[su_youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3e2Zng-4m8″]

This interview with Tim Owens was before COVID-19 hit how we network, but the principles of how you connect and build relationships are still the same. You must be authentic, ask people to a lot of coffees, and get out there! Part of networking is also to find people that you can partner and collaborate with to mutually grow each other’s businesses.

Tim Owens:
Sure, yeah. My name’s Tim Owens. I’m, I guess, a serial entrepreneur. I found out very young that I like to do things on my own and create things and build things. So I did create a cross-generational business platform in San Diego. A lot of people call it a networking group, I call it a connecting group. And there’s about 200 members here and we’ve been doing it … Actually, we’re going to be hitting our fifth year as a private membership community. And again, it’s called Life Lounge, San Diego.

Reb Risty:
Yeah. Yeah. That’s how we met. We were just talking earlier, a lot of times in marketing, everyone is always talking about digital and social and SEO, but there’s a lot of opportunity on the offline with marketing that should be part of your marketing mix. So, when you started Life Lounge, tell us a little bit what was your motivation to do that.

Connecting people is what Tim loves to do

Yeah, totally. I’ve always just loved connecting people and connecting the dots for people. For me, it kind of just started by accident, and it was fun just to go, “Oh, there’s an investor and there’s someone with a startup. Let’s just connect them and kind of stir the pot and see what happens.” And that was really the basis for it and really the motivation for it. And I always thought it would be neat to belong to a really cool group, like Skull and Bones or something like that. But I could never get in there, so let me create something for that. But really the purpose of it is that the members connect with one another and we help each other grow, and I think it is really integral to business is having the personal relationships. And one of the things I’m always telling members or telling people is that it’s, for me, super important just to be able to pick up a phone and make some phone calls and not have to do dog and pony show to get things accomplished

Offline is all about relationships

Tim Owens:
So that’s a key thing, but that’s totally offline and it’s all about relationships. So a lot of my marketing is done just through referral basis and through the relationships that I have and that members have or other people in my extended network have, and just nurturing that along the way so you can accomplish things a lot faster because you have the resources.

Reb Risty:
Yeah. Yeah. No, I think that’s important. And what I love about Life Lounge is that you have kind of made it an exclusive community where a lot of other organizations, which are great, but you’ve got 500, 1000 members, and you rarely know any of them. And Life Lounge too, you have a different format, which is a little more fun with having events at the mansions and bringing in really cool sponsors. Is there a way you can talk about how members are really using Life Lounge? Over the five years, how has it grown?

Networking is like dating

Tim Owens:
Yeah. I think the members get the fact that it’s about … Because I’m always hammering that messaging, it’s about connecting and creating relationships. For me, relationships, there’s a process. There’s always a process in a relationship and it’s just like dating. So I’ll always use that metaphor as it’s dating. You meet somebody, whether it’s a client for the first time or it’s a prospective member, and there’s a process that you go through. You meet for coffee. You decide, “Okay, do we like each other enough to have lunch?” And then it progresses and just like any relationship progresses.

Tim Owens:
When I used to coach sales teams on performance and other things, that was a big issue because they’re getting their numbers driven and I get that, but what they don’t understand is that there’s a process in a relationship and it’s so inappropriate to go and meet someone for the first time and drop to one knee and ask them to get married. It’s crazy. It’s ridiculous. So business is the same way. You have to have those relationships in place, but you want to be able, too, to compress time, especially if it’s not a transactional sell.

Reb Risty:
That’s a good analogy. I think dating, we all love to date. What would be maybe some of your best advice from your other businesses and running Life Lounge for somebody who’s interested? Maybe they’re a new business owner, they just started a business, or they’re an upcoming executive. How do they know what groups to get involved with and where to start in the process?

The Super Train

Tim Owens:
Yeah. So for me, I like to use another analogy. I called it a metaphor before, but another analogy is a Super Train. So I call them Super Trains in your industry, people that are already servicing and selling to those customers, and it doesn’t have to be an actual sell. If you’re a new executive in a company, it could be who’s a Super Train in your organization that you can add a value piece to it, a value add onto their Super Train. And what I mean is that, especially if you’re starting a new company, a lot of entrepreneurs go out there and they figure they have to go out and build their own train track, they have to build their own trains, and all this stuff. But that takes so much effort and so much time that you’re not focused on delivering the value to whoever your ideal client is because you’re trying to figure out that piece of how do I build a train track? How do I build a train so I can get there?

So I look for the Super Trains, people that are already servicing. So who can you go to as a strategic alliance or a strategic partner and create some kind of value add that can just hook onto their train. So I’m just going to slam my car on the back of your caboose, and now you are also making them look better to their clients because they have a piece of business that they couldn’t offer or a service they couldn’t offer before. So find who the Super Trains are in your industry, add a value piece to whatever they’re doing, and that’ll get you there a lot faster. It’ll compress the time it takes.

Reb Risty:
Yeah. I like that. I think you’re right, because as an entrepreneur, you do get so overwhelmed with everything that you’re supposed to be doing and you’re trying to do. Yeah, trying to find resources that can just help you accelerate and not reinvent the wheel or build the train. That’s a good one.

Tim Owens:
Yeah. And same with Life Lounge. I hope that’s always the goal. The intention is that the members, we’ve got the train. Hopefully, they come in with a give, and with that give, they’ll receive. And then if you’re looking for a group, maybe you’re in New York, who knows, Timbuktu, it’s just finding those groups that have those Super Trains with it, those influencers in them.

What’s the best way to meet someone

Reb Risty:
Yeah. Great. Maybe one last tip. If you are new to a group, what have you found that works to kind of break in? You’re always a little nervous. You don’t know where to start. Have you found there’s a trick or a tip that works for people?

Tim Owens:
I just say just be totally transparent, totally honest, and ask everybody out for coffee dates and start building the relationships. Some will stick and some won’t. And who cares? Just stay true to yourself, true to your path, whatever you’re doing or creating, and just ask everybody out in an inappropriate manner.

Reb Risty:
Right. Lots of coffee. Well, cool. Thanks, Tim. This was really great. Like we said in the beginning, I think a lot of times marketing is so focused on the digital and social, which is important, but it’s really these offline marketing tactics and strategies that have helped me grow my business, and I know my clients as well. And I love being part of Life Lounge. You’ve made some really great connections for me, and it’s a great group and I’m glad to see it’s growing.

Tim Owens:
Well, thank you very much. The piece about the digital, too, is that’s just another way to break in, to get into that relationship. So it’s all part of a big overall strategy. So companies definitely use the online stuff because that’s just the iceberg. It gets you in the door. It gets you to. And so going back to the analogy, people meet and have relationships from dating sites. It’s the same thing.

Reb Risty:
Right. That’s true.

Tim Owens:
That’s why I love that analogy, because it just covers everything.

Yeah. The website really, lifeloungesandiego.com. Just lifeloungesandiego.com, one word.