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My name is Louisa deason, and I got started with Network in Action as a member of Network Connection in the Memorial area in Houston, Texas.
I've been very, very tired of networking the wrong way. When I entered Network in Action, I realized it was a whole different, like the next level with people and business owners who were making decisions about their businesses, helping close bigger sales. So, what attracted me to Network in Action was that I was dealing with people who could make decisions right away, and I was dealing with technology that allowed me to not spend so much time at networking events but rather be a lot more intentional and purposeful about the relationships I was building within that Network.
So, one of the things that attracted me to Network in Action was I'd been networking most of my life, but I was networking the wrong way. The wrong way for me in creating businesses and trying to build them successfully in sales was always trying to go to networking events with a multitude of people. People who were just interested in drinking or picking up business cards, and that would happen to me. But then I'd get home and I'd go, "What was the point and purpose of picking up this individual's card?"
What I started realizing is that the moment you start getting together with the right people and talking about the right things that happen in business, and you connect with like-minded people, it becomes a lot more intentional and purposeful so that you can close that sale. And that's exactly what I was looking for. Network Connection has worked for me, not only as a prior member of Network in Action but now as a franchise owner two years in. I can tell you that we're making a real difference in the way that people network today.
Would I do this all over again with Network in Action? Absolutely. I've never been more impressed with a platform and a group and an organization of like-minded individuals that actually take the time to really look forward to helping others so greatly in their sales.
The training that Network in Action has offered me as a franchise owner has been absolutely wonderful. This is not something that I have to kind of guess and try to figure out on my own. I'm going to apply things that I think work best for my particular groups. But at the end of the day, the training has been phenomenal. The technology platform that we use and the things that continue to be added, not just for franchise owners but for the members of my own organization, is unlike anything that we've ever experienced before. There are no competitors out there with Network Connection.
I'd have to say that the first tip that I would suggest to anybody looking at purchasing a Network in Action franchise is, do you and have you lived in your area long enough to really wrap yourself around the idea of creating power teams within your groups? And I'm not talking about power groups with people who are successful in business. Maybe you have people who are hungry in business. The thing that I would focus on is, do you have someone interested in creating the wealth and creating the relationships that ultimately will last a lifetime with Network in Action.
Franchise Owner at Network In Action, Cathryn runs three highly engaged NIA Groups in the Greater Seattle area. She is empowered to create a strong business community that is committed to growth and support. Cathryn was the first to bring the franchise to Washington state.
I moved to Seattle in January of 2021. A week after I got here, I had purchased the franchise and was calling people to build out my groups. I didn’t know a soul in the area, other than my husband and one friend (neither of whom were joining), and we were still moving through the whole COVID situation. I was only going to do one group, but after two weeks of calling people, I already had a waiting list for the second group and realized I needed two groups. So, I built out two groups at the same time. I launched the first one in March of 2021 and the second one in April of 2021. At that point here, dining was still limited to 20 percent occupancy because of COVID restrictions. So, we couldn’t have in-person networking events. It was definitely an interesting time, but I don’t regret it. Then, in October of 2021, I felt the need to start a virtual group for the greater Seattle area. I was really hesitant about it because, don’t let the word get out, but I don’t like networking virtually. But then I realized I’m not the one networking virtually—I’m the one running those groups, and I definitely feel comfortable doing that. I started building out that group in November and launched it in January—and, wow, am I glad I did that. My virtual group has taught me some really interesting things. One, they taught me that virtual networking absolutely does work, and their engagement and commitment to the group has been really awesome to see.
That’s actually something I have pondered quite a bit. I have attended other virtual networking groups to meet other people and build out my own, and I honestly hate those meetings. I really just do not enjoy virtual networking in general. So, I asked myself, “What is so different about my virtual group that my members are enjoying it and seeing really fruitful relationships and business come out of it?” I realized it’s the fact that most of these virtual networking events you can go to, people can just pop in; there’s no membership, or there’s maybe a pay-as-you-go fee. That means you never see the same people again. The reason most people are attending is really just to sell to you and be done, not necessarily to build a super long-term relationship. I think that’s what’s so different about ours—we have this core group of people who are committed to helping each other grow, and they’re in it together. I think the second piece of it is our professional leadership. I’m invested in making sure our agendas are high quality for the participants, that they attend, that they do interact with one another. In a lot of other virtual groups, you’re not going to get as high touch with that.
