In this episode I chat with Drew Saenz from Team Up Health and Fitness on how he built his business from the ground up through professional networking.
Over the course of our chat we discuss:
What is professional networking? As well as defining the word "professional".
How to get started in professional networking?
How to provide value to your network?
Building your own personal brand.
What resources are available to network? Especially remote networking?
Making bold moves and being confident in networking.
Defining your vision and and achieving short term professional goals.
Tuning in to conferences and other networking opportunities.
If you want to get in touch with Drew see the links provided below.
Instagram for Team Up Health and Fitness: https://www.instagram.com/team_up_fit/
Team Up Health and Fitness website:
To set up a LinkedIn profile to get started in professional networking here is the link : www.linkedin.com
Drew's LinkedIn profile: https: //www.linkedin.com/in/drew-saenz-038b65123/
Team Up Health and Fitness LinkedIn page: https://www.linkedin.com/company/team-up-health-and-fitness/
To stay up to date on all future content from The Curious Ulsterman here are the various social media links.
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Thanks for tuning in folks, all the best!
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Hello everyone. And welcome to the curious Ulsterman podcast. The podcast designed to give you the tools to help you thrive as an adult. And today we've got a great topic and that is how to professionally network, which is absolutely essential for what do you want to apply for a new job or expand into new careers , uh, expand your horizons. Uh , there's the benefits of having a good professional network are almost limitless. So today my guest drew science, he is , um, a owner of a fitness company and this all started when he built it from the grind I've using professional networking. And he's got a great story to tell and lots of really good advice that you can take on board. So if I further delay here is my chat with drew . Hey, drew, and welcome to the podcast. Thanks for joining us today.Speaker 3:
Yeah, Jonathan, thanks for having me, man. I'm super excited to be here from across the, across the land, right? We're not even the same country. That's cool.Speaker 2:
No , I think Jim is such a wonderful tool. I mean like the fact that we're in what five or six times zone differences and we're still just chatting away in real time is just fantastic. Um, and conveniently actually touches on a topic we'll discuss today, which you're on to help us with, which is professional networking, especially networking remotely, but we'll, we're going to touch on that later. Um, so especially in the FIM of this podcast of learning skills, that we're not really taught in skill , uh , but are essential. Uh, I can think of no one better than yourself to come on and to tell us your story and high professional networking has helped you to achieve your goals and ambitions and gotten you to where you are today. So for the audience who perhaps haven't heard of you, could you give just a brief introduction about yourself and , uh, how professional networking has helped you if your professional ambitions?Speaker 3:
Yeah, absolutely. So , uh, so yeah, like Jonathan said, my name's drew science. I'm local here in Phoenix, Arizona. So I'm from Arizona and the United States I've been here. Gosh, my whole life and I just turned 31. So, so it's been been some time. And back in 2015, I started a health and fitness company that, that then was called Teamup athletics. It's now Tema . Or we do business as Teamup health and fitness. And my initial business model was I wanted to help youth. You wanted to help kids get better shape so they could be better at sports because in my upbringing, I was always taught the , the hard skills, right? Like the drill work, how to swing a bat, how to throw a ball, but I was never taught how to get in shape. So that kind of led me to a pretty decent skill set with sports. But I was not, I had no athletic ability cause I just wasn't, I wasn't fit. Right. So , um, that was my initial business model. And , um, you know, we'll, we'll get to what that led me to, but I really felt that back then that the people surrounding me that I met were really helping me to get to where I needed to go. So that's where I really kind of came about , um, realizing that networking was important because I always kind of hear like, you know, your network is your net worth, but even today, like I don't even know what that means really cause it what it's really about and what it's really come down to is just building sustainable. Uh, two-way beneficial relationships with, with peopleSpeaker 2:
