Authentic Networking with Yasmina Ellins

In the business world, networking is a key to success, but mastering this skill can be challenging. Yasmina Ellins, an expert at business relationship-building, shared her valuable insights in a recent discussion on how to effectively and authentically build connections. She emphasizes the need for genuine interactions, advocating for a human-centered approach in networking. Yasmina advises going into networking situations with the intention of contributing value rather than seeking personal gain.

“Networking is not about just connecting people. It’s about connecting people with people, people with ideas, and people with opportunities.”

Michele Jennae

Yasmina’s key strategies revolve around meaningful engagement. She encourages conversations that delve into people’s passions beyond their job titles, fostering deeper connections. Her advice includes looking for ways to add value through skills, knowledge, or even positive energy, leading to reciprocal relationships. She also suggests offering help without the expectation of immediate return, and tactfully balancing broad interactions with a deeper connection with a select few at events. Handling rejection gracefully and attending events with a clear, researched purpose are also part of her approach.

Yasmina’s own career trajectory demonstrates the power of her networking philosophy. Her authentic desire to assist others has led to connections with global influencers, resulting in opportunities like speaking engagements and business partnerships. Her consistent, selfless approach in networking, focused on adding value to others, has not only built a network but also cultivated a community of like-minded professionals, opening doors to new and unexpected possibilities.

Listen to the full conversation above for all of Yasmina’s networking Dos and Don’ts!

  • Read the Transcript

    Welcome to Startup Club. This is Start, Scale, Exit, Repeat, Serial Entrepreneur, Secrets Revealed. And we are setting up a new system here to record for a podcast. So please bear with us if we have a few little bugs today. The App Clubhouse has had some issues on replays. And we contacted them this week.

    And they have told us that the replays will be Uh, reinstalled, and that hopefully we’ll be able to syndicate those shows into a podcast. Mimi, welcome. Hey Colin, how are you? Oh, I see Yasmina here too. I’ll invite her to speak. Yeah, just doing a sound check, Mimi. How does it sound? How does it sound? The sound is fine, as long as you press record on, um, the Rodecaster.

    Oh, very good. Well, I forgot to do that. So we’ll kick it off now. This is Serial Entrepreneur Secrets Revealed. Start, scale, exit, repeat. Yes, that’s the name of the book. The number one bestseller that came out last October. Number one bestseller, by the way, in eight categories. From entrepreneurship to private equity to, um, starting a business number one on Amazon.

    It continues to sell very strongly and, uh, we’re very excited about how that’s turned out. Today, we’re going to be talking about authentic relationships and networking. And we have Yasmina Ellens online. We’re very lucky to have her online. And again, please bear with us if you’ve missed a few podcasts.

    The Clubhouse app had, they’ve told us that they are repairing the replays and now, but today we’re recording in our studio and Fort Lauderdale on a Roadcaster. So. Uh, we will have this episode available for podcast, but you may have missed a few episodes. We’re going to try to get those episodes published once, uh, Clubhouse gets, gets them back online.

    And, uh, going forward though, we’re talking about an incredible 2024, a time when AI. Is making a huge impact on how it can help startups accelerate. And I know we’ll be talking a lot about that in 2024, but today we’re really just talking about relationships, networking, and the importance of authentic, authentic relationships.

    And I cannot underestimate this. And sometimes I use the phrase that 50 percent of business comes from hard work. And the other 50 percent from networking and connecting with others. Michele’s, Michele Van Tilborg’s my co host. I do have a cold, if you have not noticed. We just lost her. Uh, but any thoughts on the topic before we, uh, open this up to Yasmina?

    Mimi? I’m

    really excited to hear Yasmina’s, um, takes on networking and building a strong Network with reliable communication, so I’m excited. Yeah, and then it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s such an area where a lot of entrepreneurs are very comfortable with networking and a lot of entrepreneurs like myself who are not comfortable with that, Yasmina.

    Michele, Michele’s back online here. She’s our co host. I wanted to get your thoughts first before we attack Yasmina. Yeah, I’m super excited. And thank you for coming to talk to our members today, Yasmina. But I think this is so critically important. And in one thing that I was thinking of, right, like, it’s kind of interesting, those of us who are, let’s just say more social oriented, like we get the value of networking, but not everyone does.

    Okay. Like, you know, I can tell you, and some of our Okay, great. companies that we’ve had that were very successful. Sometimes it was like a real struggle getting some people like the accounting or the lawyers to understand the importance of being, I’ll say quote social or networking. But for me, it’s, it’s proven invaluable to develop those skills and it’s something that I really enjoy.

    So I’m really looking forward to hearing. You know, your tips, um, for folks and helping us understand how we do this in a way that, um, you know, produces for the company, quite honestly. So thank you for joining. Hi, it is my absolute pleasure to be on here. Thank you so much. And I am so ready to be attacked Colin.

    And it’s so brilliant to be sharing a stage with you, Colin, Mimi, Michele. Thank you so much for having me on. I’m super excited to share and serve in any way that I can. And I’m also a part of the cold club. Um, I’m just coming out of like a week and a half long, uh, flu. So I mean, I either sound like a teenage boy or a grandmother who chain smokes, whichever way you look at it, but yeah, I’m super happy to help out and dive in and in the way that I best can.

    Yeah. I think you sound a little better than me. Cause you know, I keep pausing just so I can. Hack up a little bit here, but uh, but hopefully we’re both getting through that and uh, it’s I guess it’s that season It’s that time of year and it’s also January When we get really serious about business and serious about networking and understanding, you know hot, you know, there’s so many different Opportunities or let me let me phrase this.

    There’s so many times in your startup career that you need to reach out And get help from others. You are not alone. It takes a village to raise a startup. And there are a lot of resources out there, a lot of free government resources in the United States. I know that probably in Canada and the UK as well.

    Uh, but at the same time. When we want to expand our business, we need to network to higher employees. Today, we were in a meeting and we’re trying to hire an intern. And my daughter was actually in the meeting. It was pretty cool. And I said, okay, can you put up a notice in your university, uh, to. Uh, promote the, you know, to promote this internship that we have at Startup Club, and it’s related to our Startup Club AI project that we’ve been working on.