You and I had worked together on franchise development for a year before I ever started my franchise, but really it was the pandemic that made me want to start this because, over that year, I got to know franchise owners who were already doing this in the middle of the pandemic. I saw the impact they were having in their local communities and how some businesses truly wouldn’t have stayed in business if it weren’t for those relationships they had in Network In Action. So, when I realized we were moving to the Seattle area and that there wasn’t an NIA franchise in the entire state, I knew I wanted to bring that here.
It’s a ten, just for the personal impact it’s made on me. Without my franchise, I wouldn’t have the connections I do in the Seattle area today, and I most likely wouldn’t be a business owner. For the business owners in my network, gosh—just to hear their stories and about some of the connections they’ve made, it’s humbling. One of my members had been in the insurance world for a significant amount of time but never was a business owner. When I met her, she was with a company and working as an independent agent. She joined my NIA group and was really excited about it. Then, within a month or two, she actually decided to leave the company she was contracting with and start her own agency. That was a big jump for her. Fast forward a year, and she says she no longer has to buy leads and all of her business comes through referrals and through the relationships that she’s made through networking and through Network In Action. That’s really impactful—especially for me to know that I was able to impact her business.
I host all of my meetings in the same week each month, so as long as I’m here the second week of every month, I can really take care of everything else remotely. I can meet with people over Zoom, I can attend events over Zoom—it’s very flexible and allows me to be able to travel and take those vacations when I want.
I feel like there’ s been an interesting transition in networking. It seems like during the pandemic, everything went virtual, obviously, because we had to. Since then, there’s been some floundering in the networking community because people really do want to meet in person—I don’t think that’ll ever go away—but they’ve gone back to doing it exactly how they did in- person before the pandemic, which doesn’t necessarily always work for people. I think you need to be able to offer some type of both in-person and virtual opportunities for people to meet their needs and suit their schedules because many of them can no longer put in the time or the drive time, or maybe their schedules have changed. It’s important to have options; whether it’s an in- person group or a virtual group, meet their needs. I think people are tired of meaningless networking that isn’t really engaging or fruitful. As leaders in the space, we need to be really thoughtful and creative when it comes to why we’re actually bringing those people together and never lose sight of our purpose.
There are so many reasons. One, you need that community of resources. Whether you’re looking to grow your business or not, your clients are going to have needs; you personally, as a business owner, are going to have needs that you can’t meet on your own. It’s so important to have that network of people that you trust and that you know and that you want to do business with so you can tap into that resource, whether it’s for yourself or for your clients. I find that entrepreneurship and being a business owner can be lonely sometimes. You might have staff, but they’re not your co-workers. It’s really nice to be able to go into a space where you can share and be completely open and really be able to help patch through things that you’re wanting to focus on. To be able to have that communication and connection with those people makes a huge impact.
Honestly, my favorite is our professional leadership. It is a game changer. That person is financially invested in the success of the group because it is their business. They are hand-selecting their members. Do we get it right every time? No, but we’re always working to improve that so that we’re truly building a robust group of business owners who want to help each other. I get to work with people I like because I’m going out into the community and actually finding business owners who I think are doing really cool things to impact the community or providing a service that’s really needed out there—and then I get to bring those people together once a month. What would you say to someone who owns another company or business and are thinking about buying a Network In Action franchise? I would say that the Network In Action franchise pairs perfectly with your existing business because, one, it’s a really fantastic place for you to network. It really makes sense with what you’re already doing as a pair or add-on for your services, especially if you’re in the consulting or service-based industry serving within that B2B landscape. But make sure you have the time because you do need to be able to spend enough time to get your groups built out. You don’t want to try to start two businesses at the same time; make sure that other business is okay first.
