Building Your Personal Board of Directors and Starting from Scratch with Jonaed Iqbal
Updated: Sep 25, 2022
Jonaed has more than 36K followers on LinkedIn at the time of writing this! Yes, he is the founder of NoDegree.com and a podcaster (among a long list of other talents), but actually, he attributes it to always being a networker.
In my about-to-be-released book "Starting from Scratch," I talk about the Personal Board of Directors and the importance of having one.
What is a Personal Board of Directors?
Your Personal Board of Directors is a group of people you enlist to support you, mentor you, help you find things you need, teach you things, help you solve problems, give you honest advice, and update you on the latest information in your company, future company you wish to work for and your field. And that's just a partial list. They don't have to be your best friends (most of mine are not) or your family. These are people whom you bring into your life, or relationships you nurture, for the specific purpose of obtaining advice, inspiration, and or support.
With such a vast amount of followers, Jonaed caught my attention - I was wondering who does he go to help and advice, and how can one network well to recruit and build their Personal Board of Directors.
According to Jonaed, networking needs to focus on helping others: "be intentional, strategic and willing to help others and seeds will be planted for them to give back when you need them as well." Jonaed has tons of examples when people helped him with advice or even offered their services for free because he supported them years back. "They saw my action to share good advice, make an introduction or help them with something more technical as if I invested in their success, so when I needed help, they are always there for me too."
Jonaed's Tips for Getting Started
Getting that not everyone is an extrovert (I definitely am not), and the idea of reaching out to an ex-boss or someone you look up to and asking them for help may sound scary or awkward, so I requested Jonaed to share his special tips and unpack how he suggests starting to build your network.
Don't reach out when you need something. Build a relationship first, listen to one's story. If they helped you - ask how you can be of help as well. It doesn't need to happen immediately but stay in touch.
Being an introvert doesn't mean you aren't friendly or lack social skills to network. It just means that it takes more energy from yourself to network, and that's OK, so start with closer friend circles.
Cold outreach isn't always awkward, and sometimes the other side appreciates it and doesn't think you are awkward - don't over judge yourself.
Don't make cold outreach "too cold". Be smart and research the person. Start on LinkedIn. If they write a blog read it, if they have a podcast, listen to it. People will be excited to get on a call with you if your interest is genuine.
Build your community. Whatever your interests or hobbies are there are plenty of clubs, groups and people to follow on Twitter or Discord to connect and learn from. Having a mutual interest that's an easy first way to start connecting.