Chykalophia Logo Color

5 Networking Tips for Women of Color Entrepreneurs

Is your network truly your net worth? Regardless, business owners and entrepreneurs are often on the lookout for networking tips, even more so those that belong to minority groups such as womenpreneurs; black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC); and women of color.

Our CEO and Head of Strategy, Ari Krzyzek, is one of them.

More than ten years ago, she immigrated from Bali, Indonesia to the States and started a business that is Chykalophia today. Along the way, she faced challenges that she had never imagined before — something that minority, women of color still face even today as entrepreneurs.

In his book E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work & What to Do About It, Michael E. Gerber mentioned that a business owner usually has three distinct personalities:

  • The entrepreneur: The visionary. The creative mind that brings the business forward.
  • The manager: The organized character. The one that keeps the business running.
  • The technician: The doer. The one that actually executes the business operations.

In Ari’s case, her technician self was a digital designer. Starting her career in Bali as a digital designer, she lacked the managerial and entrepreneurial skills to actually run our agency. A further challenge presented itself as Ari knew not a single soul in the industry to connect with, learn from, and make her way into the network she needed to establish our agency.

To add fuel to the fire, networking became even more difficult due to the fact that Ari is a minority — a woman of color, to be precise.

Why networking is crucial for women of color entrepreneurs

In recent years, minority-owned businesses only make up 18% of the population and women-led startups only received 2.3% of VC funding in 2020. So with less funding available, women of color and BIPOC entrepreneurs need to be extra creative in finding ways to grow their businesses.

One foolproof method to try is networking. And this is what Ari did in her early business days.

5 networking tips for women of color and BIPOC entrepreneurs

Below are five networking tips for women of color and BIPOC entrepreneurs that you can start doing today — tried and tested by Ari.

1. Start online

To help you get started, you can check online women of color groups like NAWBO, HeyMama, The Entreprenista League, and The 10th House. Or you can also look at these LinkedIn groups and decide which ones might be great for you:

2. Attend one-on-one meetings

Instead of jumping into big networking events with dozens of participants, Ari recommends starting slow. Big events can be intimidating and exhausting if you know no one.

At this point, you should have connected with one person or two from the online groups or communities. Send them a message and invite them for a coffee or brunch where you two can talk more closely.

3. Refrain from hard-selling yourself

When seeing your new connection in person for the first time, don’t dominate the conversations. Ask your new friend how things are going, what they’re trying to achieve, if you can be of any help, and other topics along these lines.

Let the business talk flow naturally. And don’t limit your conversations to business talk only. Consider this meeting is for building friendships and not solely for work purposes.

4. Join a course or masterclass

By joining a class, you get to meet people with the same interests, who are at a similar learning level as you. Having all these things in common, it’s easier to make new friends while gaining more knowledge.

Some courses are conducted weekly, others twice a week, while the intensive classes can take place every weekday. Choose which ones suit your schedule and your investment budget.

5. Find a mentor

A mentor teaches you the best practices of your chosen profession and also guides you when you’re at a crossroads, on the verge of going off track, and can’t see the big picture.

Plus, your mentor has other mentees, not just you. Chances are he or she will introduce you when there are potential collaborations and opportunities, so you get new connections!

Networking tips don’t work unless you do

Ari didn’t really have any networking tips at the start of her career. She had to try things hands-on and experiment to see what worked and what didn’t. But you don’t have to do this the hard way like she did. Use these networking tips as a shortcut to establish your businesses and yourselves as women of color entrepreneurs.

Subscribe to our bi-weekly, 1-minute read newsletter below to get more networking tips, business tips for women of color, branding, and website insights. And share these networking tips with your fellow womenpreneurs to help a sister out!

This 5 Networking Tips for Women of Color Entrepreneurs article was originally published on SheVenturesPodcast.

Sign up for our Next Draft newsletter

Get our top branding, UX and website resources for your business straight to your inbox.

Resources Page Mega Email Signup

This will add you to our Next Draft list where we send out useful content around branding, marketing, and all things website that help inspire growth for you and your business. Of course you can unsubscribe anytime.

Get started on a branding or website project with us.

GET ON A CALLBook a brand, ux, or web audit