As many of you know by now, I'm now a full-time entrepreneur. I want to succeed. I want to make some millions. Which is why I was heartened to be in the company of people who have already achieved this level of success in Ghana last week. I was truly inspired by these men. They've spent the last 10, 20 years building their businesses and they seem as energetic as ever.
I was excited to meet them, and excited to see that they seemed genuinely interested in me and what I'm doing and considered me the next generation of Ghanaian entrepreneurs. When they gave me their personal numbers, I remember thinking...wow...only in Ghana do I get to meet the business giants and to have this kind of ready access to them.
A number of them called to check on me and to invite me to events. It's called networking. So I want to go. People don't do business with people they don't know. Or like. Or trust. How will they know and like, and trust me if they don't spend any time at all with me? If I were a guy, I wouldn't have to think twice about this. I'd just accept their invitations and go. And go again, and sleep over, and travel this country with them and learn from them?
But I'm not a guy. I'm a woman. A woman engaged to be married.
So, how can I take advantage of the benefits of networking with people you want to be like when an overwhelming percentage of them are men? If the businesspeople you know and admire are men, can you still learn from them without ending up in their bed?
Exactly 2 years ago, I wrote an article titled a new kind of relationship in which I raised the same concern. At the time, I was aba fresh, and correspondingly naive. Now I know, it's not that simple. You want to impress these men. You don't want to piss them off. But you also don't want to sleep your way to the top. You want to do this entrepreneurship thing for real. You're not interested in chopping anyone's money. You just want to learn from them. How does one go about establishing that kind of relationship? There's a thin line. If you're too hardcore, they'll just not invite you anywhere. And you won't get to know them.
Someone please tell me me how.