There must have been enough food for an entire army. His team had filled jar upon jar with roasted nuts, chocolate covered almonds, and trail mix. There were a dozen bags of chips, and more candy was overflowing from the kitchen. Plus, he had a professional catering company on-site to serve up burgers, flatbread pizzas, and steaks during the game.

But with only fifty-five guests- all of them fitness professionals or their partners- that meant there was plenty left over. Of course, such a spread encouraged everyone in our group to devour too much food before, during, and even after this magnificent SuperBowl party. Through it all, there was plenty of networking to do. That was the real reason we were there.

The scene was my friend Joe’s annual affiliate party. Each year, he invites his top business partners to enjoy the SuperBowl down in Tampa Bay, Florida, and this past year marked the first time it was held at his new palatial waterfront home in St. Pete’s Beach.

However, the night wasn’t about the house, the food, or even the game. It was about the people at the party. Joe was celebrating his best year ever. As he thanked everyone for attending, he said, “I couldn’t have achieved my success without you.”

It was true. His business was built on the power of relationships and on the value of his network. His network helped create his net worth.

Perhaps you’ve heard the old saw, “Your network is your net worth.” It’s not just a worn-out cliché, but a saying with a strong element of truth to it. The most successful people I know are the ones with the strongest and most varied (and often even the most unusual) network of connections.

In my friend Joe’s case, he realized he couldn’t accomplish his dreams and achieve his ambitions without the help of others. That’s why he’s constantly inviting people in his network to visit him, or taking his top affiliates on vacations to Mexico, or attending the biggest networking events in the Internet marketing industry.

Fortunately for Joe and his young family, he no longer needs to travel around to meet people. He’s built his connections and support system so strongly that people routinely are willing to come to him. They want to be a part of his network, because they know it will boost their net worth.

That said, you’re not going to become wealthy and successful just because you have a couple of wealthy and successful connections. The world demands more than that. You must add value to the world and also to your network. You can’t focus solely on what you can get from your relationships.

Good networkers concentrate on the value that they can add to their connections. It starts by looking to help others, rather than with an inward approach. Those who look only to gain through relationships with others are quickly found out and thereafter struggle to make connections. Networking cannot be a selfish activity.

If you knew Joe, you’d realize that he could easily be accused of out-giving his network. In addition to the two annual first-class parties he has for the top people in his network, Joe also makes each one of his business partners more money than they make for him. He also goes out of his way to coach them and connect them with others when he can.

He’s what authors Bob Burg and John David Mann call, “A Go Giver”.

Here’s what this all means to you. No matter where you are starting, you need to build your network. The easiest way for you to do that is by connecting with other like- minded people.

Fortunately, that doesn’t require travelling across the country or halfway around the world. These days you can meet great people on the Internet at almost no cost, and, through technology, you can get world-class advice from the best available mentors.

You can also meet people that will be able to share the resources you need to make big strides in your business. This is an often-overlooked and underappreciated component of building a network. But there is great value in being able to ask for help and getting a referral from someone you trust.

For example, let’s say you need a tech expert to help you build a blog. Without a network, you’d be at the mercy of companies that you stumble across with a few Google searches. The end result of this type of connection is often one of the horror stories we hear from beginner online entrepreneurs. They end up spending thousands of dollars for a website that still isn’t done.

On the other hand, with a simple network, our same beginner entrepreneur could reach out to their trusted connections for a referral. Within hours, if not minutes, our beginner entrepreneur would likely be given several recommendations, all of which that come backed with a referral from someone they trust. This story ends happily, with our budding business owner having a new website online in a few weeks – or even days – and all at the fairest cost possible.

That’s the power of a network. Doesn’t that sound a lot better than trying to find all the resources and going through a trial-and-error period with every contract worker?

Of course, your network often contributes to deals much bigger than that. Take the story of how the new Early to Rise came to be. I first met Matt in 2008 through Yanik Silver’s Mastermind, where we both invested a significant amount of money to improve our businesses and connect with others. Matt and I became better friends via email networking, attending the same events, and I eventually joined another networking club that Matt helped start (The Atlas 400).

It was then through one of Yanik’s crazy Maverick Business Adventure trips (this time to the Arizona desert to learn evasive driving and firearm skills) that Matt and I had a chance to talk about the future of my business. Matt was being a great networker by looking to add value to my life. It was there, in the Tucson Airport, that I told Matt my ultimate business goal was to have a comprehensive life improvement website, much like
the one we both had followed for years, EarlytoRise.com.

Finally, months after this discussion, Matt contacted me out of the blue. He was at yet another event, this time with the successful newsletter publishers in his network. He had just finished a conversation with Michael Masterson. Michael was looking to find an eager, ambitious, and energetic young team to take over Early To Rise. Thanks to the power of his network, Matt was there when this deal was offered. Furthermore, thanks to the power of my network – which, admittedly, was smaller than Matt’s – I was able to achieve the EXACT business dream I had first shared with my first-ever business coach back in 2006.

That’s how your network becomes your net worth. I’m living proof.

Understand that it might take months or years for a relationship in your network to develop into something big. That’s why you should always be centered on giving value to the connections you build. Like investing your money, the dividends can take years to compound into a substantial return on your investment. Be patient, enjoy the process, and become a go-giver. Until then, enjoy the means to the end as much as you will enjoy the end itself.

Take action, work towards your vision, attract others, attend events, mastermind, connect online, help first without any regard for return favors, deliver value, and build goodwill.

Be a good, fun, giving person that other people want to be around and refer to others.

As my friend and mentor Yanik Silver is fond of saying, “You can’t out-give the universe,” and that goes for your network as well. Whenever an opportunity comes along for you to connect with like-minded individuals, do everything in your power to take advantage of it. You never know what dreams you’ll achieve through the people you meet.

[Ed. Note. Craig Ballantyne is the Editor of EarlytoRise.com and Financial Independence Monthly. He also coaches executives of companies with sales over $1 million. Today, Matt Smith and Craig are now offering more information on their new virtual mastermind program. Click here to find out more.]

 

Craig Ballantyne

Craig Ballantyne is the author of The Perfect Day Formula: How to Own the Day and Control Your Life. Craig has been a contributor to Men's Health magazine for over 17 years. Today he teaches his gift high-performing entrepreneurs how to squeeze more out of their days, increase their income, and make more quality time for their families in his Perfect Life Workshop and Work-Life Mastery programs. Craig used his own advice to overcome crippling anxiety attacks in 2006, and he'll teach you his 5 Pillars of Success so you can increase your income, decrease your work time, and live the life of your dreams. Learn more about Craig at craigballantyne.com