In this episode, Adam and I discuss effective tips for building a successful network as creators. We talk about people’s misconceptions about networking and how to build relationships that last a life time.
“When you take time to intentionally build relationships, there are many opportunities, not just one.”
Highlights from this episode:
[4:48] How do you grow and nurture your network?
[9:50] Why do you think networking is important for creators?
[12:40] If I am a startup creator and want to build my network, where do I start? What’s the first step?
[46:27] How do you maintain the relationship with your network?
[53:15] One thing that people spend too much time on when it comes to networking that they should skip entirely?
Connect with Adam Marx:
A little bit about Adam:
Adam is a networking and branding consultant, tech founder, startup advisor, journalist, speaker, and the founder of the Zero to One network. He not only creates viral content on Tiktok and LinkedIn, but he does this while working as a networking and branding consultant and speaker.
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Mahrukh Imtiaz: Hello, beautiful, I hope you’re having a great, great day. It’s actually a beautiful day out of title of this recording. And I hate being the person who’s always saying like, Look at how beautiful it is outside. But honestly, today it’s all Sunny. And also, I don’t really love the heat. I don’t love the sun all the time.
But we’ve had a few pretty gloomy days here in Toronto so much you’re welcoming it and I like the light and I like it when I’m inside. And I’m not dying in the heat. Yes, I don’t love the heat. Don’t kill me for it, but just anywho I digress.
Today’s episode is with Adam Marx. And we talk about networking. And no not the networking where you have to get your business cards, go to conferences and hope and pray that something works out and you find your next deal.
Nope, not that kind of networking. We really go into networking for creators the importance of it, how can you practically do it without even having a following? And then once you kind of have a network, how do you grow it? How do you make sure you maintain it? You know, all of that fun stuff. We actually go into a little bit of mental health stuff for creators as well and Adam opens up about it. So you know what, I think you will love this episode and I will get right to it onto the episode.
Mahrukh Imtiaz: Our guest today is a networking and branding consultant, tech founder, startup advisor, journalist, speaker, and the founder of the Zero to One networker. He not only creates viral content on Tik Tok and LinkedIn, but he does this while working as a networking and branding consultant and speaker. Today, we’re gonna break all of that down for you. Welcome to the show, Adam.
Adam Marx: It’s great to be here. I’m super excited.
Mahrukh Imtiaz: I’m very excited to have you as well. And the cool thing about Adam and I is that everything that he teaches about networking, he’s kind of applied on me in a really weird way, right? I mean, we reached out on LinkedIn, we reached out on LinkedIn, we sent each other DMS.
And then we connected instantly, I would say, we set up a zoom call, and it was just a regular casual, let’s get to know another solopreneurs zoom call. And Adam since then, has been providing intense value, like, you know, and he does that without even making it seem like he is right.
Like he would mention me in some of his LinkedIn posts. He would check in here and there there were times when I need to reschedule the podcast because cricket, and all of that fun stuff. But he was always there and very ready to just flex.
So how do you do that? How did how does that come? Like what’s what’s the strategy? What’s the brain behind that?
Adam Marx: Well, you know, it’s interesting to use the word flex, because one of my like, Tik Tok videos, which didn’t, which did a few 100 views on on Tik Tok, and then I threw it up onto like, Instagram reels or Facebook reels or whatever it is. Did really well it did like 13,000.
And it was it was a funny it was it was a funny, because I’m a huge fan of like, Family Guy, and boy, oh, my God. And the reason I say that is because it’s it’s a video of of, you know, the you can hear the lowest saying, Are you flexing? And Brian going?
Yeah, no. Why? Why? Why? Why would I flex? Oh, yeah. You know, and, and the point, the point is that, you know, I think that when you are really kind of vibing with somebody and building really great conversations and really great dialogues, it might seem from the outside, to other people who are still trying to figure out how to do that, that it’s like a flex, right, but it’s not the same kind of flex that is, do look at me, I’m so awesome.
Look at what my job title is how much money I have, how many followers I have. I mean, those are things that become, I think distractions. And, and I you know, the the strategy that you were kind of encapsulating in that is something that I kind of think of is, I call it serendipitous ubiquity.
You can’t be everywhere at one time because you’re human. But you can create the perception that you’re everywhere, all at once. And it works incredibly well. Because I think of myself as being kind of like one of these, like, you know, Secret Agents,
I’m a huge fan of the show Burn Notice, right? And so you just show up in the dead of night, leave something valuable, something interesting for the conversation, share something and then you kind of like disappear into the mist, right? And you just and you do that again, and again and again.
And it creates this perception that you’re just everywhere all the time and all the interesting conversations. And what you really end up doing from that is creating an enormous amount of onramps for conversations.
And that’s what networking really is we can get into like, Why? Why networking sucks for a lot of people or why it feels like it sucks for a lot of people and I totally get it. What the goal should be is to get to the next conversation, to let that kind of that dialogue in that relationship just gestate organically. And that leads to really interesting opportunities down the down the line.
Mahrukh Imtiaz: Absolutely. I think people underestimate the power of a well taken care of network I feel like this now it’s a network log, go to these conferences, get a bunch of business cards, email those people create a spreadsheet.
I’ve been guilty of doing all of those by the by the way, so no hate on anyone. I’ve done it all. I’ve been there. But I think the difference is rather than just having people on your LinkedIn and having these business cards, how do you like grow and nurture network?
How do you make sure that as you said when you’re flexing it doesn’t even seem like a flex right? And that was really interesting. Could you break that down? Please?
Adam Marx: Yeah, I mean, I’m so glad that you we just went right to the widest networking suck for so many people. Why the word networking has been like a dirty word.
