A great read and back to networking events

Happy Monday folks,

I finished a great book over the weekend.

Actually, now that I think of it, I did a lot of reading this weekend.

Since finishing the marathon just over a month ago, it’s been nice getting my weekends back. Instead of a 2+ hour run every Sunday, plus all the time recovering, life has gone back to normal and Sundays are mine to enjoy.

And especially in the summer with good weather here in Canada, I try to spend the weekends relaxing, spending time outside and doing a lot of walking and reading.

Yesterday I finished reading Losing My Virginity by Richard Branson.

If you haven’t heard of Mr. Branson, you probably either don’t care much about business (completely reasonable) or have been living under a rock.

He’s an extraordinary entrepreneur and in his first book, he talks about the first few decades of his business journey, ending in the early 90s.

There was no shortage of ups and downs on his journey, which made it even more interesting to read about and see how he handled tough times. The range of businesses and industries he’s worked in is also very impressive – he started in music, and then expanded into an airline, finance, cola and much more.

If you’re like me and you like reading biographies, autobiographies or memoirs of solopreneurs or entrepreneurs, I highly recommend it.

They key takeaway? Always make sure you’re having fun, especially in business, and don’t give up.

I also have another of his books, The Virgin Way, which I’ll probably dive into next.

With that key lesson in mind, last week I decided to kick off a side project that has been on pause since the start of Covid.

Not really a side project, more of a passion of mine.

Anyway, as you learn pretty quick when you’re running a business as a solopreneur, if you want to get stuff done, you often have to do it yourself.

When I started my first business ~5 years ago, I attended a lot of networking events to meet people, learn and try to find clients.

After spending months attending these in-person events (I tried to go to 1-2 per week), I realized that a decent amount of them sucked and that I’d run them very differently if I was in charge.

Side note: that seems to be a common trait amongst solopreneurs – the fun habit of always thinking of ways we can improve things.

Anyway, I liked attending networking events but felt like they could be better. So I started hosting them myself (in Toronto).

But mine were different – and better 😛

Instead of the regular events that I felt were very awkward, forced or often times centered around some random speaker or a variety of crappy speeches, I wanted an event 100% focused on helping people make new, meaningful connections.

So I combined the intimacy of a mastermind group with a networking event – where I match people in groups of 4, and they go around and each get 15 minutes to share more about themselves, what they’re working on and what they need help with.

And it worked!

I ran the event 3 times over a year or so and got amazing feedback, and each one got a bit bigger, then Covid hit.

So I put it on pause.

But they were always a lot of fun, and also helped me build my own solopreneur network (of course). Always a goal of mine.

Anyway, I’m going to start running it again in August, and every 2-3 months after. If you’re in or around Toronto, let me know and I’ll send over the event details!

And a reminder: if you want to get something done, or think you can do something better – give it a try! You never know what can come of it.

That’s it for now, have a good one and keep grinding.

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