content looking for clients.

Once you find a good account, keep using them!

And keep looking for new accounts!

Don't get complacent when you find a few people. Because you never know when you'll strike a goldmine. They're often unexpected and you only find them if you keep searching.

b) Finding Friends

Ask yourself: who do I vibe with most?

Add them to your list.

Then, go to their profile and see who they interact with by clicking the "Tweets and replies" section:

This shows their comments and replies. By analyzing these, you can quickly see who they interact with and how they talk to them.

Do their comments sound like they are friends?

This could be a person for you to consider connecting with.

c) Finding Mentors

Ask yourself: who can help me the most?

Already have some in mind? Add them to your list.

Need to find more? Look at the people they follow.

You want your mentors to be good at what they do. High-quality accounts often follow other high-quality accounts.

By looking at these, you can find more potential mentors to help you on your journey.

4. The Value You Bring to the Table

Relationships need to be mutually beneficial.

Strive to give more than you receive. This will take you far in life.

Before reaching out, you want to know what value you can provide. When it comes time to give it (or offer it), you want to be ready.

Again, we want to make this efficient. If you have to spend an hour thinking about it — or worse, you can't think of anything — you're shooting yourself in the foot.

Networking will be slow and ineffective, and you'll quit.

The solution? Think about this ahead of time.

Here are some common ways to add value:

a) Adding Value to Potential Clients

How can you help potential clients?

  • Advice
  • Insights
  • Guidance
  • Motivation
  • Accountability

Something else?

Create a list of resources, knowledge, systems, or perspectives you can share. These should help people overcome common obstacles in your field of expertise.

They don't have to be proprietary either. Articles, YouTube videos, quotes, books, whatever.

If you can find and disseminate these fast, you're golden.

Remember, speed and effectiveness are key. This solves both.

b) Adding Value to Friends

Like the above. But don't focus on client obstacles. Think about your goals, interests, values, and curiosities.

You want to connect with like-minded people. If things that are important to you don't matter to them, they're not a good fit.

If you're trying to scale your service business, keep a list of resources you're using to help you grow.

If you like philosophy, have easy access to helpful notes, quotes, and books.

As you get to know these people, topics will come up that interest you both. This makes it easy to share things they enjoy or find useful.

c) Adding Value to Mentors

It takes a different skill set to add value to mentors since they are ahead of you (in at least one area).

Sharing resources and advice still help, but there are other great ways to add value too:

You can take advice from one of their tweets, get results, and thank them (like a mini-testimonial).

You can ask good, specific questions. Show them you understand their philosophy by having targeted questions when you're stuck.

You can compliment them and ask a personal question. Show them you have commonalities and an interest in getting to know them.

d) Other Notes on Adding Value

Think through your goals and the type of people you want to connect with.

Come up with a list of different ways to add value.

Over time, your list will grow and become stronger.

Don't forget: there's more to this than sharing resources.

If you're good at motivating people, do it!

If you're good at holding people accountable (without annoying them lol), do it!

Be creative and be of service. They won't forget.

5. How to Make Networking Fun

When you do the above, networking is way more fun. Having a clear process and connecting with people you find interesting go a long way.

This is important. If it's not fun, it's not sustainable.

The more you enjoy it, the more you will stick with it, and the more success you will have.

But you can make networking even more enjoyable. Crazy, I know.

Here's how:

a) Combine Networking with a Reward

When you tie an action to a reward, it's more likely to become a habit.

Your brain releases dopamine in anticipation of the reward. The dopamine then motivates you to take that action.

For example, if I want to DM three people every day, I might say:

Right after I get my morning coffee, I will sit at my computer and find three people to DM.

Or I can receive the reward after the action:

After I DM three people, I can engage on Twitter for 20 minutes.

Notice how this involves a plan? This is a central theme.

The more conscious you are of what you want and how you'll do it, the more likely you will.

b) Daily Checklist

This is actually the same as combining with a reward, but it deserves its own little section, so it gets it.

Jerry Seinfeld famously said that the best way to become a better comic was to write better jokes. And the best way to write better jokes is to write jokes every day.