Mahrukh Imtiaz: I mean, it seriously gave me panic attacks every time like oh, I had to have a con just a conversational coffee with people. I Oh like university and I would be like, Oh my God, I don’t know what to say I’m not qualified and it was just a coffee. It was nothing more. But yeah,
Adam Marx: Well, the very first thing I want to say I’m actually an advisor down at the Atlanta Tech Village is one of the things like a third or fourth, something like highest concentration of tech startups in the country, in terms of hundreds of companies work, I mean, COVID slowed things down a little bit.
But like Calendly is out of the Tech Village. SalesLoft, if people are into sales is out of tech, village riggers out of the Tech Village. So I spend, so I do advising there, we have an incredible team of people who come and advise and do mentor stuff all pro bono, just all across the board, people who are experts in sales and engineering and law and whatever.
And I get the opportunity to speak to a lot of founders and really focus on networking relationship building, how do you get in front of fill in the blank and oftentimes that that blank is the venture capitalists, journalists, other founders, often more often than I think other people realize, I hear I’m introverted. I’m shy. I’m quiet.
And, and the reason I frame it that way is because I don’t think people are one dimensional. And I’m not one dimensional. I’m not that person who’s like Johnny High School center of attention everywhere I go, this is not I’m usually the person by the bar with a coffee or something kind of on the periphery just and you know, a lot of people, but it’s, it’s not like, spotlights always on me.
And the reason I bring that up is I think it’s really critical to verbally address for people who don’t feel super gregarious, they may be a little quieter, or they feel that they identify as an introvert or the shy person. It’s really critical that they hear very clearly like, Listen, I have seen people who identify that way, build and sell $20 million businesses, right?
Start podcasts, write books, do speaking tours become venture capitalists become founders. Like, that doesn’t disqualify you. In any context. I’m usually down there most every week. And invariably, I always talk to a founder who says I’m nervous because of this, right?
You know, and it doesn’t match what I see on TV or on Shark Tank or whatever. And so they’re like, that’s really critical to your point of how do you go about doing it? I find that oftentimes sometimes founders can be a little bit too intelligent for their own good. Yeah, sometimes knowledge oh my gosh, sometimes it’s like it’s there’s so much overthinking and founders don’t believe me when I when I say this, but it’s true. I have built a stupid criminal network on Boy Meets World gifts.
On on Family Guy clips on friends clips, I picked up a Tiktok influencer, well, somebody who I consider an influencer 4050 something 1000 followers, okay, and this person is like her. Her specialty is, you know, finance and stuff like that. Our entire conversation on Twitter was all about the new Boy Meets World podcast where the old cast is rewatching. The show, like had nothing to do with business.
And I think that it’s really crucial for people to feel that they can be who they are. I have started more relationships, on conversations that start with Oh, you like Metallica, I like Metallica. And that’s led to things are you like you have this sense of humor, I have this sense of humor, it snowballs in a way that can’t really be hacked.
You know, my dad has this phrase, you know, it’s like, it’s like trying to teach a pig to fly, right? Trying to hack relationships are like trying to teach a pig to fly, it doesn’t work. And it just annoys the pig. And we can get into I liked how you were kind of framing it as in my mind is almost like a gardening metaphor, right? maintaining relationships, because it can be really frustrating. For some reason people live in extremes. Right? Right. So yo, please drop
Mahrukh Imtiaz: Before we get get even into like the maintaining and how do you do that? I want to, especially for creators, right? Because everyone listening is wants to be a creator, or is a creator really in their early stages, right? Or, like, you know, just wants to learn more about that. So why do you think or networking a little? Well, let me phrase that again. Why do you think networking is very important for creators in particular,
Adam Marx: Networking is critical for everybody. And so what I mean by that is, I think that there are some people there are some people out there who want to be entrepreneurs. And there’s some people out there who enjoy working in a much more structured kind of larger corporate sphere and to each their own that said every bit so not everybody has to be an entrepreneur.
Absolutely. Yeah, yes. But everybody has to think entrepreneurially with regard to what they do, and what I mean by that is, if you work in a large corporate sphere, whatever you do, there are very few exceptions.
Since like, you know, if you’re in the military, that’s a very extreme exception, time value, if you feel that you’re not being valued, your skills aren’t being valued, your time isn’t being valued. The the environment you work in isn’t, you know, respectful. I mean, that stuff is so crucial.
When I say thinking entrepreneurially, I mean, talking to people and saying, you know, there are other opportunities, there are other people to talk to. And of course, I’m not, it’s not a blanket statement, everybody has their own reality, but just the mentality of saying, you know, you can go out and talk to people, you can go out and form new bridges, and you don’t know what’s really going to come from from those conversations.
Mahrukh Imtiaz: And I think I think that’s the important piece, right? You never know what’s going to come from one conversation. And I think just kind of going back to what you said earlier, a lot of times when you connect with other creators, even when you were talking about the Tik Tok creator, you reached out to it’s never been with an intention of I need their business, or they need to help me out or and even if it is you kind of tried to follow from what I understood, try to find that common path, like do I even connect with this person?
Like, there’s so much like authenticity and genuineness there? Right? Like, I mean, think about it before the podcast, we started recording, we talk five minutes about sports, right? Like, literally like, and, you know, it’s funny, because we’re talking about women’s rugby, and all of that. And I mean, none of that. I mean, I’ve done a lot of podcasts as a guest.
And you know, I love to like in engage in that kind of, hey, what are you really into, I’d love to to get to know the posts, and they kind of go right into it, right? So, but I think people underestimate the importance of taking that extra few minutes to really engage to really listen, to develop that personal connection. And then you talked about just finding those common grounds with people like, you know, having that Twitter conversation of Boy Meets World. But my question here now to you is, how can creators do that?
Like how would like, practically like, let’s say, I’m starting off, and I want to network and I want to find these common paths with these other creators, but what is my first step? Where do I start?