I think it’s a great opportunity if you are looking to leave corporate. You’re going to be able to take so many of those things that you probably had in corporate America and offer them to small businesses that don’t usually have access to those same things. So, it’s a really nice transition. I had already segued out of corporate America, but I was actually struggling to find my fit before I found NIA. I knew things I wanted to offer and how I wanted to do that—I did have a consulting business and I did have some clients—but I was really trying to figure out how to scale that. The NIA franchise filled in all of those holes for me. You just obviously have to understand that when you purchase a franchise, you’re starting a business. Make sure you can financially stay afloat while you build out that business. However, the nice thing is that you do get a pretty quick return on investment if you follow the model to build out your group, especially if you’re doing it full-time.
Follow the model. There’s a reason it’s a franchise. Don’t get overwhelmed by small, minute details that aren’t going to build out your group. Don’t get bogged down trying to find the absolute best solution or technology or process out there. All those things are already at your fingertips and there for you. Build out your groups, get them really well established, and then go back and start to refine your processes or look for the next coolest technology that you want to use to make it faster and easier.
I’m not sure there is anything I would do different, but there was definitely a lesson learned of something I wouldn’t do different: Remember that anytime you get a no from a prospect, it just means someone better is around the corner. Don’t stress about it. You don’t need the sale—you need the right person, and the members will appreciate that. They’re not counting people in the room. They’re interested in the quality of the work that you bring. One of my newer members made the comment to me, “Wow, it’s amazing how quickly people trust each other in here. The members are so open to already meeting with me, and they just met me. I’ve never felt that in any other group before. Usually, people are really hesitant to go on a one-on-one with you or have a coffee with you right away if they don’t know that much about you.”
Connector, supporter, and business grower, Jennifer’s driving force is helping business owners make meaningful connections, expand their referral base, and surpass their financial goals. She runs three NIA groups in Houston, Texas.
I love this question. I know it sounds corny, but my why is that I love to help people. When I make an introduction that works and people make their business stronger, that’s the reason I get out of bed in the morning. Before I put my feet on the floor every single morning, I’m asking, Who can I help today? What difference can I make today? Whose business can I help today? That is such a great, satisfying, motivating factor. I just want to help people; I want to make a difference. It’s a passion of mine. I get goosebumps thinking about it.
Before NIA, I was a realtor, and the best part of being a real estate agent was networking. In fact, I loved networking so much I launched a BNI Chapter—another networking organization— and was president of that chapter for about two years. I loved forming and managing the group, but it was purely a volunteer situation. I must have spent at least twenty-five hours a week running the chapter but never saw any income from that. After my terms were done, it was time to step back and re-evaluate what I wanted to do. I started to think, I’ve got to be able to make a living at this and turn it into a real business. I just wanted to do something I wanted to do. I’m fifty-four, and I just wanted to have a good time and love what I do every time I put my feet on the floor in the morning. Then somebody that we both know introduced me to you. I must say the world works in mysterious ways. You always have to be open and ready for an introduction and open to the possibilities. After I talked to you and learned more about Network In Action, I knew in my heart and my gut that I could do this—that I have to do this. It’s hard work—I’m on the phone or at appointments all day—but I’m loving it. I love meeting people and connecting them with each other.
Other than getting paid well, I think the main difference is that I’m the membership committee, I’m the voting committee, I’m the recruiting committee, I make the final decision—good or bad—about who’s going to be in the group. Personally, I think I have a knack for that. I’m a Pisces, and I can tell pretty much 99 percent of the time if somebody is going to be a good fit or not— and not everybody is a good fit. Sometimes that’s a tough call, but you have to do what’s best for the group as a whole.
I think the most exclusive difference is the guaranteed ROI. What other networking group does this? I don’t know of anyone, and I’m out there a lot. That makes it a no-brainer. People literally have nothing to lose. Where else can you say that?