    And, uh, she said absolutely, and you know, whatnot. But the fact of the matter is, whether you’re hiring an employee, whether you’re trying to get the next customer, whether you’re trying to get the next distributor, You know, relationships and managing those relationships and creating authentic relationships are absolutely critical.

    So I’m going to kick it off with the first question, Yasmina, is that how do you do that naturally, especially for those, as Michele and I pointed out, who are not used to doing it naturally. 100%. Um, I am completely with you. And I think the things that you’re sharing are so true. A lot of people think in business, how can I get how can I solve this problem?

    Or how can I reach this goal? And I think the key piece that a lot of people are missing is the who, because at the end of the day, your network is an ecosystem of opportunity. And people are the gateway to anything you want in life and business. They’re the gateway to better partnerships, better brand, more money, happier relationships, et cetera.

    Uh, learning Salsa, I mean, literally like the rooms that you want to be in, literally anything and it can be hard for people to, uh, really approach that authentically. And something that I think about is like, I’m almost anti networking. in a way. I actually hate the word networking because I feel like it sounds so cold and so clinical and so transactional.

    And that’s why I really try and focus on we are all human beings supporting each other and helping each other out and building relationships. And I kind of like to bring it back to the idea of almost the idea of before industry, before a monetary economy, we lived in tribes. And in tribes, we would help each other out and we would support each other.

    And just as you said, Colin, it takes a village. And perhaps the best way for me to kick off is actually to share a bit more about my journey so you guys can understand better how I got to where I am today and share some of the things that relationships have brought to my life. Yeah, we love stories on this show.

    So please do that. Share the journey with us. We love that. Okay, beautiful. So I grew up in London to a middle class family and I have to say building relationships with people did not come naturally to me. I was very, very shy kid. I had very low self esteem and I would look at the floor when I walked and I would rarely put up my hand in class.

    As you remember, so I, I’ve always been a creative kid, so I loved acting and I was very good at it on a stage because on a stage, I wasn’t myself. I could just be someone else. And I remember in year 11, I did a drama performance where I played this very, very dramatic role, um, as Charlotte Bronte and like all my siblings died and I set stuff on fire on stage and it was very melodramatic and my chemistry teacher who’d been teaching for two years at that point came up to me afterwards and said, Oh, wow.

    So you can’t speak. Um, and that’s just to illustrate kind of how shy I was. And I, I also remember, uh, right. Uh, like I would pretend to read books. She said you can’t speak. What? So say again, you can speak like, Oh, you can speak. Okay. Surprised that I actually had a voice and a personality. Um, and I, I would even like bring a book to class to read in between the five minute breaks, uh, so I wouldn’t have to talk to people.

    And it wasn’t that I didn’t want to, I really wanted to talk and really wanted to connect with people. I just didn’t know how. So I remember when I was about 16, I was so sick and tired of feeling shy. I was so sick and tired of coming into school every day and being surrounded by people, but feeling completely alone.

    And. You know, even in my friend groups, I always felt like I was on the outside looking in. Um, and so I did what any normal 16 year old would do in the 2010s, uh, and I went to Google and I typed in how to get charisma because I was like, this is gonna. Solve my problems. Um, and that led me down this rabbit hole of improving my social skills and getting obsessed with learning about human psychology.

    And so, and through that I discovered about personal development and I was like, wow, you can develop yourself to become a better person. That’s incredible. I can be the hero me, not the loser me. And at the same time, uh, I’m listening to these podcasts, which is why I love podcasts so much. I’m so happy to be on it today.

    About these entrepreneurs who are. traveling the world and creating these world changing businesses and ideas and a light bulb went off in my head and I was like, wait, I can do this. I don’t have to be in a nine to five job in the city of London for the next, uh, you know, 40 years of my life. Um, So yeah, I mean, at the same time, I was a very smart kid, always got really good grades.

    So I ended up going, getting into Cambridge University, um, made my mother super proud, lived in a castle for a year, which was pretty fun. Um, and then after I got back from my year abroad, um, and it was very interesting, like from a relationship standpoint, I think in school we all have this. And in university, we all have this where you’re often in a place where you’re build friendships with people based on not mutual values or mutual alignment, perhaps mutual interests, but often it’s very situational is, oh, we sat next to each other in chemistry class.

    It’s, oh, we, um, we were roommates or we, we lived in the same dorm, but it’s not based on the actual alignment of who people actually. are in a way that can mutually support each other towards our own growth. Um, and so those are the kinds of circles I was in. And then I did a. Uh, 10 week internship in finance in the city of London.

    Um, and it was very prestigious, very intensive, and everyone around me is telling me, congratulations, Yasmina, you have made it, um, and it was probably one of the worst 10 weeks of my life. Uh, I really. disliked it, and it was just not for me. And I remember coming in, being surrounded by people who are very smart, went to top universities, etc.

    Um, but you know, working in things that I know is not what their soul calls them to. Um, and I felt like I had no purpose in what I was doing, and I just hated it. I even remember, Uh, bumping into a senior manager at the company for really weirdly three times in a row, three weeks in a row on a Friday in the bathroom.

    I don’t know why this happened. Maybe it’s something in the universe, but every single time we’d end up in some kind of weird conversation about what are you doing this weekend? And, um, you know, Oh no, we’re going to have to come back on Monday and whatever it is. And every single week, I tell you, she said the exact same thing.

    And she said, Welcome to adult life. And I was like, what on earth? This cannot be my adult life. This is horrible. So that’s kind of what gave me the fire in the belly to actually take action on my entrepreneurial dreams. Before then I was a one trepreneur, but that was what gave me enough pain to actually take action.

    And the way I went about that was about building relationships. Because I was like, I don’t know any entrepreneurs and I don’t know anything about entrepreneurship. So I need to talk to as many entrepreneurs as possible who can talk to me and tell me what’s up because I don’t know anything. There’s so many things.