Adam Marx: The very first thing I would say, because there are a couple of things that I’m going to try to touch on, as I answer the question right there. The first thing I would say is, try to adopt a mentality that most everybody is reachable. Of course, not everybody is reachable, you know, you’re probably not going to get a response from the President, you’re probably not gonna get a response from Beyonce.
Weird things have happened in life. Okay. I mean, so you might, but but, you know, that said, there are a lot of people who are staggeringly reachable. And so when you identify somebody, and you say, you know, I like what this person is about, you know, look at somebody like, let’s, let’s take somebody who’s a little bit more reachable, like Mark Cuban the investor or Gary Vaynerchuk, the the speaker podcaster these are people who are very well known have huge footprints.
But they are still reachable. If you look, they do. I mean, Gary Vee has has liked one of my tweets before, you know, and I’m sure Yeah, who knows? If it’s a if it’s a VA, you know, virtual assistant, or it doesn’t, it almost doesn’t matter, right? Isn’t it an engagement. And so if you adopt that mentality, and you say, okay, this person is reachable, and this is a really critical thing, there’s, I do not believe in the mentality of always have an ask, right?
Always have an accent of that, which I think is an oversimplification. Because what, oftentimes, it’s taken to mean is, have your pitch ready? Yeah. Right. Because, you know, have your pitch ready, but always have an ask for me means have a reason for having the conversation. And you have to be looking for mutually beneficial dynamics, right? So good reasons to have conversations.
Maybe you do have something that somebody needs, but other really good reasons to have conversations and pitching them in the first 10 seconds. usually not a good idea. Yeah. And we can cover that in a second. But other good reasons to have conversations, you can look at someone and go, you know, I like their mission. I like what they’re about. I they’re doing something I want to learn more about, or I want to learn how they did it,
I want to kind of try to emulate portions of their example. Or, and this is the kind of mindset that I have, and maybe some people think it’s crazy. I look at people, you know, who are influential to me and go, you know, I like this person.
I want to talk to them one day. I don’t know when it’s going to be but I want to be in their orbit in some way. And maybe one day, I’ll talk to them and that day is not gonna be tomorrow or next week or probably next month. But it could happen and there is a staggering difference between okay, I’m working my way into somebody’s orbit, creating value creating engagement, and I’m on the periphery, but I exist versus I don’t exist.
There is a massive chasm there and when you go from not existing to existing, suddenly, all kinds of interesting possibilities pop up around you. And that’s kind of the zero to one mindset. It’s about going from existing from not existing to existing.
Mahrukh Imtiaz: I love that. I think what you said was very, very interesting. And I think one of the things that I feel everyone should also here is a lot of times we have just connected with someone and you know, we’ve we’re making that kind of mutual connection.
And we’re just vibing, as you said, right. It’s mutual things to talk about. And out of nowhere, that other person goes viral, right? They go viral, they start building, like, they start building a following. And next thing, you know, they have a million followers. You’ve already built that connection with that person when they had 4000 followers. You know, you were there for them.
When nobody was listening. This particular thing actually happened to me. You remember following Justin Darren, who right now has a million followers on Tiktok. I started following him when he had 2000 followers on Tiktok. Right? And I messaged him, I said, Hey, you, you’re doing really cool things. I like your video style, everything would love to chat. And then we just started chatting.
And you know, I mean, we didn’t become best friends or anything. But you know, we were just there supporting each other. I would comment, I would like his stuff, he would do the same. And now that he has a million followers, I had no hesitation asking him to be a guest on my podcast. Right?
It was because this relationship has been formed for years. Yes, he’s a big deal now in the content creator industry. But I’ve been working on that relationship for a bit. And you know, he came on my podcast, he was the first guest for season two. It was a very, very big deal.
A lot of people messaged me and said, Oh, you had Justin on your podcast. How’d you do that? And I was like, because when I reached out to him, I didn’t know he was going to be that big. And I didn’t care. No, he, for me, it was like, Oh, this guy is a really cool, dude. He creates some really cool content. Oh, he’s also into cricket. Let’s try cricket. So I think that’s also very interesting. That’s why it’s so important to keep building connections with people you vibe with. Right? Well,
Adam Marx: I mean, there’s so before I was in tech, and startups, I was in the music industry for like 1011 years. And there’s an adage in the punk world that goes something like if you forget us on the way up, we’ll see you on the way down. It’s just about recognizing, listen, nobody builds anything all by themselves.
Even if you’re a solo entrepreneur, you still have great partners, great employees, great customers, great investors, people who, like you’re not an island. Yeah. And you’re just you’re Oh, just, I mean, just tons of people. And it’s so easy. Gratitude is so easy. And I It baffles me why people are so stingy with it. Look, networking isn’t the NBA Finals.
It’s not, it’s not zero sum. It’s not like okay, one winner, one loser, you can all win 80%. And people can go look at my LinkedIn or my Twitter or whatever. 80% of everything I tweet or post or share isn’t about my services and what I sell. It’s about, hey, this is a founder who’s doing really cool stuff, or this is a mission I believe in or this is something funny, maybe it’ll brighten your day like this. It’s not like buy my service. 24/7.
Right. And, and I think that it’s really bumped up into the whole shoot your shot mentality, which I am a fan of. But it again, is over simplified. Often. I’m a fan of it, because I believe that, you know, get into the fabric, get into the conversation, create, you know, ask a question, share something, ask for more clarification, try some of the suggestions people are, are sharing.
But oftentimes, it gets over simplified to Well, I got one shot, I better make it my 22nd elevator pitch, right? Because I only got one shot. And what I tell people is if you build relationships, and you build long term conversations, I tell my clients and I tell founders and so anyone who will listen 10 months, not two weeks, you never have just one shot exam, the ability to come back and say, Hey, we gathered some more data, we made some improvements.