I’m absolutely living my best life. I’m having the most fun and really doing what I love, love, love to do—connecting people and helping their businesses grow. I’ve got three to five appointments a day, so I’m out of the house meeting people, having coffees and lunches, networking, going to events—I just go to everything I can because you never know who you’re going to meet and how that will help someone. I’m not just going out to recruit members—I’m also there representing the members who are already in my groups. Unlike other networking organizations, this is my full-time job and I’m working for my members. I’m out meeting people so I can make introductions that make their businesses stronger. I’ve got boots on the ground when they don’t have time to do that.
I tell my husband all day, “Oh, this person did that, and this person did this—here are all the success stories that people have experienced!” My group is only five months old and 99 percent of the members have already made their membership fee back— some by tens of thousands of dollars. A dear friend of mine who is a member has new clients she would have never met before, and her business is picking up. I also have a member who has gotten clients and she’s doing videos and hosting speaking engagements at seminars. My favorite story is that my new member gained four new clients during one happy hour event. As you can see, my members are just doing really well, and we’re all having so much fun.
I think COVID taught us that we really do need each other. We need human interaction; whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, we need to be together. We thrive on that, some more than others. But I think the future is that we’re building relationships—especially with NIA. This isn’t about tracking numbers or tracking dots or counting anything. This is about building long-lasting, beneficial relationships; and with beneficial relationships comes business. That’s how it works. I think that’s the model that we’re living in. In every meeting, we are a thriving group built on kindness, love, and support. That’s where business will come from—those three main components.
It will change your bottom lines drastically. When you go into a group, you’ve got a built-in marketing team, you’ve got a built- in mastermind team, you’ve got a built-in sales strategy team, all in one group. It’s amazing! You don’t have to go and do the hard work or the hard sell; just be yourself. From that, you will build relationships and those people will be your support team. Through thick or thin, they will be there for you. It will make a huge difference in your business, no matter what it is. If you’re a lawyer or a doctor or a vet or a mortgage person or a realtor—it will make a tremendous impact. Don’t be afraid to show up; people will take care of you.
Do it! Don’t waste another day of opportunity; join a group now. I mean this from the bottom of my heart, you will not find a better networking organization. I can speak truthfully about that because I attend many events, but nothing compares to NIA. Don’t be afraid of the price. It will pay for itself—tenfold, twenty-fold, a hundredfold—if you show up and build relationships. Even if you’re an introvert, you will succeed here.
The freedom of time is very much my own, so I give it a 10- plus. I have the flexibility of traveling with my husband. In fact, I’ve already had a vacation or two since I started owning my franchise. I worked on vacation for a couple hours—it never, never turns off—but I have the flexibility to work anywhere, and I love the work, so I do a lot of it.
It might be cliché to say the sky is the limit, but it really is, though. The earning potential of owning my franchise puts the control in my hands, and the potential is endless. In real estate, I was at the mercy of buyers and sellers who could be very fickle—but not here. I have control of when, what, and how money comes in. It’s all up to me and the effort I put in. And believe me, I’m going to do very well.
I’m not just saying this, but I think one hundred. That’s the best part of this. The money is important; I appreciate that. Time, flexibility—it’s important. But giving back to my community is the most important thing to me. It’s beyond satisfying to know that we’re changing lives, changing the trajectory of families— we’re paying for college educations, we’re creating sound nest eggs, and we’re giving people freedom that they may not have had otherwise. And besides, I’m too old; I wouldn’t do this if it didn’t make that kind of difference.
I wouldn’t rely on my warm leads. Once you’ve given prospects the opportunity, that’s it. Keep moving, keep moving, keep moving. If they’re interested, they’ll catch up with you. And they usually do!
Do it! Your life will never be the same, and I mean that in the most positive way. If you’re ready to take your future into your own hands, make a very good salary, meet amazing people, and make a huge difference in the lives of those in your community, then now is the time to invest in a NIA franchise.
A Network In Action franchise owner and running three groups out of Meridian, Idaho, Scott is a successful speaker, trainer, and two-time author of books on marketing and sales. Scott has an unwavering passion for helping others succeed in business and life.
