Networking is everything in a start up business. Especially in a big city like London. And it takes hard work to find the right tribe, or connect to the right sources in order to foster your business. Then there are times when it just plain wrong and you come out of a meeting feeling screwed.
Today was one of them. For months I have been pursued by a Linked In connection – we have tried to make a date and for some reason had to cancel on both sides. Still I was curious as to why the meeting in the first place, but ever hopeful, I finally agreed to meet in a very schmanzy place in Belgravia. Should have listened to the gut feeling. I have a great tribe of Sisters already, but business is business … and time is time, but the meeting was on.
Approaching the all women’s hide out, I rang the bell and waited. Like going into a private lair for how do they call it, high end people. Anyway, I signed in and cased the area as any good detective would, knowing full well I was in a joint that smacked of privilege – and I ain’t one of them. I may do upmarket business, with luxury clients, but there is, for me, monied people that at my Silver age, do not do it for me. Let’s just say I got over the celebrity list and gold plated vehicles outside Harrod’s a long time ago.
Clutching my red ‘toffee apple bag’ and adjusting the standard black skirt with no particular label, I sat down to the women I have been planning to meet for awhile. Foreign, young, monied, with a perchance for looking at her mobile and clearly about to fire her assistant. So I made it easy for her.
‘I don’t think I am the person you need to approach regarding a membership to a concierge service designed for billionaires wives. Clearly something here smacks of Cinderella at the wrong ball.’
She says: ‘I know, right? Called my assistant an hour ago to find out why she set up this meeting? You are the second person I am meeting today who is not our type of member.’ Go figure.
Membership starts around £2000 per annum and to get the Celebrity agent’s list, around another £400. Getting into fully booked restaurants, shows, events for those smarming to get their pictures in the Hello magazine takes planning, only I am the most unsuitable candidate on the planet for this. The meeting was brief, I was persona non gratis and if I never meet an A lister, that’s ok with me too. But the thing is, walking out of there, I felt a deflated, and a little humiliated by someone so much younger than me.
Why was that? Why do we let ourselves feel lessened when we have a life time of experience to share? Are we hanging onto things like good manners, or hoping that others will see our worth without us having to hard ball others to progress in our private lives, in business, in the world that is moving by too quickly? Do we still count?
You bet we do, but maybe in ways those hard driven young corporates don’t register yet. I choose to conduct my business and personal life with integrity. Millions, maybe not, but a living for sure. A well chosen, no regrets, deep desire to do well, treat well and live with myself well.
My clients are luxury clients. They rely on me to give them a great business deal for the best experience. I can live with that, and the large slice of cake I demolished straight after the meeting.
Take your talents, your life’s work and make it happen your way, even if it means saying no to the ambitious drive others around you may want to drown you in – it’s not important to be the most hard driving women in the world, but to be the best you can be, for yourself.
Business will come to you, because you are worth it and not because you know the right people.
Image – vintage academy