    I was overwhelmed. So I, I went to every single. Entrepreneurship event I could find in London. I would commute an hour or more across town to different places just to meet people at the same time. I wasn’t interested in going to one of these like quote unquote networking events, where all you do is exchange your business card that gathers.

    dust and cobwebs in the corner. Um, and I was more interested in long term relationships, but I’m thinking to myself, what value do I have to offer? I’m just a student. I don’t know anything. Um, and so at the time I decided to start a podcast and I call it the young entrepreneur’s journey. And I’m like, well, Entrepreneurs love speaking on podcasts.

    I’m a young entrepreneur figuring it out. It’s a journey. Um, and I ended up using that to, uh, leverage it to build relationships with people who I call amazing friends today, uh, incredibly successful entrepreneurs, people like Sir Martin Sorrell, the former CEO of the largest advertising company in the world, like the founder of Reebok, bestselling authors, brilliant CEOs, et cetera.

    Um, and that really got me kind of into the world. Um, And it was amazing. And I think the beautiful thing with relationships is you never even know what’s on the other side of a conversation. You know, there are goals and dreams and opportunities that you have, and you cannot even possibly imagine what’s on the other side of that at the same time.

    I finished up my Cambridge degree. I did a one year master’s degree. Um, in innovation and entrepreneurship so I could have something legitimate while I was still building myself up. And I developed such a knack for building relationships with people in a genuine and authentic way that I started teaching young people how to build, uh, meaningful relationships, uh, and mental relationships with some of the most successful people in their industry.

    So for one person, um, he’s an entrepreneur, also in the military. And, uh, helped him get the chief of defense of his country to speak at a conference. And also they developed a relationship and outside of the prime minister of that country, this is the most popular person to speak at a conference. Um, one, one who’s a sick.

    Yeah. So, so that’s what we want to get into today. We want to get into those tips. We want you to share with us some of those ideas and how it is that, you know, any startup out there can connect with others and maybe think a little differently than the way we’ve been thinking in 2023. You know, in 2024, uh, you know, we have this whole new world of AI and all this stuff, but it still comes down to human contact.

    It still comes down to the fact that people want to buy from people they like. You know, it’s still all about those relationships. So hopefully we’ll really get some good tips and tricks from you on that. Maybe you can share one or two right now. Uh, I’m putting you on the spot. We’ve not done this in advance.

    I’m actually excited about the fact that Uh, you’re on this show, and I don’t think we would have met without Joe Foster, the founder of Reebok. Somehow he connected us through, uh, the One Golden Nugget, and Steve Foster, and, and all the other projects that we’ve been working on. And, uh, that just in itself was a pretty cool opportunity to meet great people that I never would have had the chance to meet unless I had interviewed Joe Foster from Reebok on this show as well.

    So maybe start with thoughts on that and then give us one or two or three cool tips about how to network. Sure. So, uh, the way I met Joe was interesting because I actually I sent him a cold message, cold outreach message on Instagram a couple of years ago. Um, and the, and I basically had invited him to come speak on my podcast.

    I think if you want to connect with people in a genuine way, um, the most, uh, important thing to think about is what is the value that someone is going to get from meeting you? And value comes in many different forms. Value could be money. It could be, I’m paying you to be my coach or my consultant or whatever it is.

    Um, or it could be like. I’m getting you a gift. I’m using money to add value to your life. Um, value could be skills. You have a skill that you’re helping them out. So, for example, Colin, maybe if you needed help with the brand, this is just a hypothetical example, you needed help with branding for your website, and I’m a brand expert, and I went into your website, um, and, and helped you out with that.

    That’s, that’s me using a skill to add value to your life. Um, then there’s also emotions. It can literally just be as simple as giving someone positive emotions and being someone that’s a joy to spend time with and a joy to be around. Um, Another side story that I won’t go into now to get too off track, but that’s how I ended up living with a 50 million mentor in Santa Monica for a month.

    Um, because, uh, I, I gave her good emotions and she enjoyed being around me and my business partner at the time. Um, and then, um, then also relationships, you know, connecting people to other people because relationships is such a powerful currency. So, uh, with Joe, it was. Uh, the fact that I had a podcast and he was looking at what, what’s, what’s his motivation, what’s his desire, what’s his game in this.

    He wants to promote his book. He’s jumping on podcasts. So I reached out to him, um, with a very clear positioning. I. And a very sort of genuine interest. I think a big mistake that people make in cold outreach is they think about themselves, what’s in it for me, or even warm outreach, any kind of outreach.

    That’s the wrong kind of approach. The approach you should be thinking about with anyone you’re building a relationship with is what’s in it for them. Um, and so I positioned it as a great way to grow his audience in the UK. Um, I had shared that I’d read his book. I shared a specific thing about his book that I really enjoyed and a specific part of it to make that personal connection.

    And I also established myself as an authority in the podcast space, which I was at the time. Uh, and I put what I like to call Buddha’s big undeniable dominating authorities. So things that I have that set me apart, that give me credibility, that also make people think, okay, this is someone that I should take seriously.

    Um, and yeah, so we ended up jumping on the podcast and then at the end of had a great conversation and at the end of the podcast, I asked him, Oh, just before we jump off, I’m curious, what are your goals? Cause if I know what his goals are, then I know how I can help him or potentially support him. Um, and he, he, he just said, I just want to get Reebok to number one, um, on the shoemaker, his book.

    And I was like, okay, sounds great. Um, and then I literally made, I can’t remember, five or six introductions, uh, for him. Um, to be on really great podcasts with people to promote his book and then also with like, um, book launch experts to help him launch his book in the right way and in the best way. Um, and you know, he, he was incredibly grateful.

    Um, and it put a lot of value into what I call the emotional bank account. to where we’ve been able to stay in touch over the couple years and, and, and build a good relationship from there. It’s fascinating that your story is so similar to mine in that, you know, when we first reached out to him. We’re like, okay, we’re doing this clubhouse show and we’ve got these people and it’s a live show.

    And, and by the way, if you’re in the audience, raise your hand, come on stage. This is a great conversation. We have a Yasmina Ellens, who’s, who’s here, who is an expert in this area of relationships. And uh, I think it’s an important component of startup club. So please raise your hand and come on stage.