Well, family first. I married my college sweetheart, which is probably one of the best things that’s happened to me. She’s like my soulmate, and we have adopted two children. Besides that, I tell people that I love helping people. That’s how I got involved in Network In Action. I just love connecting people and helping people out, and that kind of dovetails right into the sales I’ve been in. Right out of college, I stumbled into running two restaurants as Assistant General Manager. One day, a couple of customers, a husband and wife, said, “You need to be in sales.”
I said, “Well, bring your bosses in!”
And sure enough, one of them did. The boss interviewed me in the restaurant, and the next thing you know, they moved me to Portland, Oregon, and I’m in sales. I was there for a year and then Seattle for two years. Then I moved back to Boise, Idaho, and got back into sales again. So, I’m a sales junkie. A lot of people really like to do something. For some people, it’s golf. They get really into it, they know a lot about it, they watch it, and they follow it. And that’s how I am with sales. I just am obsessed with how it’s done—and also how it’s not done properly in a lot of places. I’m always trying to find ways to do things in a more buyer-centric way.
I just got to the point in my life where I wanted to control my own destiny. People always say, “Go to work for yourself,” but startups have a terrible failure rate—like 90 percent. But franchises have roughly an 85 percent success rate. So, I decided to go for a franchise; they have a proven model.
It’s just trying to make the world a better place. A lot of people say that, but I really am. In my referral groups, I’m always trying to help people out. Of course I give them referrals and stuff, but also in other ways. For instance, if a member’s kid needs to get a job, I might coach that teenager on how to get a job. I’m just always looking for ways to help people. If people run into challenges with medical bills, that’s something I’ve been through before, so I can coach them on some resources that help get through that. In the last five years, I’ve helped people get rid of about $200,000 in medical bills, just as a friend, because I’m really passionate about helping people out with their healthcare challenges.
So, that’s my biggest why—just trying to make the world a better place. I like to take complex things and then try to figure them out, such as trying to get healthcare figured out or B2B sales figured out. I’m just really passionate about figuring out a better way to do things. That’s one of the biggest things that keeps pushing me. I’m constantly coming into new opportunities where someone needs help, and I’m trying to figure out how I can help. I can’t always help—but I’m always trying to find a way to try.
I think the future of networking is going to be very active, like it is right now. I just think it’s going to expand into different platforms. There are a lot of different ways to do it. Network In Action is even now starting to do it online, too. I’m really connected on LinkedIn, but most of my group here in the Treasure Valley, Boise, Idaho-Metro area still want the old-fashioned, shake-hands type of thing. That’s super important to them. So, there are a lot of ways to do networking that work. Personally, I can’t believe how many people who have helped me write my book who are friends I made online with LinkedIn. They’re all over the country, even all over the world. And I tell you, we have real friendships.
Just the other day, I had somebody review my book. It was someone I’ve never met in person. We only connected through DMs so he could do the review for me. And before he read the book, he said, “You know something, Scott? This is weird, but I feel like we’ve been best friends for over a year.” So, the future of networking, I think, is going to be diverse, but it will be a kind of hybrid. I think you’re still going to have the steady and true face-to-face; I think you’re going to have some who are just going to go straight virtual; and some are going to have mixed roots, part of the time with face-to-face and other parts hybrid. Networking is not going to go away.
A perfect example is in the B2B world right now. There’s so much noise out there. If you’re looking for a product to help your company out, and let’s say it’s a product that costs in the thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars a month, you are going to go and ask your network what they think before you buy. You ask your friends and business associates who you know can weigh in on this. That’s all networking. I get people asking me all the time what I think about this product or that service. These are people who often have nothing to do with my formal networking group—but them asking me is still about networking.
I’ve met a lot of people who think, Been there, done that. I have a guy right now who is a new EOS implementer. I met with him, and he’s a super sharp guy with a great resume. Of course, I’m looking to see if he might want to join my NIA group, maybe come and visit, but I also want to sincerely help him where I can. I asked him, “Who are you looking for?” I helped him with a marketing plan. I helped him out where I could. He said he’s never had somebody give more over lunch. And that really speaks to what networking can do for you and your business.
