Putting the "Net" Back in Networking

May 30, 2016 3 min read

equine business entrepeneurA Business and a Life Built on Relationships

In the world of horsemanship, the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event is the next best thing to the Olympics. Between the dressage, the jumping, and the cross-country event, it’s a spectacle that people come from around the world to see. It’s a true bucket list item that I’ve always dreamed of attending, and this year, I was lucky enough to get to be a merchant in the trade village. For three whole days, I was “trapped” inside a giant room full of horse-lovers and entrepreneurs, in front of a giant Jumbotron showing the impressive feats of some of the most talented horses and riders in the world. I was in heaven. Aside from drooling over all those gorgeous and astonishing horses, it was also an incredible opportunity to build relationships — to grow my network. I had the privilege of sharing a booth with Joanna of JoJo Sox, and the laughs and kinship we shared over the course of those three days were so rewarding. Joanna owns a socks and accessories company, and for every tote bag they sell, they fill another bag with groceries for families in need in her hometown. What an incredible person to get to share a booth with. As we whiled the weekend away, watching one jaw-dropping event after another, I got to know Joanna and her passion for innovation, entrepreneurship, and philanthropy. Another woman I get to connect with often is Emily from Ece Equestrian, who started her own radio show on the Horse Radio Network. She is connected to everyone in the horse world, and she built her own brand of equestrian clothing from the ground up. We’re entrepreneur friends, and we always get to chat at various shows.

I am always blown away by the amazing women entrepreneurs I meet.

Women have such a passion for what they do, and they are such inherently giving people. They really dig from within to do things with all the passion they have; when that passion is put to good use, there’s no limit to what people can do with one another. Every opportunity I get to attend an event like this is another chance to connect with people who are in business for some of the same reasons I am. They too want to make a difference in the world doing something they love.

I came from a really difficult place to start my business. I was at rock-bottom, feeling defeated and like I’d have to let go of my greatest passion.

Now I spend a lot of my free time touring local colleges, trade shows, and fairs, reaching out to young men and women. Some of them have just finished college, and many are entering the workforce with no real clue what they want to do or who they want to be. I’ve been there. I’m able to give them a little inspiration, reach out to them, and give them some community. I ask them what they dream about, and I tell them to take a stab at it because it just might work! I wouldn't be able to do that, or give that advice with the confidence I do, if it weren't for the network of people I get to surround myself with. My network challenges and inspires me.

The root of networking is the word net.

It’s the basis for what we do. As entrepreneurs and as human beings, we network because every connection we create with another human being is another strand in our personal safety net. Those connections are our life rafts — for our businesses, for our futures, and in some cases, for our hearts. When we have a solid community of people and ideas around us, we are able to be braver and take a stab at things we might not otherwise. – Kat Chrysostom


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