    This is a community. This is a conversation. This is a live show. It’s also a syndicated podcast, uh, that goes out on, uh, every podcast network called start scale, exit, repeat serial on

    Colin. I think you’re on mute. Oh my gosh. How long have I been on mute for?

    All right. All right. So getting some feedback here. Michele, can you pause some feedback here? Yeah, there we go. All right. So it’s working now. All right. So unmute there. I was just mentioning that, you know, it’s interesting how, um, I, I had connected with Joe Foster in a very similar way and eventually started introducing him to a lot of different speeches and podcasts, including.

    Entrepreneurs on Fire by John Lee Dumas. Uh, I’ve done two episodes with him. His episode, by the way, Yasmina is going to air on January 16th. Uh, and about a hundred thousand people listen to each episode. It’s one of the most successful startup podcasts out there. So he was generous. I mean, this is an amazing person.

    He’s 88 years old. He’s founder of Reebok and he was generous to come on Yasmina’s show, to come on our show. And in return, we, we gave back. And maybe that’s the next question for you, Yasmina, is this whole concept of giving back, give, give, give, and then You’ll get the benefit from that because a lot of people on a clubhouse do shows, they come on stage and, and, and thank you, um, CJ for coming on stage.

    Uh, we love having you up here. Uh, and, and they give and give and give, but I don’t know. Do you ever, you know, the whole idea is to give and then eventually good things come back to you. What are your thoughts? Yes, I mean, yeah, I think it’s very important to give from a place of. Giving because you want, you can strategically know that giving is going to bring good things into your life.

    But if you’re giving to someone from a place of, I’m going to get something back from them, uh, that’s no way to build a genuine relationship. So it’s really. Giving with the knowledge that when you add value to someone’s life, they feel compelled almost often to want to add value back, but it’s just with a pure intention of wanting to uplift other people.

    And it always comes back around. If you find someone where you feel like you’re giving and giving and giving and. you’re never receiving anything, and it just feels like they’re taking, then maybe you want to stop giving to that person. Um, but in general, um, you know, relationships are an organic, natural balance of give and take, where people don’t really give the score, keep the score, um, but ways that we can elevate each other is always a beautiful thing.

    And I think such a sad thing is, in a lot of today’s society, people are trying to tear each other down. And, you know, I want, I want to build a bigger skyscraper. So I’m going to tear down your skyscraper. So mine’s bigger instead of helping each other to build even bigger skyscrapers together.

    Yeah. And, you know, obviously everybody talks about being authentic, but I don’t think that’s something you can fake, right? So if we really have that intention of really helping each other. Right? It’s a two way street. But I’m curious, you know, sometimes you do just have to You know, network and business after all, it is the job.

    Like I’m interested in your thoughts in that, like, you know, just put yourself in the role as business development or sales. There is a clear intention there. You know, we obviously want to connect with people, but we also have clear intentions. So there’s a lot of us. Folks here in the audience that are, you know, in business development or sales, um, what are your suggestions there?

    If it you’re, it doesn’t come natural to you and you, you know, you need to fulfill your job and you’re trying to be authentic. What would be your suggestion? Yes. Mina. Uh, that’s a really good question, Michele. And I think being authentic at the end of the day. Um, it’s not a, it’s not a trick or a tactic, uh, but more from a place of being authentic is something like you need to do the deep introspection first to really understand yourself, your motivations, what you care about.

    And only when you’ve really done the deep work to think about who you are, what you care about, what kind of life you want to live, being happy with what you believe, being okay to express what you believe, and being okay with yourself, can you truly show up in an authentic way. And of course, We are all business people and we want to do our jobs and we want to grow the companies and we want to make money and we want to make sure that we hit our sales targets.

    Um, and I think at the end of the day, when you are doing sales, you are building a relationship with a person. You are trying to genuinely diagnose. their problem. And from my experience and from what I found with a lot of friends who are in a similar in the same world, is that when you come into your business development course, your sales course, um, your, your connection meetings from a place of intent with genuine intent to help and genuine intent to serve while also having clear boundaries around the ways in which you help.

    For example, Michele, I can help you implement this strategy in the next three months for your company. And I’m so happy to understand and really diagnose those problems and dive deep into what drives you and what cares about you, what you care about, and what is going to get you to your goal. The boundary is it’s, you know, 15, 20, whatever, you know, the, the boundary is that’s how I’m able to serve.

    If you’re able to. communicate that, um, as a genuine intention and you’re not hiding any weird hidden agendas. Um, that goes a long way.

    Yeah. And I think a big part of that too, along with what you’re saying is, you know, It really is. I, you know, we kind of call it solution based selling, but really trying to find the right solution for that person, rather than just trying to sell them, make a quick sell, um, has always helped. I’ve always found.

    And if something isn’t working out for somebody, just Sometimes you accept that and just say, Hey, can I get back to you in a few months? Hey, you know, can you recommend somebody, but it really is, I think being true to yourself and being, you know, kind at the end of the day. Absolutely. And that’s how I’ve gotten all my opportunities is just by.

    Living my life, understanding who I am, knowing what my goals are, what my intentions are. And then the right people are going to flock towards that. And I think anyone who’s in the marketing world knows this. We all have our target markets and you know, your product is not for everyone. There’s certain people that you want to screen out for your product.

    And there’s certain people that if you communicate the value of your product effectively, they’re going to be so, so excited about your product. It’s going to be a no brainer for them. And I like to think about that in the same way, in terms of who you are. When you’re building these relationships for your life, for your business, uh, for your friendships, for the adventures you want to have.

    Um, we all have our target markets and I believe, you know, when you are expressing your true beliefs, your true intentions, your true self authentically, um, there’s going to be about 33 percent of people. who probably hate you and want to throw you off a bridge. Then there might be 33 percent of people who really have no opinion about you either way.

    Um, they, they just, they just are very neutral when it comes towards you. And then there are going to be about 33 percent of people who really, really, really love you. Uh, and really vibe with you and your energy. And those are the people that you want to focus on. So, when you’re going out and you’re building these connections, and you’re on sales and business development calls, and you’re going to events and conferences, and there are people that are just not clicking, That’s totally okay.