We have a new customer base, we have this kind of progress going on, like you never are barred from having 5678 conversations. As long as you’re continuing to create value and you don’t show up in like, Hey, where’s my money? Hey, where’s my where’s my mic? We’re launching next week, where’s my my report or my article you’re gonna do on us? You know, that’s crucial.
Mahrukh Imtiaz: I think there’s a lot of really, really good things you said there and I want to actually dig into one of them. What I really loved about what you said there is when you take time to intentionally build relationships, there is not just one opportunity there are many opportunities.
So it’s not like oh my god if I don’t get this right, this is horrible. My work. Well then. So if we were to break that down even more, let’s say I’m a beginner creator, right, and I’m using LinkedIn platform and started creating content, I could be a side Hustler, or I’m just trying to solopreneur ship for the first time.
And it’s a solopreneur ship or side hustling can be really lonely journey, like, oh, yeah, ality of it, right. So, at first, it’s not even like, let me build this network to really get to know more people. So I could like have a better network versus just hey, can I?
Where can I find my community? Where can I talk to people who are going through some of the same things? So let’s say that is the case? What is the what first thing I would do? Like when I go to LinkedIn groups? Would I just randomly go through profiles and message random people to get on a zoom call? Like, what would that look like?
Adam Marx: What was the boy, there’s was so much in that I mean, I hope we come back to the loamy aspect part of it because I’m such a proponent of mental health and talking about mental health and coming from the music industry, and then coming into tech at a time when it was like code until you can’t see straight and sleeping through the week.
And I have stories to tell about this is crucial to be you don’t have to be totally open and vulnerable about every single detail of your life. But to feel that like, you’re not a robot, nobody’s a robot. And but so let’s tackle your question first was like, what do you do? Usually what I tell people is, it’s habits. Right?
It’s like, it’s like, getting in shape. Yeah, I don’t mean just losing 20 pounds before that, you know, that wedding that you want to fit into that Tux for. I mean, like, when you say I want to get in shape, I want to get healthy. It could mean pay, needs to be exercising, that’s a habit need to be eating better. That’s a habit need to be sleeping better.
That’s a habit drinking lots of water. That’s a habit drinking less, you know, alcohol or less soda, that’s a habit focusing on mental health. These are all little habits. And none of it happens overnight. I don’t know, certainly not in a healthy way. I’m not a doctor, or nutritionist or whatever. But I would assume that if you drop 40 pounds overnight, it’s probably not a good thing. Right? You know, let’s you got surgery. Yeah.
Without surgical Yeah, my vast experience being a doctor. I tell. For some reason. There is an assumption that or an impatience that, like networking, relationship building should be like, boom, boom, boom, like that. Like it’s not like, it becomes like that. Once you are kind of in the rhythm, and you’re having so many conversations, not in an overwhelming way, you’re just talking to lots of people and opening yourself up, not in an overt because if it’s becoming overwhelming, it’s important to take a step back and say this is a little overwhelming.
So in terms of practical steps for like LinkedIn, it’s also works on Twitter. But for any, let’s say, given online community, I call it the the lucrative strategy of lurking, right, you kind of just sit and just read and maybe you do a you know, you’re a little bit more intentional in your research, say like, Okay, I want to be reading stuff that’s like real estate oriented, or medical technology oriented, or financial oriented.
And then identify, I don’t know, 10, maybe 1520, maybe, you know, people who, who you’ve read some of their content, you’ve enjoyed some of their content, you found some value in it and say, you know, I’m going to try to now interact with this content.
And on a consistent basis, just you get up in the morning, you brush your teeth, you go to you brush your teeth, then you go to bed like that’s that’s that should be what’s bookending your day, that’s a very little habit, but it has outsized health effects, you know, and results. And the same is true, get up in the morning scroll, if you got 10 minutes in the morning, leave two or three comments and try to leave more like as a building phase, you should be leaving more than cool post bro.
Mahrukh Imtiaz: It should be great post.
Adam Marx: I mean, like, at some point, at some point, you may like if it’s your friend and likes or somebody you know, like you don’t have to write them an essay, they know that you’re supportive.
They can be like, Hey, Rachel, Hey, Tom, you know, awesome posts. I love this, you know, heart emoji and they know that you’re there. But as you’re in the building phase, and you might be new ask a question, you know,
Hey, Jen, this was an interesting post that you wrote, could you elaborate on this, or I’d love to hear more of that story. Or this was, you know, Suzanne, left 10 tips, marketing. And I’ve tried tips, two, four, and six. But I didn’t try tips one and three yet. I’m going to try that and come back like these are all on ramps to conversations.
And what you’re doing is you’re creating, you’re sending out numerous signals at the same time. And like I’m a big fan of sharing. And for people who are on LinkedIn, there are always people testing out the algorithm.
Some of the influencers, some of whom are good friends of mine, always testing the algorithm. There’s always like a pecking order, you know, video versus all text content, blah, blah, blah, and always at the very, very, very bottom always is don’t share content.
Mahrukh Imtiaz: Yeah, I’ve heard that a lot
Adam Marx: The algorithm will ding you Right And LinkedIn, that’s what they say, on LinkedIn is like, it’s not like don’t share to be a jerk. It’s like don’t share because the algorithm will suppress your reach. The only times I’ve ever gone viral ever were when I was sharing content.
And I mean, like, really viral, I woke up and I, it was like, bam, 50,000 views, 80,000 views 100, half a million views. I did, like 1.7 million views over like, 10 posts that I was just sharing. And it was nuts to me. Here’s some things people need to understand about virality.
You don’t wake up with $300,000 in your bank account, just by virtue of going viral. Okay, I’ve gone viral. It’s like a huge ego boost. It’s a lot of fun. And it stops. It’s ephemeral, because algorithms change. And then you go from 400,000 views to 40 views. 100 views, you know, you can’t be can’t be the reality.
