26/03/2004 – Exactly 10 years ago today, I accepted an invitation to register on LinkedIn. That was the start of an amazing journey that would change my life forever. I could never have imagined that these 10 years would become such a rollercoaster of events, transforming myself from “someone who really hated attending networking events” to a professional and international networker. The first years of my transformation were written down in my first book “A Girlfriend in Every City”, published in November 2005 (Panoma Publishers UK).
During this decade I have met many amazing people from all around the world. By attending networking events in London, Copenhagen, Brussels and many other cities, I had the chance to meet many top-class networkers who inspired me. Some of them became close friends, most of them are just a phone call away.
When I joined LinkedIn, it was not much more than a large collection of resumes. In the next years it became the largest and most important professional online network. I have joined many other networks since, but LinkedIn is also for me the most important professional network. In general this is a network where you only connect with people you have met in person. I believe in proactive networking, so I also accept invites of people I haven’t met. I try to meet as many of them as possible on the next networking events I attend. In the past 10 years I have connected with 10.374 people on LinkedIn, connecting me to a network of almost 25 million professionals. I always try to meet up with at least 75% of my direct contacts. Meeting up in person leverages the quality of the relationship.
My networking adventures have inspired me to keep on spreading the message to small business owners around the world. With my books, presentations and workshops I try to help them make better use of social media for their business. Lots of people have inspired and encouraged me to do this. A very big “thank you” to a few people in special : Hendrik Deckers, Thomas Power, PennyPower OBE and Louis Gray. Without them I wouldn’t be doing this today.
I’m really looking forward to the next 10 years. Please join me for another amazing ride !