I will give another quick example of this. Within my groups, I have a banker named Charlie, and I have a Property and Casualty Company. The Property and Casualty Company bought an existing bank as their new office building. They had a line of banks and credit unions wanting to buy it from them, but because of the relationships we build in the group—which is the true power of networking—the Casualty Company said, “Nope. Charlie’s bank is gonna get it because we have a relationship with him in NIA.” Charlie got that deal, and he jokes with me and says his bank owes me $2 million from that deal because he didn’t have to build a bank; his bank was able to just move in and be a tenant. But really, he’s not the only one who got a deal. Charlie told me he signed a ten-year lease with the Property and Casualty Company, which will pay for that building over the lifetime of that lease. It’s a win-win. Those types of relationships are cool. Referrals are always the key, and we really try to push them, but there are so many other types of great business transactions outside of those that come with networking.
I tell people all the time that one of our key differences is that we’re not volunteers—we’re run by professionals. You can have the best volunteers running a group, but that volunteer has another job. They can’t commit to your success. As a franchise owner, I’ve bought into this—I have a stake in my members’ successes. It’s the same for all the franchise owners I’ve talked to; we’re all committed to our groups. Every week, us franchise owners have a Monday meeting. We all get on as a group, and we’re all talking about our challenges and how to attract the best people. Overall, we’re always trying to figure out ways to be better at leading our groups. Another difference is the abundance mindset that we’re attracting. The first time I had my first two groups meet together, I knew there was going to be a bunch of competitors in the room, since we’re each category-specific. But to this day, I cannot believe what’s happening in my groups. For instance, I have three business attorneys in the group, and when we get together, they’re all making fun of each other, and they’ve all done business with each other. One of them even tried to recruit one of the others to work for him, but he said no. But when the first attorney’s tenant moved out, he went back to the guy he was trying to recruit and said, “Hey, you guys are looking to be on the east side of the Treasure Valley. You guys should move in here.”
And so, that attorney and his partners came over to look at the building, then said, “You know something? How about we buy the building from you and you’ll be our tenant?” And that’s what happened. That’s all from the luncheon! It really speaks to the caliber of people we bring in. They’re great people and great givers. The caliber of people we bring in truly have an abundance mindset. Even people with partial business overlaps and competition can still get past that and just see where they can help each other out. It’s amazing.
I would tell them to take a look at it. This model fits into what you’re doing anyway. Business coaches are the easiest example of this, but it’s true for any business owner. With NIA, you can just monetize a piece of what you’re already doing.
Oh, absolutely look into it. What I like about it is that it’s super low-expense. It comes with a framework of how to get restaurants to let you in for free so that when you run your meetings, all you have to pay for is some drinks. I work out of my house, and I’ve got to drive to the meetings and coffees. If I meet someone for lunch, everyone’s buying their own lunch, so there’s no real expense there. I don’t need a bunch of employees; I can take care of it myself. I like being a solopreneur and having low expenses.
A few months ago, I made a post on social media about wanting to go to Hawaii. So, you challenged me to figure out how many new members it would take to pay for me to take that trip with my family. We figured out it would take adding fifteen members. I committed to do that in three months—five new members a month. Really, it was more about the game than it was about the money. But I did it. And I’m taking that trip with my kids and my wife next year.
It’s really just up to you going out and talking to people and trying to get them to come into the groups. My big thing is that I try to sell the group. I used to just want people to sign up without visiting a group, especially if I was building out a group. But now I have pretty good success once the business owner comes by and visits the group because it sells itself.
That’s really what I love about it. When I first looked at the franchise, my wife said, “You’re already doing this anyway.” For me, I was already connecting people because I love doing it. So, again, all I did was take a piece of what I was already doing and monetize it and make some money at it. The NIA model helped me build a model to make that happen. Now, it’s just me getting up every day just doing what I love. It’s what I’ve always done, but now I make a living doing it.