Mahrukh Imtiaz: That’s the reality. Yes. And people need to hear
Adam Marx: Yes. And if going viral, and this is what I tell people like you don’t come to me to 30 Extra follower count. I’m not the person that you hire, or bring in to talk to your team. When you want a 30 Extra follower count or double your sales by the end of the quarter.
There are some people on LinkedIn, who are amazing salespeople, and I leave that very specific skill to them, because sales and marketing are absolutely crucial. But they’re fundamentally different than networking.
And the best salespeople know that. Yeah, it’s not up on the person you come to when you say, hey, I want to learn how to get in front of this person, or this organization or this demographic. How do I do that? Because once you’re in the room, things change.
You know what, what I tell people is like caliber over quantity, because looking at my follower count, like on Twitter is a great example on on Twitter, my follower counts fairly unimpressive. It’s unimpressive to me, you know,
Mahrukh Imtiaz: We’re always so hard on ourselves. But yeah,
Adam Marx: Oh, yeah, the follower people take the time to then look at who those followers are, then it starts to become pretty serious. Then its investor, investor, investor, journalists, journalists, senators, state senator state representative, I mean, just tactics that I teach people things that sound really ambiguous but but work, you know, they’re ambiguous until the day they work.
And then then it’s like, oh, not so ambiguous things like patience, value creation, showing up and being empathetic in a way that’s not everybody has all the answers, you don’t have all the answers, even in an area that you’re an expert in, you still don’t have all the answers that builds relationships, these, these are industry agnostic strategies, it’s worked for me building networks in the music industry.
It worked for me building networks in the tech industry, it’s worked in politics, it’s worked in publishing, and journalism, like it doesn’t matter. The only industry that I can really think of where it might be different is in the military. And even that, you know, I don’t know enough about the military, frankly, to know, you know, one way or the other. And so practical things that people can do.
So we talked about dropping a few comments in the morning, maybe a few in the evening, and making that a habit sharing content,
I want to go back to sharing content, even though the people talking about the algorithm dinging you it’s so important that people understand this. First, if you’re going to share content, it’s what I call piggybacking with, without stealing credit, right?
You’re gonna share something credit the person at the very top, and if and if they are Taggable, if they’ve made themselves Taggable, tag them, right. Okay, and say this was a great article, or great, Rick did a great post on marketing or on sales, and then write your little piece, right?
You’re You’re a little add on, but credit at the very top, I am a journalist, I’m a freelance writer, I’ve been an editor credit is a big deal. It really and if you don’t take the time to do that, you’re shooting yourself in the foot for no reason. Because if you do it right, doesn’t matter if 100,000 people see it, when matters if that one person sees it.
And what you’ve now done is you sent multiple signals simultaneously, you said, I read your content, I liked it. I engaged with your content, I found value in your content. I’m sharing it into my network. I’m telling other people about you, right, I’m giving you credit.
And I’m doing it in a way where maybe I write a little something a little question or a little story that allows you to now write more content, maybe responding to the story or answering the question, you created numerous OnRamps potential OnRamps it doesn’t matter if 50,000 People see it only matters if Rick sees it. And oftentimes, it’s been pretty successful for me as a strategy, but it’s long term.
Mahrukh Imtiaz: Right? And I think that’s the important piece here. The patience the long term and I really liked how you talked about habits right? Early on you were just saying that networking is a habit. that that’s the thing about it, right? It’s, it’s not that oh, how do I get to know this person? And how do I get to know them in a week?
It’s how can I continuously show up for that person I love the the example you gave of commenting on their posts, you know, comment on their posts, like their stuff, share their stuff, that is really helping a creator out.
And guess what they notice? Creators notice every time my stuff has been shared, or someone who’s constantly commenting, or even the way you added value, you were constantly tagging me in your posts. You know, I was noticing, you know, and I was responding. And it was so staying on top of it.
So and a lot of times, I mean, I tried to reach out and thank the person but a lot of times people might not have the time to do that. But they you are top of mind. And I guess people don’t realize the importance of just staying top of mind for certain people and just long term, not just hey, I’m going to do this for two months. Oh, this sucks. It didn’t work out for me. Too bad. I’m gonna stop. This is a habit. This is a long term thing.
Adam Marx: Okay, now now let’s talk about maintaining. And now let’s talk about maintaining relationships. I get that question all the time from founders. Okay. How do I maintain this? I have a zillion things to do. Right?
Anybody who’s a founder in any capacity knows, you’re pretty much always fundraising in some way. You’re never really done fundraising unless you’ve got like, just six passive income streams. Yeah. But we all we all wish we did. But even even then, they may not be enough. You’re never done networking. And I think that that scares a lot of people. Because it’s like, oh, man, that’s just one more thing. I’m running a company I have this going on.
Mahrukh Imtiaz: It’s the same thing about weight loss, right? You can’t just stop eating, like, you can’t just start eating junk and be like, Oh, no way she’s gonna maintain itself. And then maintain it. Yeah.
Adam Marx: And it’s like you you adopt a lifestyle? Absolutely. That allows you to maybe you’re not running marathons every week or every week for people who are I applied? I applaud their their discipline. I’m working my way up to that. For those of us who aren’t there yet, you know, it’s about finding your comfort zone. I never want people to feel that they have to be a certain thing have to be in a box because I’m not when I came into tech, I knew nobody in tech and startups.
I mean, to fully illustrate to your listeners how nobody I knew I didn’t know where the Computer Science Building was on my college campus. Oh, wow. Okay. Yeah, really. I studied, like, I have a I have a degree in history. I have a minor in Art History. I am not the person who was building your website. I just happen to know a ton of VCs a ton of tech journalists. Well, it’s not I just one day woke up with those connections. It took years of slow, methodical growth.