    I wouldn’t even call it a rejection like people often think about. Oh, no Yeah, I’m with you on that I don’t look I don’t think of it as a rejection I honestly don’t I think of it It’s like okay. It’s not a good match or it’s not a good time for you now How about you know, you call me when you’re ready or we can talk in a few months and happy to talk anytime I found that works very well As Yeah, in addition to what you’re saying.

    And I see CJ, you’ve been trying to jump in here a few times. Why don’t you take the mic there, CJ?

    What I’ve found in terms of authentic giving, and I’ll give an example actually of how it came back, it’s a bigger deal. I think when

    giving, right, uh, that can get very tricky, right? A lot of times we give between inverted commas. And the intent is purely to promote or generate awareness for ourselves, like, for example, uh, giving free advice. But, uh, one thing I found that made it at least more authentic for me is, and to your point, Yasmina, right, we have our target markets.

    We have the people that we’re going after. And my giving Tended to be for a good period of two, three years here on Clubhouse to an audience that I knew wasn’t actually my target market. My clients are normally, uh, larger clients. But, what came out of that was someone that saw me do that on a regular basis.

    Giving to You know, smaller businesses, uh, micro startups and so on, they brought an opportunity to the table for me. So sometimes it’s not necessarily the people you’re giving to. It’s also, uh, that indirect expression of your intent and showing up and giving to someone that can’t really give you back.

    Uh, sometimes it still comes back as well, uh, from building those relationships and I. So that put that in there. But the biggest one for me is determining. Are you giving or is it something that you could realistically declare as a marketing expense? So when you kind of fall in that gray area, are you just marketing?

    Is it really giving at that point?

    Absolutely. Yeah, I love that. Right. Sorry. Go ahead. You go ahead. Yeah. I mean, I love that. Right. It’s like, you really have to be honest with yourself. About what your intentions are, because you may not want to believe in yourself, but it is very transparent to others. And, um, if you truly want a win win situation in business or personal life or whatever it is, others know that.

    And I think if we can start from that point, we’re, we’re much further ahead. Right, Colin? What are your thoughts? Yeah, absolutely. Uh, you know, it’s interesting that, We’re on Clubhouse here, and you know, you know, CJ, I’m listening to you, and a lot of people who are on Club, who have been on Clubhouse the last few years have given, given, given a lot, and I know this platform has, has not done the best in, in helping creators, uh, actually continue to create, and it’s been very frustrating.

    I will say, though, it’s been a journey, you know, running Startup Club, almost a million members, with Michele and I here, running it, Mimi, um, It’s been a, it’s been a journey. And we did almost 140 interviews, uh, on this show. I think we’re about number 138, 139, wherever we’re at, you know, that we do syndicate and podcast, but, uh, the book itself, Start, Scale, Exit, Repeat, Uh, could never have come about without the community of Clubhouse and without giving.

    And it’s been memorialized and now it’s been put into a book and it’s been number one bestseller in Amazon of eight different categories. And we never did it, we never did set out to make this a blockbuster hit. We set out to just try to give back and it really was authentic. And the book itself has, we did over 200 interviews for the book, on and off Clubhouse.

    About 50 of them are actually in the book. Uh, spent 10 years writing it myself and a staff of 6. Uh, working on those interviews and assembling it and the, you know, the graphic layout. And then working with Forbes Books to publish it over the last 2 years. It’s been an incredible journey but it could never have happened without All of the people giving on Clubhouse and the community of Clubhouse.

    So I’m truly thankful for that. So sometimes, you give, you give, you give, you don’t think you’re gonna get anything. And then, you realize at one point, yeah, it could never have happened without that. And one connection leads to another, and I like the way you connected that, CJ. Alright, we’ve got, uh, okay, Yasmina, but we’ll go to you next and your thoughts on that.

    And then, and then Tia, thank you for being patient with us. I’m so excited to hear from Tia. Uh, also I wanted to share something crazy based on this conversation, something crazy that happened in my life through just giving and connecting kind of randomly. Um, and just to, just to illustrate the point that you never know what’s going to come from it.

    Um, so I remember I’m, I’m a part of this community called orchestrated connecting, which is basically a invite only community of, um, Very well connected people like you can call them super connectors who are action oriented givers and that you would leave your children with so who have integrity. Um, and I remember being, this was back during COVID times, COVID ish and I was on this online connection gathering with a bunch of us and there was a woman who came on here to give a presentation and make an ask about Bull she was hosting in Paris, in the Paris, Paris in the palace, in Versailles, um, the first royal bull to take place in France since the French Revolution.

    And she was looking to get benefactors and bring charity into it. And it’s this really big, lavish, extravagant event. And I saw that she was based in London and also went to my university. So I reached out to her, um, to connect with her and just, uh, chat with her. We ended up going for a coffee. And I remember the day that I went to meet up with her, I’d had a terrible week.

    Um, I had so much self doubt. I’ve been ill all week. I felt like I hadn’t done anything. And I felt like, you know, um. I, I just felt really not my best and I didn’t even want to leave my house, but I remember thinking, okay, it’s one hour, it’s coffee, it’ll be fine. Um, I show up and this woman, she’s incredible.

    I, I’m so proud and happy to call her a wonderful mentor today. She is a force of nature. She says exactly what she thinks when she thinks it and how she thinks it and does not sugarcoat anything. And I remember talking about some of the projects I was working on, um, one of them was related to the impact award that we did with Sir Richard Branson on his island in NECA, which was pretty cool, but at the time it was beginning stages and I remember she just gave such honest, blunt, tough love feedback and I felt so fragile from the week that I’d had.

    And it was so blunt. Um, I remember being like, Oh my God, if I don’t go to the bathroom right now, I’m going to cry in front of this lady and it’s gonna be so embarrassing. So I excused myself to go to the bathroom. I start bawling and then I’m like, Oh no, I need to gather myself. I can’t be gone for too long.

