When I say “create a network”, I mean that you have to find people that are smarter than you, that have not just MORE knowledge and experience than you, but also DIFFERENT knowledge and experience.
One of the steps in this Moving Online series that we’ve talked about is the need to specialize – what I call finding your jam, and what Darren Root refers to as becoming an Intentional Accountant. Part of the process for moving your practice online and working remotely with your clients is not just finding your gig, but also finding others that know what you don’t.
For instance, I know the construction industry really well. My dad was a builder, my brother is a carpenter, one of my brothers in law is a builder and another does heating and cooling. I worked for a plumbing company for 4 years before starting my practice.
You know what I don’t know really well? Car dealerships. So when I have a client that comes to me that buys and sells used cars? The first thing I’m going to do is tell that client that their industry is not one that we’re familiar with, but I know just the person. Then I’m going to email my girl Deb Kilsheimer, because I know she has a kick-ass way of setting this client up in QuickBooks.
Seek out others that do what you do, so that you don’t waste your time or your client’s money learning something that you may not want to learn, may not need to learn, and frankly, may not be that great at doing. This way, even if you can’t work with the client, they’ll always remember you as someone with integrity, someone that can be trusted – someone to whom they can refer new clients – because of your candor and for hooking them up with someone fabulous that DID know what they needed.
Creating this network is going to take some time and some effort, no doubt about it. You’ll have to utilize some of the tools I mentioned in Step 7 about marketing yourself. You’ll need to attend events to hone your specialty, and just as important – to meet other people that know different stuff.