017: Adding meaning to your networking with Jason Mueller

Using his background in business operations, financial projections, and business canvasing, Jason Mueller has been professionally coaching for over 6 years in the areas of career and business. His clients have ranged from college students to mid career level professionals. With over 20 years experience in manufacturing, distribution, retail and education he always says he's been blessed with many challenges and successes that made him the advisor he is today. Owner of JasonEMueller.com, he also writes about business and careers on his site.    


Can you talk to me a little more about what the Small Business Development Center is and what you’re doing on JasonEMueller.com?

·         “The Small Business Development Center is a collection of advisors and consultants that offer consulting and education services across the nation. On JasonEMueller.com I write about a lot of different things; training, development, gaining skills. I always try to relate experiences to real life practical skills.”

Share with us one of your best networking stories

·         “Some of the best things happen out of the blue and you don’t really see it. I met with a director for an organization to discuss a grant I was working on and we ended up meeting for coffee here in Milwaukee. From that alone, we were able to create a really good partnership that’s lasted 6 years from just a random email.


What is the biggest challenge you’ve encountered in networking?

·         “The biggest challenge is probably starting off. Back in the turn of the recession, I had left a job that I was working and I went off to start something on the side and I actually hired a career coach to help me star these things. At that time I realized I really didn’t have much of a network and I needed to start building that and I had no idea where to start.”


How does networking differ starting out versus when you’re in it for a while?

·         “When you’re starting out, it’s hard because you have a lot of questions and a small understanding of what works well. When you finally get established you gain that understanding and know what channels you want to use.”


How do you stay in front of your network or community?

·         “I’ve actually been thinking about this since before this podcast came to my attention. In 2016, I was a little less connected than I would like to be so it’s been on my mind. For me, I’ve made a commitment to myself to be more active on social channels like LinkedIn and Instagram in a way that I’m good at it. In addition to that, I’m also trying to meet up with people that I haven’t seen in a while”


What advice do you have for business professionals looking to grow their networks?

·         “There has to be some level of interest or excitement involved in it for you to be successful. Look at what you’re curious about or involved in to learn more and that will guide you toward other likeminded individuals.”


Digital networking or traditional networking?

·         “I am about a 50/50 split on traditional and digital networking. I’m very comfortable setting stuff up through email but I also don’t mind picking up the phone to talk to someone.”


If you could go back 20 years, what would you tell yourself to do more or less of regarding your career?

·         “I think my 20-year-old self needed to be told to experiment more. I was very much goal oriented and I just wasn’t open minded to other possibilities and try new things.”


What book are you reading right now?

·         “To be honest, I’m reading four books right now but I’m most interested in ‘Reinventing Yourself’ by James Altruicher.”


Any final words of advice for our listeners??

·         “For me, there’s an underlying desire to have something meaningful tied to what I do. There should always be some kind of inherent meaning behind the efforts you take and through that, better things happen and you’ll be more efficient.”


You can get in contact with Jason at:

Stop by the SBDC or online at Smallbusiness.uwm.edu

On his website at JasonEMueller.com

Or any of his social channels!