    So I come back, we can finish the conversation. And then at the end of it, she’s like. All right, how can I help you? How can I support you? Do you need introductions? Do you need resources? I was very taken aback by that offer and at the same time I was like, oh my god, what if I say the wrong thing? And I burst into tears in front of her and I was so embarrassed but she was so warm with me and she was like, oh my god, what’s wrong?

    How can I help? What’s going on? How’s your self care? Um, and so anyway, after that coffee. Um, I’m like, how can I support what she’s doing? So I ended up making several introductions to high net worth people, um, who she ended up chatting with, and she ended up getting a benefactor, a really generous benefactor for the ball, for the ball for that.

    And because I gave in that way, and also because of the authentic connection that we’d built, um, She invited me as a VIP guest for free to the Royal Ball in Palace, Paris, in the Palace of Versailles. Um, and before I know it, I’m at the British Ambassador’s residence. The next time I saw her, she was introducing me personally to the British Ambassador for France, Her Excellency.

    Um, and the next day I was at this lavish ball with, uh, in the Palace of Versailles with billionaires. Elon Musk was gonna try and make it. Philanthropists. Royalty. I was sitting down and I saw my name card. It said Miss Yasmina Ellens. And then I looked next to me and it says His Serene Highness Prince blah, blah, blah, blah.

    And I was just like, felt like a, felt like an imposter. And at the same time I was like, Oh my God, this is crazy. I can’t believe this just came from, um, you know, giving, showing up authentically and, and building relationships and seeing what happens.

    A modern day Forrest Gump. There we go. All right. And if you’ve ever seen the movie, he’s always meeting all these celebrities and whatnot. Well, Tia, we’ve been waiting for you. Uh, you know, you came on earlier and we appreciate the patience. We’d love to hear from you if you have a question for Yasmina or a thought on building authentic relationships and startups.

    Tia, you’re up. Oh, I’m sorry. Um, sorry guys. I’m at work, but, um, I do want to say thank you. Um, and good morning and thank you for bringing me up. Um, so I think one of the things that Kind of I deal with when I’m going to these networking events. Oh, I had a question. Um, is that I find it really hard to just like, uh, kind of talk to them.

    So I deal with kind of like a bit of social anxiety. So it’s either coming off as either one, I’m going to be oversharing and kind of prevented them from talking. So, there’s the authentic relationship part being kind of hindered. Um, and then it kind of comes off as a little bit overbearing or something, I don’t know.

    But, what kind of tips could you give someone that kind of suffers with a little bit of social anxiety before they go into these spaces? That’s my question. Absolutely, Tia. Thank you so much for coming up and asking, uh, that and I completely can relate to that. I can relate to the anxiety that comes with talking to strangers, not knowing what to say, um, et cetera.

    And I think something that really helped me back when I did have a lot more social anxiety in these events is. Um, realizing that when I’m nervous to approach someone to talk to them or I’m like, I don’t know how I’m behaving and I’m in my head, uh, realizing that the other people in the room are probably feeling just as awkward, just as anxious.

    just as nervous and are standing there waiting for someone to come up and talk to them, so they don’t feel awkward by themselves. Um, so just that mind shift alone really helped me in being like, okay, I’m not alone in this and realizing that, you know, everyone is a star of their own movie. So while I’m in my head thinking all about myself and what other people think of me, and you’re in your head thinking all about yourself and what other people think of you, you realize that everyone’s in their head.

    thinking about themselves and what are other people thinking of them, not realizing. So basically, no one’s actually paying attention to you because they’re too busy thinking about themselves. So it doesn’t really matter. Um, and yeah, I’m curious to hear a bit more, Tia. What’s, what’s your approach when you’re going to a networking event?

    What’s your general approach to it? Um, I’m typically the person that’s kind of like off a little bit and then waiting for people to talk to me. So that was funny that you said that because I’m definitely that person. Amazing. Uh, do you, do you feel like you need to talk to everyone when you’re in a networking event?

    Um, well I don’t feel like I need to talk to everyone. But I definitely feel like I could talk to more people. So I’ve gone to events where I felt like, well, that was kind of a waste of my time. Cause I really didn’t talk to maybe, but like one or two people. And I don’t feel like there was really like a connection made.

    Maybe we talked a little bit after the event, but not really. I’m completely with you. So what, what I found is that a networking event is Go wide and then go deep so I’ll have like very short interactions with people and then when I meet someone that I’m like Okay, I really want to get to know this person better I go deep with them and I feel like it’s always better to have a 10 to 15 to 20 to even 30 minute conversation with someone to make a really deep connection as opposed to like five minute conversation here, five minute conversation there.

    And I was, I was bringing that up for, because from a social anxiety perspective, if you feel like, Oh no, I need to make the most of this event. And, ah, there’s so many people. If instead you think, okay, I’m, I’m coming in here to make friendships. I build relationships with people that are really on my level and on my vibration.

    Then you kind of come into it with a different mind frame. I think another thing that helps with social anxiety is, you know, when I was a lot more shy than I am now, I used to always think, Oh my God, does this person like me? What does this person think of me? What if they think I’m weird? Do they like me?

    Do they like me? Do they like me? What really helped shift my perspective is instead of asking myself, do they like me? I asked myself, do I like them? If I think, do I like them, that puts me in the buyer’s seat. Because at the end of the day, just as there’s many people who are not going to really vibe with you, there’s many people that I don’t vibe with and I’m like, nah, I don’t, I’m not really interested in speaking to this person anymore.

    Um, and then knowing knowing that I can easily exit a conversation by saying, Oh, it was really nice talking to you, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Move on. Um, that helped me. Yeah, did that answer your question to you? Was that helpful? Yes, ma’am. Thank you so much. Um, I’m definitely going to try this. I have one coming up this Saturday, and I’m going to try changing the way that I’m thinking before I go in there.

    Um, and I loved what you said about instead of asking, do they like me? Ask, do I like them? And I’m definitely going to try and implement that this, well, I’m not going to try. I’m going to do that, um, this Saturday. So thank you so much. My pleasure. I love that. Thank you, Tia. And go wide and go deep. CJ, you want to jump in before Martin?