Thus . That's really cool. Yeah. Um, that's such an interesting one as well that you touch on like the people around you , um, were helping you and key to your success. And I think all of us have that now granted in some workplaces, unfortunately there is like toxicity, but I think for 99% of cases in the majority of companies, the people in your immediate vicinity want to help you. But I feel like we just do not utilize that network and it's not even, I don't want to say our own fall . I'm always for taking personal responsibility for our actions, but we're just never taught as like for example, professional networking. I never even heard of it until I was, you know , three or four years already into a professional career. Um, so for the audience who , um, perhaps never heard of it, my first question to you is what is professional networking and why is it an essential skill and the modern job era?Speaker 3:
Yeah. So , um, that's a great question, Jonathan. And when I think about professional, I want to define that word a little bit. We can think, I think we can think of our profession in a silo, right? It's like our job title, our skillset , our degree, how we earn a living. That's very, very true. However, in my experience, how you show up in all aspects of your life can, can , um, can affect your professional life. Right? So a good example for me is like I went to school in Tucson, which is about two hours away. I graduated school 12 years ago. I at the time thought I was, you know , making good connections and networking with my, my administrators, my coaches, et cetera. And I feel like now in my professional life, I can call on them with an ask , um, ask for business, ask for a referral, anything like that. And I think when we think about professional life, we really need to think like, Hey, yes, it is our job and our skillset, but it's also the value we provide to others in the world, regardless of where we are. And if we can kind of have that , um, I don't want to say professional white collar demeanor, but just , uh , just a giving hand and , um , living in integrity in our life in general, that'll really spill over to professional connections and professional needs that will have that a trickle down into our career.Speaker 2:
Yeah, that's, that's really cool. So the idea being there that I've got from that is to , uh, provide it's a two way relationship. So you provide value , um, for the other person in your network, they provide value for you to , for you and a weird way that can almost like triangulate because if you know, someone that they need would like to do business with or could help them with a job, you can introduce them or vice versa. Um, I know it's such an essential skill , um, as you've very clearly demonstrated there, however , um, I feel like it's, it's almost daunting. I find like , like w where do you even begin with that ? And you can almost ask yourself, you know, the question, w w what can I bring to a network walk ? What value can I offer to someone else? So I suppose my next question would be then if you're have no idea what to do, how do you get started and professional networking, and how do we, you know , continually build that skill and how do we develop self-confidence in this area? How do you have confidence in your own brand of what value you can offer to someone else?Speaker 3:
Yeah, that's a great, great question. So I think one back to the essential skill , why it's essential is in today's world. It's real . We really need to know somebody to get a job, to get a referral, get a recommendation, right. So that's why it's super essential. And in regards to getting started, I think it's , it's just kind of looking around to where you're currently at in your, either a school life career, maybe you're doing an internship, right. And just see, you know, who are your peer groups around you and who are people that maybe you aspire to be like, and then how can you show up in their world and make their life a little bit easier? So maybe it's a professor for example, and they can provide a letter of recommendation for an internship that you're looking for. Right. Well, that's a good opportunity to one connect with that professor and kind of learn about where they're, where they're coming from and how they got to their career, and then find out, you know, if any recommendations that they have for you to take those next steps. And then it's like, man, you built the personal relationship with your professor. They know what your next steps are, professionally, at least what they want to be. Now, you are tapped into their network and, you know, others that can maybe help you get there. So it's really just kind of not being afraid to ask. Um, I think I was always the annoying kid in school that had questions and my teachers loved it. Right. Cause they're like, Hey, maybe he does know what's going on. And he's not the smartest kid here, but he wants to know he wants to learn. And , uh , people just like that. Right. So I think if you can just kind of look at who you're connected to. Now, maybe it's a, maybe it's a boss at your , um, you know, after school job and you're , you're doing something super simple professionally, but regardless of where you are and who, you know, within that network and within people, you know, now can help you get to those next steps, even if those aren't defined for you. So I would just recommend, you know, asking questions and really looking at , um , how you want your life to go professionally. And that's going to kind of help you decide , um, you know, what you want to get from your network and