And I think that, you know, I’m certainly asked my siblings, my parents, like, I am not patient by nature. I’m patient because it works. And you modulate where you feel comfortable. I’ve had days and moments and maybe we should talk about the mental health capacity, you know, thing where I’ve said, you know, I can’t be on social media, like,
I just can’t I have personal stuff I’m going through, I just can’t be you know, and and that’s okay. You can you can say, Hey, listen, I’m taking a break. I’ll be back. I’m okay. At times. Yes. And that’s healthy. And if you think you’re going to lose followers for saying, I need to take a mental break. You don’t need those people. Okay
Mahrukh Imtiaz: Brene Brown just went on like a six month social media. Oh, block, like a like, it’s literally she’s not on anything. And she made that announcement, right? Or I think six months or a year, but someone like her who had Yeah. You know, like and everything. Yeah.
Adam Marx: I mean, look, being in the music industry. Look, burnout isn’t sexy. Yes. Just sad. It just is. And you know, so with regard to maintaining relationships, there’s a zillion good reasons why somebody hasn’t gotten back to your email.
Okay, that’s a run to get the car fixed. They’re running a company, they got a job, the kid got sick. You know, COVID changed everything for everybody. Certainly, everyone. I know, there’s a million good reasons. You don’t take it personally. Absolutely. holding a grudge is good. If you’re Alana is Morissette.
Writing an album, it’s a wasted emotion when you are building relationships. And I’ve had relationships and deals fall through and experiences that I went through the experience and you know, but I wouldn’t do it again or I just the chemistry wasn’t there. Like holding a grudge is a waste of energy.
And that energy can best be put towards having more conversations with other people. You just You just chalk it up to saying okay, this just isn’t working. I’m just gonna take the energy somewhere else like of course that’s it’s something sting more than others. And I understand that but broadly speaking, take that energy and put it somewhere else.
And the like, the mental health component is so critical. I just can’t I can’t get we got to talk about that. Because when I came into when I came into tech, like I was As I had crafted an image of myself as like the music guy, I’m probably the only person on this planet who’s like read all the music licenses.
I wrote our music license for my my startup company, I synthesize three or four different licenses, like I knew what was going on in those licenses backwards and forwards, I mean, stuff that it was legalese, like even I was stumbling through it.
And when I, you know, I had done the band thing for a hot minute in high school, I did music journalism, that’s how I got into tech journalism. I did a college radio show, I had press access at Warped Tour when you’re in and when I closed my first startup, right, because you think you know everything out of college and you don’t.
Sometimes the markets, not there, sometimes you just learned right? When I closed my first startup, I didn’t know who I was, my whole identity was so wrapped up in that.
And I was talking to one of my really good friends who also happens to be in tech and startups. And I said to her, I left Atlanta, I was so burned out, I went to San Francisco, I visited friends in Chicago, non tech friends was college friends. And I said to my friend, you know, I want to write a post about this, because I spend a lot of my time working on my anxiety, right working on my depression.
And it’s so critical for for people to hear like, Listen, if you have anxiety, or depression, or PTSD, or OCD, or whatever the hell it is, everybody’s got something, it doesn’t make you unfindable. It doesn’t make you not a real founder, it makes you human. And I would never, ever take money or be around people who say,
Oh, that means you’re not a real founder. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life. And so when I talked to my friends, and I said, you know, I really think I just want to write it out. And that’s how I express myself.
And she said, you know, this is back in 1718 2018, I think, and she said, you can talk to me, I’m afraid if you write something, you’ll become RadioShack, and you’ll become untouchable. So it wasn’t the message wasn’t? Well, the message wasn’t like, don’t say it don’t feel it was, I know you.
And I know the environments that we’re in. And it’s not an environment that is conducive to being open that way. And they’ve made a lot of progress. There has been a lot more discussion about mental health. And the realities of this, but I turned to as like, honestly, that’s the problem is what I say that’s really part of the issue.
Because having seen all that crap in the music industry, and coming into tech, that was part of the part of the thing that I was really kind of running from was this burnout is sexy idea, and it’s not. And so for creators to understand, like you are going to hit a wall, it is going to happen if you’re doing your job, right?
It doesn’t matter if you’re got everything scheduled, like if you’re doing your job, right, and you’re really good at it, but you’re almost not going to realize that you’re in need of a break. Yeah. And in need of turning around to somebody and saying to
Mahrukh Imtiaz: Somebody you love what you do. Right? Exactly. I love it so much. And you’re ahead, you’re two, three months ahead. But you’re if you are that you think of something else, something else is just like,
Adam Marx: Your brain is always Yeah, and you’re always building something, you’re always collaborating and I’m all for collaborations, but you need to have the you need to build the network around you. And network isn’t just for business, this is the most important thing and network is when you turn around and you say listen, I’m struggling, okay.
And that can be in numerous levels it can I turned around to people who are really close to me who who are LinkedIn influencers, who have huge footprints, who I just happen to know really well. And we’re really close. And I said, I’m struggling, I need some help.
I need some help on XYZ, or I’m just in a not good place. You know, not not not a dangerous place. But just like I’m just I’m down, you know, I’m having a rough patch. And I just need some support from the people around me to kind of help me kind of get through that. And you should have a network of people who recognize that that’s really what you’re building. You know, you all should recognize that’s what you’re building. You’re not building a Rolodex outdated term.
Mahrukh Imtiaz: Absolutely. The only thing I’ll add is how important it is to have the right kind of network there. Right? I mean, there are people, I’m not really associated with them anymore, but there are people that I’ve opened up to in the past, you know, that just kind of then advise me Oh, all right, then maybe this is not for you, right?