    We’ll jump right down in a second. CJ, you have some quick, quick, uh, additional thoughts? Love to. Is Tia still here, though? Oh no, she just dropped off. But I’m certain she’s in the audience. You could, you know, feel free to share your thoughts. Okay. So Tia two things that help me. Um, , a lot of people think I’m very extroverted, uh, but actually when it comes to events, I can be quite a bit of an introvert when I don’t have a stage

    So, one thing is the conversations, and that’s asking people what matters to them, what they’re excited about, having that kind of question ready, because it also gives you, uh, to Yasmina’s point, An immediate feeling for the person. Do I want to get to know them more? Right? What are they excited about? What do they care about?

    If I have those questions in my sleeve, that helps. The other big thing is actually leveraging the host or the co host and telling them what you’re about and why you’re there and asking them Who do you think, if I have to speak to four or five people at your event, who would they be? And even just having those people’s names given to you by the host, and it also makes sure that you get the most out of the event.

    Now, some hosts aren’t as hosty as maybe they should be, but always lean on the host, uh, to guide you in terms of who they think you should be. You know, engaging with at that event, because it can really help you get the most out of events. I hope that helps Tia and maybe anybody else that, uh, kind of experiences, uh, which Yeah, given, uh, Tia’s reaction in the audience, she’s very appreciative of that, CJ.

    All right, we have Martin on, and Martin, I saw you there in the chat. You had some thoughts, and I thought, you know, why don’t you come on stage and share them with us? Sure, but before I get to that, I’ll just say thank you for the room, the space. I just want to tap into Tia, and I’m a big, uh, believer in data, and so I’m not sure if the one on Saturday you’re going to Tia, you’re going just because you want to show up and you feel like you need to be in, in that space to network with potential people that are there.

    But something that helps me, I’m a super shy person when it comes to public events also, and what I use, a trick I use to get over that is I research the organization, um, the host on LinkedIn and most of the times through listening to or seeing their videos or reading, uh, their last four or five posts, especially a post about the upcoming event, you’re able to see, you know, who the speaker is going to be.

    Um, you get some, most of the time, those organizations will have a LinkedIn page and you could see the last few posts on their page. But none of that matters if I don’t know the why. Like, when I know the why, right, I’m like, Okay, I don’t really want to be here, Mark. Like, I really don’t want to be in this room.

    Why am I here? I’m here because For instance, I’m very into local politics. No matter what city I lived in, I always go to chamber events. So you, the chamber of commerce events, or I always go to the community development events, and I’m very interested in the deal flow within that city. So I belong to something called, um, bizjournals.

    com, B I Z journals. And for, uh, 200 bucks a year or 225, you get 40 cities. Data and the deal flow. So if I’m in Atlanta, I’m going to go to the greater Atlanta chamber of commerce, and I’m going to know that this developer has just decided that downtown Atlanta is going to be a walkable space for startups.

    He, uh, owned a couple of other spaces called Atlanta tech village, and he’s now buying downtown. So when they go. To their next event. If I’m in Atlanta, I’m going to be interested in the room that somebody else just said. I think it was Jasmine. I’m going to survey the room. What do you think about this deal about downtown?

    Just to get a feeling. What am I reading what I’m reading? And is the actual residents or the actual business leaders in that city feeling the same way? But that’s my wife, right? If I go to A3C, which is a music festival, um, or I’m going to Comic Con, I’m there to enjoy myself, so I’m going to go off to find my, my thing.

    Whatever that passion and purpose is. Whatever that, you know, I want to find that celebrity or that weird comic book or whatever that is. But, along the way, my second why usually is I’m always interested, which is why I love Clubhouse, and I’ll get to what I said in the chat. I’m always interested to what the crowd thinks.

    So I was at Comic Con, no, Dragon Con in Atlanta, and I was asking parents, when Fortnite came out, Fortnite had a million dollar giveaway for kids. And I would just walk up to regular parents and say, hey, did your kid play Fortnite? Absolutely, yeah, they played it. Oh, kids, you know they can win a million dollars?

    I mean, they’re actually giving 100, 000 per state. Like, what? And a kid, you know, 7, 12, whatever age. Yeah, mom, I told you that. She’s like, you’ve been playing this game, and you can be Yes. You never let me sign up. And I would just, I wanted to get a sense of my, why usually is, am I really seeing, like, I align myself a lot with what CJ always talks about because CJ is.

    Martin’s voice, like CJ says stuff that I think, and so, but when you’re that type of thinker, you’re always curious to see what people around you are, is that voice that’s going off in your head is a real voice. So basically, Tia, why are you going to Saturday’s event? And then when you go to the Y, go research the people that are going to be there if possible.

    If it’s somebody, you know, it’s just a local community event and you have no idea who’s going to be there. Then as was said, what are the questions you can ask? To see, but again, that’s all about the questions come from your why, right? So if you’re there. Just to be there and be supportive, then volunteer behind the table, uh, uh, you know, go early, uh, stay late and clean up.

    Um, but if you’re there for a specific purpose, and I always recommend t shirts, t shirts are freaking phenomenal. Come up with a hashtag for whatever your purpose is, wear that t shirt, that’s a conviction starter. I hope that it’s helpful.

    Well, I know it’s helpful for me as well. I think it’s helpful for everyone. Uh, you know, when we first thought about this topic, I was a bit nervous. And the community of Clubhouse coming together with Yasmina, it’s actually showing that, you know, this, this, this is still alive and well, and. And this platform’s pretty amazing and we’re going to continue at Startup Club, bringing the community together and trying to, trying to help each other out.

    And uh, today I learned a few good ideas. I love that. Go wide and then go deep as well. Yasmina, I know one of the challenges. For people is just the icebreaker, you know You’re standing in the corner of the room and just walking up to someone and we did have a speaker on who wrote a book called nice bike and He talked about this concept of you know, doing an authentic Compliment when you meet someone but I wanted to sort of get from you yes, Mina if you have any thoughts about that icebreaker whether it’s you know conference or a party or you know, even if it’s just You know, a friend through a friend, a friend through a friend, whatever it is, like just that icebreaker.