what value you can provide, but it's also going to help you with confidence in reaching out to people, right? So I find times , um, I'm a coach professionally , right. A fitness coach. So when people don't do their homework, like as in get their walk-in , you know, eat there , eat their food, right. And walk their meals. They're going to show up to me kind of like nervous and kind of hesitant as opposed to fully engaged and fully aware of the situation. So in the example of networking, right? It's like, if you don't really know what you want to do professionally, but you're in school, you're going to be kind of reserved of taking that next step and kind of afraid to go reach out to that peer group. So if you can just pick, you know, just something simple that you can strive to be. Maybe that next step is a master's degree. Maybe that next step is an internship or job placement, but be confident in that and be confident in knowing that there's a bridge between where you are now and where you want to go professionally. And that bridge between that is there's people within your network that can help you get the skill sets , get the knowledge and get the connections to , um, to reach that other side.Speaker 2:
Yeah, that's fantastic. You said a couple of really great things there. And the first one you said was building relationships. And what I like about that is it's very organic. It's not , uh , it's not like an , a shop where you go into buy your coffee. There's no relationship. That's just a transaction. You know, you, you each have provided value to each other and one's providing, say the coffee and you pay the money. So you're providing wage and the upkeep of the store and et cetera, but there's no relationship there. Whereas with professional networking, yes. At the end of the day, it is you, you are providing value to each other on a professional level, but you are building that personal relationship. And this ties in nicely with my next example. And another thing you said really well was don't be afraid to ask questions. Um , I was definitely that annoying kid in skill. My curiosity , my curiosity could not be satisfied, especially like in a science class. You know, teachers loved it because, you know, I just would not stop asking questions. I wasn't satisfied with , with, you know, the basic answers, but this skill and skill has helped me immensely in my professional life. So for example , um, for those of you who have been on the podcast , uh , for a few episodes now, you'll know that I'm in the maritime industry , uh, for my full-time job. And while I'm happy in the maritime industry, I am looking for new and better opportunities. And it just so happened, thought within my network, they're just hopping to be a far-flung third, fourth connection. That was our , a captain on a super yacht . And it's a , it's a thing be brave enough, have confidence in your own ability and your own professional , um, you know, expertise in a given area. Um , I asked him , I said, look, you don't, I don't have to be paid. I just would like to come and experience, work on a superyacht and see if this sector of the maritime industry would fit my needs. And they said, yes, no problem. When I, and I had an amazing four weeks and now I have nine from that one question, I, and I have four or five new connections. They are from various engineers to other yacht captains, to, you know , other crew members. And they each got their own connections. Who can, you know, and it's great because if in my job, for whatever reason that say next week, next month I went, you know what? This job is no longer for me. I've got a job waiting for me in that industry. All because I was brave enough to ask that one question, to take that chance and to have confidence in my own abilities. So don't underestimate not only your worth and the value you can bring, but, you know , don't underestimate the par of just stepping out and asking and be bolding it bold enough to do it. You don't ask, you don't get as the old saying. So, you know, fantastic that you give the answer. You just triggered a memory in my brain when I, when you said that , um, my next question then is, so we've discussed, you know, what is professional networking with discussed how to get started and how to build on that scale and how to become confident in it, but what resources are available to strengthen this network? What's the, what what's raw resources. So for example, I've heard of LinkedIn. I don't know if, especially if you're just leaving skill , you haven't heard of this , uh , or there's potentially other resources that I haven't heard of, but if you could touch on what resources there are, but also remote networking, which is become exceptionally important, especially with the pandemic. And unfortunately not being able to meet up in person, say at a conference, in a network, which was like the traditional way to do it.Speaker 3:
Yeah. That's a , um , that's a great point, especially now, you know, almost everything's Ramon . I know I'm here on the West coast, we're getting like second, second and third waves of shutdown. So I think as much of us feel relief of 2020 being over, I think the landscape is going to be very, very similar. So that's an important point. I think , um, the first thing in regards to resources available is we are all have social media platforms. And I remember being in my young twenties and thinking like, I can't add this person to this platform because I post this thing. Right. So it's almost like , um , kind of like living, living in secret where you're not necessarily transparent on all ends where maybe like, yeah, you do go out drinking with your friends and that's okay. Normal people do that. And maybe you don't need to post it on social media. Maybe you do, but just, just being authentic in a sense where you're not afraid to share your personal life. Right. So just, just living a life that , that you're okay leading, but also using your current social media platforms as an opportunity to showcase yourself professionally. It's like, Hey, you know, I'm a student at XYZ university. Um, people love to see that stuff. I mean, even, even today, I'll still share like my last report card from Arizona state university. And like, you know, people love that it's positive. And they're like, Hey, you know, this guy went to a school. So yeah, my network is constantly seeing what I do and I'm in front of them. Um, but one just using your current social media platforms as a way to just show up how you want to , um, professionally in a sense where, you know, it's , it's going to benefit you because people, people are out there, people are watching and people currently that you already know could absolutely help you get to where you want to be. So I would say use that tool first and foremost. Um , second I think just getting familiar with a professional networking platform like LinkedIn is very important to LinkedIn is probably the biggest one and that one's like, you know, worldwide, everyone can connect on there. It's really good. Um, but I'm finding there's a lot more locally too . So an example of that would be like a chamber of commerce here in the States. Each city has a chamber of commerce where local businesses and national, why businesses joined to become a part of an organization. And they host like live networking events virtually. Now they host different things like that, but just , um, getting yourself aware and plugged into those is a great opportunity to make those one-on-one connections with, with other people. And then I think in regards to technology, having some sort of setup and space, you can go to, to, to experience these networking opportunities. I know a lot of people tried to tune in with their conferences and tune into different events on their phone and on the go, but getting yourself a dedicated remote workspace where you can kind of plug in professionally is really important, especially if you're still in school. And you're trying to take that next step. I think getting plugged into those organizations is going to be really important. Or when I say organizations, I just mean like getting plugged into , um , career driven activities outside of your current schooling and your current job are going to be really important because like, Jonathan, like you mentioned, man, just by asking that one question, you opened up a whole new network that could keep you paid and keep you in a job for the next 40 years, who knows. Right. So just , um, just utilizing those tools, making sure that you are in a mindset and in a space to show up professionally when you do engage with people online and then just making sure all of your ducks in a row in a sense of your , um, social media platforms . So people want, if you're looking for work, they know what you're looking for too . You're consistently providing value there, even if it's a sense of like, Hey, you know, here's a healthy breakfast I had today or whatever, but just, just showing up as a good person, the world is really going to help you be seen and help you get that. Self-confidence to , um, just get positive feedback from connecting with others remotely.Speaker 2:
Yeah. So I'm taking , um, from , uh, is that at the end of the day, a professional network that is going to help fulfill your career ambitions is not going to land in your lap. You need to take some personal responsibility, have some boldness and get out there and ask those questions that you're scared to ask, go to those conferences that you don't feel you belong to to , you know, even some, even if you want to take a small step for me, my first ever , um, you know, dive into the professional world of , of , of networking was LinkedIn. And I just happened to hear it in passing and LinkedIn for me has been quite good and I've been offered. I was, I've been happy in my job and I've got two or three job offers from random people who I've never met, but they go, you've got a skillset . If you're willing, if you're willing to relocate across the country, we will pay you X amount of money to do this job. And obviously as I've professed progressed in my professional career, it's only went well. Um, well we're now offering a managerial position. Would you be willing to move across the country and we'll pay you X, X, X , um, and you know, that's a nice, that's really nice to have some random person go here. We've just seen your professional profile and heck mom, it's, it's what we looking for in a , in a potential employee. Obviously you have to go for your job interview and , uh, for those of you versus your first episode, and the curious Ulsterman, I have done a previous interview on , uh , how to do well in a job interview used to do check that out. But yeah , um , it's, this is all really good stuff, but at the end of the day, you must take action, take messy action as the saying goes. And , um , you're not going to be very good at start who is good at something the first time they try it really? Um, but yeah,Speaker 3:
I'm , I'm , I'm really glad you brought that up about the conference part. So just a quick personal story back in 2016. So my , my degree is in exercise and wellness got a bachelor's degree in exercise and wellness. I knew corporate wellness was a part of the industry, but that's it. I wasn't taught it in school. Um, I kind of had an idea in my own head of what a wellness program looked like for a company, right? So I signed up for this conference. It's 600 bucks. It's a fun functional aging Institute conference. I don't care about helping seniors get fed . It was just someone I knew recommended it. And I'm like, you know what? I'm showing up. I'm going, had some extra money. Cool. So I showed up and then one of the speakers was the national corporate fitness Institute. And they taught you how to get your first corporate client in 30 days. Well, this was four years ago. I had zero corporate fitness clients at all. Um, fast forward, I got certified through that organization. It was very affordable. It was like 200 bucks. I still am a part of their coaching program. And about 75% of my business is corporate fitness clients. Now because of, you know, me showing up for a crazy weekend conference and just being willing to ask questions and kind of have that, that future vision defined for myself and knowing that there were people along the way that could help me. So , um, but again, yeah, to your point, super intentional, but it's, it's going to be messy at first and in the long run it'll work out.Speaker 2:
Yeah, that's incredible. I like, it just goes to show, you know, what difference professional networking has meant to your professional career? I mean, like in your opinion, if you hadn't even bothered to professionally network and just do local, would you have anywhere near the success you've had now ?Speaker 3:
No, ma'am not at all. Um, and like, you know, like I said, I've, I've been able to through like a couple people that I've met professionally, I've been able to like, bring my wife home from work. You know, we bought a house like been able to live a grownup life because of , of people I've met. So, so not at all. And I think I might be a little bit , um, I may have had a benefit because I was kind of on my own, you know , I moved out right at 18. I had no guidance in my college life and all that. So I always felt like I had to find it myself, so I was always seeking. Right. But , um, but yeah, man , not even close, I have no idea how I would, how I would even eat today if I didn't have a good network.Speaker 2:
Yeah, absolutely. Um, and I suppose my , uh, final question for you would be, what advice would you impart on someone who is just leaving school or has never professionally networked , um, with all the , with all that you've learned in your professional journey so far?Speaker 3:
Yeah, I think , um, one thing that if you're just in school or leaving school, the people that you're going to school with could help you immensely down the road. They're either gonna , you know, have some opportunity for you now or, or later down the line. So I think just , uh, just building those relationships with those people. So one example would be one of my, the first coach that I ever hired and we're , um, you know, we've been working together for four years now on an account and it's been a phenomenal partnership, but basically I just asked him like, Hey man, what are you doing after school? Like once we graduate and he didn't really have, he wanted me to go to PT school and do the thing, but I was like, Hey, like I want to work on this, this business. So that'd be something you'd be interested in. And we've been working together for four years now going on five , um, just because I was willing to make that connection. So I would recommend really just leaning into those relationships you have now and starting to have those maybe at the time, scary conversations about, you know, next steps and , and professional careers, et cetera, and really leaning into that. And then just getting , um, getting your ducks in a row and a sense of what that next step is for you. I think we always get hung up in the 10 year vision and what's my career going to be in all this, but it's like, Hey, what are you going to do in the next two to three years? That's going to move you from where you are now to where you want to be in five years. Right. So if we can really just have a laser focus on , um , the current, the current people we already know, and then that next step for us will really have some ideas and we'll get creative with those asks and those needs that we'll have personally, as well as those , um, those giving, you know, the volunteer opportunities and the things that we can add to that, to that network, even before we need a job.Speaker 2:
