Several years ago, while filling his car up with gasoline at the local Speedway in Howell, MI, Caerusnet founder and facilitator, Steven Zyskowski took notice when a van pulled up right next to his gas pump advertising the services of a photographer.
Not one to shy away from turning strangers into friends, Zyskowski approached the person pumping gas into the van and said, “So, you’re a photographer?” The highly awarded photographer, Christina Kafkakis, shyly confirmed and Zyskowski continued, “Here’s my business card. I’m involved in a great business referral group in Brighton and we were just discussing our need to find a good photographer to pass all our referrals to. “
The funny thing about timing and karma, is that Christina actually was recently thinking to herself that she needed to get out there and network to grow her local business before this even happened. A couple weeks later, Christina visited a Caerusnet team in Brighton and instantly joined. Since then and years later, she’s been voted Team MVP twice!
How long have you been in your profession?
I started my photography business in 2009; in 2011, my focus became newborns and baby’s first year.
How did you get into this field?
Like many other small business owners, my lifetime hobby forayed into a business. I have always loved photography; when I was young, I used to pretend to ‘develop’ photos in my own ‘darkroom’. I never realized that the purchase of my first DSLR camera in 2006 would change my life.
What is the best thing about your business/career?
The reason I started my business was to be able to create my own schedule. Then, I was a mother to two boys; now, I have four children under the age of 9. Owning my own business allows me to have schedule flexibility; and being a photographer is really the best job I have ever had. There is no other job in this world that has this superpower; to freeze time.
What is it about the Caerusnet model that you like most?
As I mentioned, I’m a busy working mom, so I like that I don’t have to worry about facilitating the meetings!
Any tips on learning how to find situations where you can create a referral or invite a visitor?
In my line of work, I am always speaking with people, and I like to help solve their problems. That’s one of the reasons why I like being a part of Caerusnet. My team is made up of professional business owners that I can speak with my clients about, without hesitation.
Tips on how to be successful in Caerusnet?
There are several things that work for me, but I’ll share my top three. My number one recommendation is to attend the meetings, because your team can’t refer to you if they don’t get to know you. Number two is to keep your eyes and ears open when you’re going about your normal daily activities; I often find referrals for my team through simple conversations. Number three is to give it time; this goes hand-in-hand with number one. When you’ve built a relationship with your team members, referring is easy to do.
Christina Kafkakis is a Member of the Brighton Tuesday 8AM Caerusnet team.
Email: [email protected], (810) 522-8244.
Story by Ava Zyskowski, Facilitator Plymouth/Canton Thursday 1PM referral team.