How I grew my Business Network in Korea from my Home

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How I grew my Business Network in Korea from my Home

My perfect vacation includes a really nice hotel by the beach and unlimited access to food and drinks, and that’s it. I don’t need to go to fun places, or do fun water sports, or visit historical monuments. I’m good just chilling in an air-conditioned room and going to the beach for a bit, and maybe visiting a few places here and there, if the places aren’t very far. Yup, I’m pretty boring if you really get to know me, so I don’t really go out to many events, except for the ones I have to go to, like weddings, family gatherings, etc. That is why it is a challenge for me to attend networking events in Seoul, South Korea. But I attend them as much as I can because I know how important it is as an entrepreneur to grow your network, with all types of people in different professions and fields. So I have found ways to connect with people from my own home as much as possible. Not only because it takes a lot of my energy to go to a networking event an hour away, but because I also need to use as much as my time as possible to build my businesses and brand.

So here are some ways I have been able to build my network from my own home, without actually meeting people face to face.

1. Hosting a Podcast

I absolutely love podcasting. I have two podcasts that I have hosted; HagwonStart.com and Β MarketinginKorea.com I still add new episodes to HagwonStart.com here and there, but MarketinginKorea.com serves as an archive of past interviews I have had. And I have been able to meet a lot of people by interviewing them for my show. Even though I only met one person directly through Hagwonstart.com, I have been able to interview around 30 different people for MarketinginKorea. And I also have shared the podcasts for MarketinginKorea in various Facebook groups, so even though I may not have met people yet, they at least got to hear my voice or see me share something in a Facebook group. This is important because it has lead to things to talk about when I first meet someone, because some people have said that they listened to my podcast and it was easier for us to build a relationship when we first met. I plan on interviewing way more people and further building my network from my home. I will no longer create new content for MarketinginKorea since it no longer reflects where I am at in my entrepreneur journey in Korea, instead, I am going to record episodes for EntrepreneurKorea and talk about a broad range of topics related to being an entrepreneur in Korea and I will interview a whole lot more people than I did for the MarketinginKorea podcast.

So podcasting has helped me to really build my network and has helped me build a strong relationship with a lot of other entrepreneurs in Korea. The best thing about interviewing somebody for over 25 minutes, is that you get to have a meaningful conversation and share a cool experience of creating something together. I found that I got to know someone much better by recording one podcast episode with them than meeting someone a multiple amount of times at events, because the conversation is usually the same when you meet someone more than once in passing. The conversation lasts for a few minutes and it’s all small talk. But when you record a podcast episode with someone, you just create something special, I don’t know how to explain it, but it’s really awesome. That is why podcasting is an amazing way to build your network, which is one of the reasons why it’s something I love doing and look forward to getting back into.

2. Commenting on Posts

Commenting on posts is also powerful, especially if you consistently post and are writing genuine comments. I’m not very good at this because I am not big on commenting or sharing my opinion openly on people’s posts, though I welcome people to comment on whatever I post. I just personally like living a quiet life, as much as possible. But I am good at replying to people’s comments and try my best to be as polite as possible.

Commenting on posts in groups and being active in the group is a good way of building relationships with others in the group. Of course there is a chance that people in the group may have fake accounts, but for the most part, it is a good way to connect with others in fields you are interested in. You can do this on people’s blogs, in Facebook groups, forums like Waygook.org and Reddit, or even on people’s facebook and instagram posts, or basically on anything anyone posts some content.Β Some of our customers at Flower Gift Korea have become our friends and have visited us at our shop when they visited Korea on their vacation. They kept commenting on our posts and we replied, and then we invited them to stop by our shop. Here are two instagram posts with visitors from outside of Korea:

 

Here we are with one of our customers/friends πŸ‘ He is visiting Seoul, South Korea and decided to drop by Flower Gift Korea the other day. Thank you @steel_1700 for visiting us and also thank you for the tasty pastries you brought from outside of Korea 😎 Luckily, we weren’t busy at that time and we were able to have a great time chatting. If anyone ever visits Seoul and has nothing to do, contact us and let us know when you’ll visit us. We sometimes aren’t very busy from 5pm till 7pm (closing), so drop by, take a memorable photo, and chat, even if you aren’t a Flower Gift Korea customer. It’s great meeting people from different parts of the world πŸ™‚ #flowerbouquetKorea #Seoulflorist #Koreaflorist #KoreaBusinessPresent #Koreaoffice #SeoulBusinessGift #Seoulflowerdelivery #Gangnamflowerdelivery #Gangnamflowers #itaewonflowerdelivery #itaewonflowers #myeongdongflowers #myeongdongflowerdelivery #Apujungflowerdelivery #flowersKorea #flowersSeoul #Koreanflowerdelivery #flowerKorea #flowerseoul #Koreabusiness #BusinessKorea #flowerbasketKorea #seoulflowerdelivery #Seoultravel

A post shared by Flower Gift Korea (@flowergiftkorea) on

 