Yeah. A hundred percent. And like, it's great as well, because I like what you mentioned in timelines, because I think it's essential. Do you have a massive overarching vision ? Like where do you want to be? Like at the end of your professional career? I was very fortunate in straight off the bar at 16, 17. I was content that I was going to go into the maritime industry. Um, but at the same time, I did highly vision of, you know, several years down the line. I want a house like this. I want, you know, this, this on , you know , that I was very clear in what my overarching vision was, but, you know, even planning say five years in advance, you know, we never know what's coming around the corner where you are. And I , I think is the ideal opportunity to plan, just even say the next 90 days, like, what are you going to achieve professionally in the next 90 days? If you break it down , if you break 10 years dine into , into like quarterly 90 day segments say, then that's going to be much more manageable , uh , nowhere near as scary. You know, if , if , if in the 90 days , next 90 days you could achieve that promotion at work, or you take that scary step of asking that question , uh , for an internship or , or whatever, or you, you know, heck it , go for it, start your own business. Does that, to me would probably be the quickest way to foster a professional network because you're not going to get by on your own. I know, certainly since I started this podcast, my professional network has exploded and it's hard to , because I, I, I'm not ashamed to say I've had the ask for help. I've no , I still on the vertical learning curve of podcasting, quite frankly. And that's great because I'm meeting so many new and interesting people and people like yourself with such an interesting story to tell and such a valuable skillset to share a skillset to share as well. Um, so yeah, that would be like my take from everything you've just said, take messy action and just, just go for it . Stop making excuses. What could go wrong and just start asking what could go, right. Really like, I know my example earlier, one , one question has not allowed to your brand new job opportunity where I can get paid double what I'm on now and, you know, see how far better career for opportunities from one question folks. So take that leap. Um, I think that's good. We're going to wrap it up there, but before we do go, is there any, anything you would like to say to the audience , uh , before we go?Speaker 3:
Yeah, I think just , um, just really what you said, Jonathan, about the , the big overall arching vision. I think, I think we all can do a better job of creating what our ideal life looks like for ourselves and for our family and for our peer group. And , um , it's okay to stick with that and it's okay if you're not even close. Right. But if , if, like you said, you can break those down into 90 day increments or even, you know, this week, what can I do to help myself get there and continue to build off that? So, yeah, don't be afraid to dream big, but also , um , don't be afraid to get messy and roll up your sleeves and put in the work every day . Uh huh .Speaker 2:
Uh , absolutely fantastic advice. So , uh, thank you very much for coming on today. Uh, however , uh, one question I would ask is if the audience wants to connect with you or find it more bite you work and they find youSpeaker 3:
Yeah, best place is probably , um, Facebook or Instagram. My Instagram is coach underscore, drew signs and then , uh , Facebook just, just drew signs and we have a private Facebook community too. Um, if anybody is in need of , of fitness programming and resources, we'd like to provide a lot of content around posture improvement and fat loss. So yeah, pretty active on Facebook and Instagram.Speaker 2:
Fantastic. Well, we'll definitely put those links in the show notes as well. Uh , just to make it easy for you to , uh , connect with , uh, drew , but drew thanks a million for coming on again today. Uh, I've got a lot of value from this conversation. I'm sure the audience too.Speaker 1:
Yeah. Thank you. It was a phenomenal reminder of what I need to keep doing to keep going to where I want to be. So, so thank you for the opportunity. Uh , thanks very much all the best. Yeah, you too.Speaker 2:
There you go. Folks. That was my chat with Dree . I hope you got a lot of value out of that. I know I certainly did , uh , with expanding my own professional network. Uh, if you didn't enjoy today's episode, please leave a rating and review. It goes a very long way in helping this podcast grow. And if you want see more content, please do subscribe to all the various social media platforms. Uh, if you could type in search the curious Ulsterman , uh, cause I do have various handles. Uh , it's just easier for everybody concerned if you just type it in the curious Ultraman and yeah. Thanks for tuning in today. Folks. Uh , always appreciate you all the best. Bye.