Like so many things, networking feels like a lot of work for very little result when you're first starting out. I have a friend who has been in her new financial planning business for less than a year. She's got a terrific, positive attitude, but sometimes feels like she'd doing a lot of work with little to show for it. Sometimes, she thinks she's not doing it right. She is, of course, but the feeling that you're working away for nothing can be tough to fight.
I reminded her the other day that I have been active in our business community for about 17 years! Of course it looks like I had a fabulous network spring up out of nowhere when I started working for the Chamber, but it was the culmination of patient relationship-building that seemed to grow almost imperceptibly sometimes.
But the last five years, and especially the last 12 months, have felt like the exponential side of the curve. My network seems to grow rapidly and almost effortlessly, but it's because of the compounding of many years of background work, combined with a deliberate cultivation of my networking skills.
Don't let the early stages discourage you. Motivate yourself by thinking ahead to the day when the compounding of your efforts really begin to show. I can tell you, it feels great!