He hung a big wall calendar and, for every day he completed his writing task, he put a big X over that day.

This acts as a reward. When you get a chain going, you feel good marking each new X and want to keep doing it.

If networking is important to you, this is a great way to make it a daily habit.

6. How to Connect (the Right Way)

We've talked about this:

More success = more fun = more success

Start by reading Dan Koe's process here:

I want to add a few tips to help:

  • First, follow the person
  • Next, comment on a few of their posts over the next few days
  • Then follow Dan's process
  • Read my section 4 above for more ways to add value
  • Get good at answering the question "what do you do"

This last point is important. If things go well when you connect, they will ask about you.

Say what you do in a compelling way. There's always a chance they will want your services.

Instead of saying, "I'm a productivity coach," give a little backstory. Include:

  • Pains
  • Benefits
  • Your "why"
  • The current status


I used to work 60 hours per week, always feeling stressed but never feeling like I got anything done. I worked hard to change that and dropped it to less than 30.

My stress disappeared and I produced higher-quality work. By eliminating nearly all admin and grunt work, I enjoyed working again.

This also created free time to do things that mattered — like working out, spending time with my family, and doing more important strategic/creative work.

This had such a big impact on my life that I decided to help others do the same thing. Now I'm working to get a few more clients to fill my coaching biz.

When told as a compelling story, people are much more likely to dig in, ask about it, and even hire you.

But sometimes your service won't interest them. No biggie. They still get a better sense of who you are and why you're doing it. You become more interesting and make them more likely to want to connect.

This increased success makes networking more fun.

7. Manage Your Networking Efforts

As mentioned above, I like to connect with replies first before DMing. Because of this, I like to keep track of my networking status.

It’s a little extra work, but the value exceeds the effort. I always know where I am and what to do next.

My CRM is simple and tracks:

  • Name
  • Handle
  • Description (just a few words)
  • Last action I took
  • Other notes

Every day, you can hop into your CRM and pick a few people to advance the process.

If you don't track it, you will forget to follow up with some people and waste time trying to remember what to do next.

It only takes a few minutes and saves a lot of time in the long run.

8. Bonus Tip

I like Justin Welsh's concept of "Scaling the Ladder."

When trying to grow on LinkedIn, he found 50 people he wanted to connect with. They had audiences ranging from 5,000 to 100,000 followers.

But it can be hard to connect with big accounts in the beginning. So he started with the five who had the smallest follower count.

As he grew, he "moved up the ladder" by reaching out to the next biggest accounts on his list.

Eventually, he connected with them all.

This is a great strategy. Reaching out to big accounts may be futile now. But as your credibility and social proof grow, it gets easier.

Get Ready to Change Your Life Forever

Networking is a long-term play.

Relationships develop as you learn about each other. You find commonalities and meaningful interests.

You may not see a lot of progress in the first month. It may seem like the only thing you have is a messy inbox.

But a few months in and you'll have some friends, clients, and/or mentors.

Then six months later, you're blown away. Your life has completely changed.

The fruit of your labor compounds. Your business and life improve exponentially.

And you'll wonder why you didn't do this sooner.

Some final words of advice:

Give this the attention it deserves. Go through each of the steps listed here and determine:

  1. Your goals
  2. Who you want to connect with (and their qualities)
  3. Where to find potential connections
  4. The value you bring to the table
  5. How to make networking fun
  6. How to connect (the right way)
  7. How to manage your networking efforts

A conscious plan is a plan you'll follow.

A little extra work upfront makes the rest of this seamless, easy, and fun.

Soon you'll be a networking machine. And your success will show it.

- Rob Riker

If you're looking for help:

If you want to build an online coaching business on the side — so you can make some extra money, create impact, or eventually leave your 9-5 — networking is just one piece of the puzzle.

If you want a proven framework to build, grow, and monetize an online coaching business so you can do what you love full-time, I can help.

And you'll make your first $10K before the program ends, or you get a 100% refund.

Click here to learn more about my Online Coaching Business Mentorship Program.

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