Oh, if I say if I’m struggling, rather than being like, Hey, maybe I need a break, like, you know, or what can I do to help? Or exactly what can I do to help? Or it’s more like, well, you know, maybe you just need to let that go. Or maybe that’s just not for you.
Or it’s just so competitive out there. And I’ve plenitude things from quote unquote, friends, and it’s so discouraging. And it’s like, that’s the last thing you want to hear, right? You’re already hard on yourself. So now I can proudly say I have people around me that are always reminding me of my why.
And also reminding me that hey, I can take a break and literally doing like a million things. But yeah, going back to just having that network of personal people. It’s so important to have the right kind of people in play.
Adam Marx: Oh, it’s it’s really no, you Yeah, it’s crucial. And I think that that’s that point is I’m really happy you shared that because that point is so often kind of glossed over the assumption is, if you’re building a network, then everyone in your network is good for your network or good for you.
That’s kind of a, it’s kind of taken as a given. But it’s not. I mean, I wouldn’t say cut people out of my network. And you know, you don’t have to this is kind of like, there are some times that relationships to just not gelling, or they’re just, it just doesn’t feel good.
Let’s talk about that. Right? Because everything up until now has been like, under the assumption that like, oh, it’s gonna be great, right? Sometimes it’s not great. And sometimes you say to yourself, I don’t really think I want to move forward.
Mahrukh Imtiaz: Yeah, since it was great in the beginning. And then after two years, you’re like, This is not either I’ve grown in or this is not really the person I thought they were or, you know, things happen,
Adam Marx: Things happen, and people change. And so here’s what I’ll say, very rarely, very rarely, will I bombastically burn down a bridge? Very rarely, because you don’t really get anything for it, you feel like you’re going to feel better, but you don’t I mean, I guess maybe some people do, I don’t think it’s worth that. I think it oftentimes creates more collateral damage than it, then it makes you feel better. There is one caveat to that.
And I have no qualms about saying this, if I know or catch wind of somebody crossing what I call red lines. For me, diversity is a red line, if I catch wind, that you’re being objectively discriminatory, I’m, I’m not going to be shy about saying this, this shit isn’t what I stand for, you know, my, my parents are attorneys, and I grew up in the me to movement.
Okay, so I grew up watching them do sex harassment, law, discrimination law way before, it was like a movement should have been many, many years ago. But so that kind of stuff, you know, and I’ll always you have to be very careful in that conversation. Just all around very important conversation, taking that aside, there’s really no reason to get into a pissing match with somebody online.
I mean, people do it, and I’ve done it, I’ve been, you know, I, it’s, I’m not gonna sit here and pretend I’m perfect. Like I’ve done it. I’m just saying, like, as a general overall marketing, or networking strategy, like you don’t really get a lot for the energy you put into it, you’re frankly, better off spending the energy somewhere else.
And I’m saying that as somebody who has expended that energy and then gone, boy, I’m exhausted at the end of the night, and I don’t feel like I got anything for it. Right. So better off turning around saying who the people who are good for me. And I’m going to double down on that and look at who they’re talking to. And those are people I can talk to and leave comments on and create value for.
Mahrukh Imtiaz: Right. I love that. And I think the piece that I want to go into more is, you know, we talked about like, how you start building a network. I know that we talked about some What about, you know, the loneliness piece and how that’s really real.
I mean, I’ve been there, I’ve taken breaks, because it’s just been too much, even though I’ve been ahead of schedule or whatnot. And actually, just last week, I was on vacation, and I just took the week off. I could have continued posting I do doesn’t take much to just post when you’ve already written the post.
But for me, it was like, No, these are important weeks, I need this time off to refresh before. That wasn’t how I thought. But now it’s important for a mental health, depression anxiety thing, I mean, instantly working on.
And then we so we talked a little bit about mental health, and when we were kind of going into the maintenance of the relationships, right. So I just kind of want to get back there a little bit.
Let’s say I’ve built my relationships kind of, I’ve started commenting and people were starting vibing and you know, we get along like we get along because we have a cricket connection or you know, they really like fish and chips and I love fish and chips and and biryani and you know, you could just talk about for ages. How do I continue to maintain that relationship? Is it the continuous of commenting which I mean, I get that’s part of it. Is there anything else?
Adam Marx: It could be? It’s a mix of things, okay. I’m sure there’s a reason that I don’t have 100,000 Twitter followers, I’m sure that part of it has to do with the fact that Twitter, the algorithm doesn’t know what to make of my engagement. Because I’m interacting with people on a variety of topics. It’s not just like marketing and sales, you know, so I’m sure the algorithms like don’t know what the hell they’re doing, dude.
Exactly. That’s, that’s that’s the title of like my memoir, what are you doing, dude? But so there’s a drunken mastery of sorts, I’m sure to the way that I go about maintaining relationships. And And truthfully, if we’re going to talk about pragmatic steps, I love the holiday time not because I super love any particular holidays. I mean, I’m not high maintenance enough, frankly, to enjoy all that kind of attention. But I love the holiday time because it gives me an excuse from like September all the way through middle of January gives me a wonderful excuse to send out emails, DMS text messages, and oftentimes
I’ll write them one at a time like I’m not going to just drop in a form. But to reach out and say, hey, you know, Hey, Mike, you know, it’s been a minute since we chatted, I just want to take a minute. And, you know, wish you happy holidays, you know, and I hope you have an easy time. And I’d love to hear what you’re working on right now, maybe I’d love to give some feedback or, you know, just wanted to let you know that I value you as part of my network.
And I’m glad that we’re connected. And, you know, let’s hop on a zoom call sometime next year, sometime next year could mean anytime it doesn’t, right, make make doesn’t nail down somebody to a particular day or week. And just and I will send tons of those just randomly throughout the weeks, the holiday time means that people kind of a little bit expect them. They’re not like too out of left field.