    Any thoughts on that one? Absolutely, Colin. So I think, um, I think at a party it’s kind of more obvious, but in like professional business networking events context, people often approach a person with kind of an agenda or an intent of, By the way, Martin, I love what you said about what is your why. I think that is brilliant.

    You articulated that so well. Um, but yeah, people will come and they’ll approach people about, you know, Hey, what do you do? You know, like it’s all about their job immediately. And instead of focusing on who is this person actually, right. You know, someone might be a software engineer, but they might not care about their job.

    Maybe their secret passion or what that really lights them up is playing the trumpet, you know? So, I mean, I. In terms of that initial icebreaker in terms of approaching someone, I usually just go with the first thought. Like if you think about improv comedy, your first, like in improv comedy, where people are like improvising on stage in front of people, you’re usually taught go with your first thought, doesn’t matter if it’s funny, doesn’t matter what it is, just put your feet and just literally Move your feet into that direction towards the person you want to talk to, put one foot in front of the other Until you’re in front of that person and now you’re there and now say whatever comes to mind But if you’re if you want a crutch like a tactical icebreaker, I think we said Colin an authentic compliment is really good Oh, hey, love your shoes.

    Hey, love your jacket, you know, super super easy to Start talking to someone with that or even Hey, you look like a really interesting person to talk to, or, Hey, I love your energy, or Hi, I’m Yasmina, what’s your name? Like, as simple as that. And then, and then when we start talking, I like to focus on the person as opposed to their profession.

    And some questions I really like to ask are, um, what are you really excited about right now in your life? Or what, what’s something that you’re really passionate about? Um, and that usually opens up the conversation to deeper questions as to what that person actually cares about and connecting on a genuine level.

    Um, and I found that when I take that approach to connect on a really genuine level with the person, a lot of really brilliant business opportunities come out of that as well, just organically because now you have the relationship first over and above everything else.

    Well, I don’t, well, I don’t know if anyone has any last thoughts here, popcorn style, uh, on this topic, we’re about to close it out. Any last thoughts? I think you could do the same thing as in a room in Clubhouse. I think that’s what attracted me to the title. And Colin, I appreciate you having the space and staying on Clubhouse.

    Of course, you know, people can leave and do what they want, but I, I’ve, I’ve, it kind of hurts my heart because we poured a lot into this space that no other platform has been able to replicate yet. I get what people’s issues are about the tool itself and the process and the communication from the founders.

    But I gotta be honest, every single platform that has built a community of highly engaged users has asked over the users. For what the founders feel that that direction is going. So that’s a trend on every other platform, maybe except threads to some degree. And that’s brand new, but we’ve poured time and sweat and blood here into this community of content, creative, inspires.

    angry ranters, all that stuff. And you can’t find no matter which is linked in live or it’s twitter spaces or amp. You don’t find we’re so far ahead of everybody else because of the two years we had about how to communicate right and then how to get the information right back to you. So then you get to go and make a decision like that.

    You almost can find that when you do. the correct searches on YouTube, and sometimes you hit it right when you do a Google search. But Clubhouse gives you that instant feedback from somebody you probably would not have met on any other platform but this. So I think Some of the things that Yasmin said is that we should be applying to when you come into a room and clubhouse I know it’s hard.

    It’s difficult for people to get this kind of a voice notes But you can CJ has done some phenomenal voice notes in the past if you go through his His profile and they’re really engaging or they’re really off putting but either way The whole goal, I believe, of this type of platform is to get information back and forth, give or get.

    In order for that to be successful, you have to have an engaged audience. In order to have an engaged audience, You have to have people who are feeling like they’re spending their time in a space and they’re being rewarded for that time spent in the space. So what Yasmin is saying in real life, I believe we can also apply within the clubhouse ecosystem of rooms, houses, and voice notes.

    Give valuable content or information. Now we can do it. Pictures. Now we can do it. Links. You can take that off of this platform and share it on another platform and make a video around it. I think we have the right tool. We just have to do more work and it’s not just here. You have to do more work on every single other platform.

    Yeah. And I, I agree with you there. I think I’ve met more people on clubhouse in the last two years than I have since I was in college. Uh, it’s an incredible platform, an incredible community. And as I mentioned earlier, the book Start, Scale, Exit, Repeat could never have come about without all the stories and members of Clubhouse who were included in that book, including, uh, Yasmina, our friend, Joe Foster, who’s the founder of Reebok.

    And, uh, again, I probably wouldn’t have met Yasmina if it wasn’t for Clubhouse. And see, there’s so many connections and life works in many different ways. We’re closing it out now. You’ve been listening to Serial Entrepreneur. Secrets Revealed, Start, Scale, Exit, Repeat, which is the same name as the podcast, and this one was recorded.

    Uh, the prior shows were recorded, but we’ve had some issues with Clubhouse. We’re trying to get those ones syndicated. Yasmeen, any last thoughts, uh, in 60 seconds or less before we close it out here? Oh, wow. Uh, last thoughts? Well, just honestly, thank you so much for having me on and for inviting me into your community and for making me redownload clubhouse and realize how cool it is.

    Um, and I’m, I’m super honored to be here. I really hope that people got something out of this and that I was able to serve, um, and that, you know, out of the things that have been mentioned today by me or by anyone else. Um, I would recommend thinking, well, what is your number one takeaway? Cause it’s very easy to listen to information, but if you think about your number one takeaway that you’re actually going to implement and actually action on, that’s the way that you’re going to get the most out of this conversation.

    That’s great. And I know mine is go wide and go deep. I love that one. That was a, it’s a really good formula for, for hitting a room at a party. Thank you very much. Everyone will catch you next Friday, two o’clock Eastern. We do this show every Friday at two o’clock Eastern. If you’re listening to it in podcasts, you can join us on stage live.

    It’s a community. This is a, this is not a typical podcast. It’s a live show, sort of think of mini radio and we have guest speakers. All the time, like has Mina, but you wouldn’t know that if you’re not on the email lists, uh, go to startup. club, sign up to the email list, and we will let you know. But the other speakers who are coming on and the other topics that we’re going to tackle over the next few weeks.

    Thank you very much, everyone. We shall see you next Friday, two o’clock Eastern.

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