We had our first overseas customer visit our shop while she was visiting Seoul. Thank you @angiensy for visiting Brandy and me. Also, thank you for the snack. πŸ‘ That was very thoughtful of you. If any of you visit Seoul, let us know you will be dropping by Flower Gift Korea, say hi, and take a picture with us. πŸ™‚ #koreaflowerbouquet #koreabusinesstrip #koreatrip #seoulflowershop #koreaflowermarket #kpop #flowerdeliverykorea #yongsanflowers #incheonflowers #seoulgift #yangjaeflowers #sinsaflowers #koreaflowerstore #flowerdeliveryseoul #seoultravel #flowerdelivery #Koreaflowershop #seoultravel #newyork #Toronto #boston #california #KoreanNewYearGift #seoul #flowerdelivery #seoulflowershop #FlowerstoKorea

A post shared by Flower Gift Korea (@flowergiftkorea) on

So commenting and replying to posts is a great way to build your network online.

3. Following and Liking Profiles

This is pretty much similar to commenting, but you may be shy (like me) and don’t have much to say (like me). So another thing you can do is follow some people who you would like to get to know better or think would be a good connection for you and consistently like their content. Over time the person you follow will be so used to your likes that they will be thankful for your support. And slowly but surely you guys will become familiar with one another and then you can work up the courage to comment on something. I know for me, some people have randomly followed one of my social media accounts and just kept liking things I posted. After awhile I just figured they were my friends. I don’t usually think about how I became friends with some of the people on my accounts, so I just figured they were always one my friends to begin with! So if it worked on me, and I believe it can work on others as well! I mean, who doesn’t like to have followers liking their things? However, I believe this approach only really works for people who don’t have a whole lot of followers to begin with. If they have a lot of followers, you better consistently leave some comments if you want to get on their radar.

4. Emailing People

I haven’t done this often, but I have emailed people that I have met at past networking events to see how they were doing. Emailing isn’t as popular as it once was and there is a lot of spam email going around, so it can be a little more difficult to build your network via email, but it is possible. And I don’t mean getting people on a mailing list, though that’s a great idea to further build your brand and I probably should get an opt in for an email newsletter soon as well. Though emailing people can be seen as cold calling, sometimes people reply. This type of networking works best if you actually have the person’s contact info and you actually met that person before or have mutual friends.

So these are the ways I have built my network online without meeting people face to face. Since most of us are on Facebook or other social media platforms, it is quite easy to further build your network online. You just have to be a little brave and be active in the places where you need to be. I personally really need to improve on commenting more on people’s content and emailing people I am able to email. But at the same time, you need to be you and do what you are good at. It’s all about the long game, so make sure you enjoy what you are doing. But don’t forget to challenge yourself and get out of your comfort zone.

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3 Comments

  1. Dineo October 25, 2017 at 9:05 pm - Reply

    Hello,

    Firstly, I would like to say the work you do on your website is really helpful. I am a few weeks into finally deciding to get the ball rolling for my future plans in Korea and your posts have played a huge role in not only informing me but also assuring me that it is possible to become an entrepreneur in Korea. Added to the fact that I too am introverted, so I’m happy to know that that there is a way around it. So thank you.

    I am currently working as a TaLK teacher ( a sister program to EPIK) so I am on an E2 visa. As far as I understand, E2 visas don’t quite allow you to make money outside of teaching. So I would like to know if you have any tips on how one can build up a brand, or prepare the ground for operating a business in Korea, without selling a product or service. I have a background in art and design so my business will be something along those lines.

    • Tony Teacher October 26, 2017 at 8:40 am - Reply

      Hello Dineo, I’m so happy that this website has been helpful. If I were on an E2 visa and had a background in art and design, I might either display my work on a blog or a youtube channel to build my own brand. I would also create some social media accounts. You would also need a business name or you can just go at it with your own name as a freelancer. Then I would connect/network with people who could potentially be a client one day or people I could collaborate with one day. Then I would have people that could potentially become clients or partners when it becomes time to launch the business.

      If you plan on staying in Korea for the long run, then I would first make time to visit the Seoul Global Center in Seoul and get advice on how I could obtain an F Visa, since you can’t legally run a business in Korea without one or an investor visa. You can get an F visa by getting a certain amount of points. You are awarded points depending on certain things like taking Korean courses, taking culture courses, taking business courses, etc. If you are too busy or live far away, you can call and ask as well and they may be able to explain it to you over phone. Here is there site: http://global.seoul.go.kr/index.do?site_code=0101

      But then again, you can always register your business in your home country and have actual clients in Korea who pay via PayPal or other online payment services.

      Are you planning on staying long term? If so, it’s definitely worth it to figure out what exactly you need to get the right visa. I believe every country has different steps, so it’s a good idea to get a free consultation at the Seoul Global Center.

  2. Dineo October 26, 2017 at 10:25 pm - Reply

    Thank you for your advice, I will make sure to visit the Seoul Global Centre. Thanks again for your amazing work and help!

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