But that is a tactic that builds really great networks. And it’s not like I send out okay, I have my email list and I send out one form email to everybody like you can do that, too.
But if you are looking, yeah, if you personalize it, and you don’t have to do all at once, that is a way of maintaining relationships and networks, that is relatively low effort, low cost, but has huge outsized returns, because I’ll get text messages back from people months later. Right? Because they were busy, you know, it’s a holiday time.
And there’s because it’s a holiday time, there isn’t an expectation to get back to it immediately. There’s the understanding, hey, it’s the holiday time no one’s in the office anyway, we’re all a family kind of thing. So removes that pressure. Yeah,
Mahrukh Imtiaz: I love that. And I think a one thing that I’ve actually learned from Gary Vaynerchuk, it’s do do things that don’t scale. So you know, taking that time to even write like handwritten notes, I mean, I do that all the time for I would pick 10 to 20 people every year, and
I send them a handwritten note. And people underestimate the, like, the impact that has gotten people like they talk about it for years after, you know, oh, I still remember the handwritten note you sent me. And you know, it was so personalized. So I think that could really like in a positive way. Like have better, like great impact on your networking and your relationships with especially with that person.
Adam Marx: Yeah, I mean, and it’s just, you know, like relationships are living breathing things, okay. They require constant adjustment and care. And, you know, think about the relationships that you have in your life outside, like your professional world, your friends, your family, presumably, you know, your romantic partner, or partners, as the case may be.
Right? You are constantly talking to people and communication is usually one of if not the most important facets. You don’t just get into something after going on two or three dates with somebody and saying, Okay, now we’re mates. I mean, I’m Yes, there are some cultures that do that, to each their own.
But generally speaking, that is not a common practice. And even when friends like you’re not looking in the classroom, it’s the first or second day of third grade cannot looking for somebody to be your partner for life. You’re just looking for somebody to vibe with to sit with at lunch. Yeah, just one enough step like that’s the next step. Just want just want somebody to sit with at lunch, and maybe it grows from there. Maybe it doesn’t.
And maybe that person is just your lunch buddy, when you’re in third and fourth grade and then you grow apart and that’s okay. But for that period of time, it was mutually beneficial for you both to not sit by yourselves, you know, feel that you had somebody else. Well, that’s what networks are.
Mahrukh Imtiaz: Absolutely. And Adam I think it’s been so much fun just chatting about building a network, maintaining a network mental health random sports stuff Boy Meets World. And here before I get into our final question, I’d love for you to let people know where they can find you online.
Adam Marx: Oh boy, I tell people is look for the aren’t sunglasses. Because next next time we’ll talk about why that’s an accidental brand. I’m on Twitter @adammarx13. ADAM MARX one three. I think also I’m tweeting under Zero to One Network because Twitter doesn’t allow more characters on LinkedIn.
Probably the same handles LinkedIn Facebook, on Tik Tok Zero to One networker. So it’s it’s kind of a a mixed set of lines. Not a lot. Yeah, not. It’s a mix of those. And it’s just allowed me and one thing I’ll say before the very last question, because this is really important.
Building networks building one or two, you know, building in a community has immense power, where the real power is, is as you become a conduit between different communities between networks, and that we can talk about that next time but you don’t have to feel restricted to one. You should feel that you can float and learn different things from different people.
Mahrukh Imtiaz: Yes, For sure, for sure. That definitely has to be something on the agenda next time. But for our final question, one thing that people spend too much time when it comes to networking that they should skip entirely
Adam Marx: Oh, boy entirely.
Mahrukh Imtiaz: I know it’s a tough one.
Adam Marx: I won’t say objectively skip it entirely, because because I’m human. And I do it too, right. But generally speaking, I would advise people to try to get away from assessing somebody based on their follower count based on that, because you make all kinds of wild assumptions based on that stupid number that are that can lead you down all kinds of incorrect avenues.
So people who have I know somebody who has a million plus followers on LinkedIn, who has like 2000 followers on Twitter, like so it’s recognize that ask yourself, Is this somebody who is creating positive value in the network and the community? You know, they somebody I’d like to talk to?
Yeah. Do I think that we can create something mutual is not just a one way thing? There’s going to be hopefully a mutually beneficial dynamic? Yeah. Okay. That’s enough. You don’t have to, if you look at it, and you go, Oh, they only have 400 followers, oh, boy, do bad, because I know people who had 200 followers when I met them, and then they found their thing, they found their niche, they blew up and now they have 40,000 followers
Mahrukh Imtiaz: Talking about earlier, right? Like, examine your message, and then boom, one video three videos later, the same person who had 200 followers has 50,000 followers. Now what are they a different person?
Adam Marx: Well, some people do grow egos, it does happen. I’ll tell you that, that that music story. And other times, generally speaking, I believe that people are generally good. And if you create value, and you show people that you’re showing up and you’re well intentioned, and I’m you know, my mission isn’t what I sell. My mission is diversity.
When people see on sunglasses, they know diversity, mental health, positivity, apathy. These are these are and networking and consulting and speaking, it’s just what I happen to do, you know, to pay my bills, you know, and so it’s, it’s really important to focus on that and ask yourself, what kind of imprint do I want to leave? And how can I best leave it? And if the answer is by talking to somebody who’s got 30 followers doesn’t matter if they have 30 and not 300,000. That’s somebody you want to know
Mahrukh Imtiaz: What a great way to end off the episode. I just want to thank you, Adam, for being here for all your patience with me and I can’t wait for our next conversation.
Adam Marx: Yeah, feeling is definitely mutual. We have a running list now of things to talk about
Mahrukh Imtiaz: Exactly and for anyone listening if what Adam has said has inspired you, please share this episode and until next time, you got this beautiful