I started my health and wellness business, Arbonne 7 years ago and like many in the initial stages of starting a business I contacted my friends and family to start to build up my client base. It’s a great way to start but of course not sustainable as they eventually run out so I needed a way to find and continue to grow my client base and that’s where networking came in.
I visited various groups and organisations and quite honestly I don’t remember much about my first visit to the Athena Hampstead group nearly 5 years ago due to all the nerves. It must have made an impression as I chose that group to join above all of the rest. 5 months later at what I thought was just another regular meeting, turned out to be a life changing moment. Maureen, the regional director of the North London region at the time, was standing down and looking for a replacement. I was sitting next to her at that meeting and knew that this opportunity was for me and I had to take it. Not only would it boost my current business, but I’d be able to earn an extra income, support other women in business as well as develop personally and professionally. I started as a Regional director in August that year of 2016 thinking it was going to be easy …
Even though I had no experience of running networking groups and not much as a networker everything seemed fine at first but one by one, the current members either moved to another group outside of my region or decided not to renew and the group numbers got critically low. I could no longer be complacent and got into serious business growth mode. I did all I could to get the numbers back up again, attending every networking meeting going, cold calling, social media and lots of visualising and remaining positive the whole time. Then all of a sudden, the groups started to grow again and once I had at least 12 members in both the Hampstead and Muswell Hill and Finchley groups I went onto launch the St John’s Wood group in September 2018 and then the Primrose Hill group in May 2019 and currently run 4 groups in total.
Of course, Covid 19 has come with its own challenges but we were fortunate as an organisation to have a contingency plan in place and were able to transition overnight from our model of Face-to-Face networking to online networking via zoom. Sadly, many members were no longer able to continue with their membership due to the pandemic but on the whole the groups are still thriving, members are able to promote their business, get and maintain clients but above all have the support of the network and other members during such a difficult time.
If you’d like to find out more about visiting an online group get in touch via the website.