A Strong Network Can Be Your Business's Best Safety Net

When I lost my job, I felt like I lost everything. But I hadn't. Here's how I built a network that helped me rebound even stronger.
A Strong Network Can Be Your Business's Best Safety Net
Image credit: Zohar Lazar
Magazine Contributor
Creator, The Jordan Harbinger Show
4 min read

This story appears in the October 2019 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

In 2018, I had my dream gig: I hosted a that reached millions of listeners and gave me access to the world’s most inspiring entrepreneurs. Then my relationship with my partners fell apart, and they emailed me to say I was fired. With that, I lost my livelihood, my calling, and my very sense of identity.

For weeks, I sat on my couch dreaming up ways to reclaim my show. But I couldn’t; it was gone. Then I realized there was something I hadn’t lost: my relationships! I’d met incredible people throughout my career. And as I reached out to them, they’d become the insurance policy I didn’t even know I had -- an insurance policy that would save me when I needed it most.

In turn, these people made me realize the full power of relationships and the importance of cultivating them.

Related: 6 Easy Steps to Making Connections That Make Money and Create Happiness

At first, after being fired, I didn’t entirely know what to say to my network. I settled on total openness, because what I needed most was guidance. In dozens of emails and , I told friends and colleagues about my troubles. In return, they gave me support and perspective. One of my mentors, a broadcasting veteran, helped me see that if I’d been successful once, I could do it again -- and more quickly this time. Another close friend, a serial entrepreneur, encouraged me to move on rather than spending time and energy recovering what I'd had.

I took their words to heart and decided to launch a new podcast. (It’s called The Harbinger Show, and it explores psychology, success, and .) I’d need to rebuild my entire , audience, and infrastructure -- with no startup capital. So again, I turned to my network. Now I needed their help.

That didn’t come easy; asking for help has always made me feel needy and burdensome. But I came up with specific requests for specific people, and I was blown away by the response. Peers lent me their customer service and staffs. Friends spread the word about my new show. I realized that asking for help is a profound, essential act of vulnerability. It made my relationships deeper and more meaningful. We were all in this together. And the results were amazing: With my network’s help, the new show quickly rose in the podcast charts. We now enjoy six million downloads per month, generating a seven-figure revenue.

The experience made me reflect on something an old colleague said. He described networking as “digging the well before you’re thirsty” -- that is, constantly cultivating trust and loyalty with the people around you, with no immediate expectation of return. I’d done a version of this in my career, though never strategically. Now I understood its full value and decided to double down.

Related: How to Be a More Likable and Charismatic Leader

I created a system I call Connect Four. Every day, I text four people from the bottom of my text message inbox to reconnect. “Hey! Been a while,” I’ll write. “What’s the latest with you?” We rekindle our connection, and I try to spot an opportunity to be of service. For example, I recently introduced a talented freelance writer to an investor friend who’s planning a book, and I connected two newly engaged friends to the best wedding planner I know.

To stay on top of my , I use a CRM called Contactually. It’s made for real estate agents, but I find it useful. Tools like this help me track my emails, follow-ups, and scheduled conversations, so I can follow through on my commitments over long periods of time. That might sound like overkill, but once I learned how important consistency and breadth were in my relationship building, I realized I’d need to implement strong processes to manage it.

Now, with these habits, I’m constantly engaging and expanding my network. I think of it as a premium I pay (and that I love to pay!) for my insurance policy today. It’ll help me in ways I can’t possibly imagine tomorrow.

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