When Kristina V Herreen was a little girl, she was always in trouble. She spent the first year of her life in hospital as she was born with heart disease. When she was finally brought home, she ended up becoming a handful to everyone around her.
When she was 14 years old, Kristina left home, lived on a farm, went to an agriculture school, and then studied university. Eventually, she became a counsellor and marketer, she got into health and fitness, and lots more. She discovered that she was the type of person that wanted to be around people and help people. Sitting at a desk for 8 hours was just not her thing. She has constantly been looking for that right fit for her all her life, but it felt like it was alluding her.
During that same period, Kristina gained a lot of weight and lost a lot of self-esteem, so that outgoing and fun girl she once was, disappeared. She started to listen to what others wanted for her instead of doing what she wanted for herself and her happiness. She started to have self-doubt, and with that, her self-belief was also on the rocks. It would take years before she was able to have the courage to rediscover and move back into that “me spot” after all, years of self-destruction and pain had made that a distant memory.
Kristina became very body-conscious and aware of her looks and weight, which affected her way of acting and connecting with people. She was raised to believe there is a specific order to life: get a government job, get married, have kids, get a dog, and then live happily ever after – but she had that inner calling telling her that she was here for something big, something that will help others, something that will make her special. So against all the odds, she has never stopped looking for that right vehicle to become that special person that she knew she could become.
When Kristina first came to Australia, she became a wife and a mother in a city she had never been to before. A city that was and still is, in many ways, very conservative. She found it very hard to connect with people socially. Life really changed for the better when she attended a business seminar one day and she had the opportunity to talk to the speaker. The speaker said to her, “You have an accent, and you are from a non-Australian origin, turn that into your advantage, what you have people would love to have.” That really made her think, and from that day, those words have always been on her mind to serve as a reminder whenever her confidence plummets.
Fast forward to today, and Kristina is now known as The Networking Diva. She’s the director at Diva Global Business Connections PTY LTD and FortunePi Holdings, where her position is a Wealth Builder, and she’s also a radio producer and host at Casey Radio 97.7FM.
InLife International recently caught up with Kristina to discuss her journey in the industry and here’s what went down:
What are you currently doing to maintain/grow your business?
Networking, networking, and more networking or, as some people prefer to say – connecting with people. For me, that is all about communicating and connecting genuinely with integrity and respect with everyone. Once you learn this skill, it will stay with you forever, and your referrals will start coming in floods as well.
What form of marketing has worked well for your business throughout the years?
My marketing has always been to build my network through personal networking, both in-person and online. Nothing beats the opportunity you have to connect with people from all backgrounds and with different needs and wants. I always say: “No connection is a waste of time,” and I NEVER throw away a business card – you never know where a connection can take you.
What social media platforms do you usually use to increase your brand’s awareness?
I have always been a fan of Facebook, and I am talking about personal profiles, not business pages or group pages. Once you find someone that sounds interesting or a friend of someone, your work has started to connect with them and to do it well. Remember, they have friends, family, cousins, parents, work colleagues, and so on, so who knows who would be interested in your business today or another day? Your business changes, and so do people, so find a way to reconnect with people; everyone will respect and remember you if you ring someone up just to see how they are going.
What is the toughest decision you had to make in the last few months?
I always wanted to support people with what they want to achieve so when the personal events, face to face, was in a quiet place for a while, I decided to become a Wealth Builder and to help people to improve their financial situation and to support them to move on with their dreams of their new home and/or their plans to invest for the future. Being a Networking Diva, that move was common sense to me as my network was already there, and I know how to build a great strong network, so this was just an extension to be able to help more people.
How has your business been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
To Network Face-To-Face was, for me being in Melbourne, a big challenge as most venues were closed for almost two years, and to network in the “traditional” way was just out of the question. I then adjusted my skills to how to Network online but with the same basic skills, and I know it works either way, as long as you are following a system, like anything in business – when having a system that works, you will stick to it, and that’s what I did. With or without a pandemic, “Your network will always be your Networth.”
How have you adapted your business operations in response to COVID-19 and its associated impacts?
I had to adapt to the current situation in the market to stay as a business owner, and I did that by restructuring my business the way I choose my prospects and demographics for my connections. That meant that becoming a Wealth-Builder with Fortune Pi Holdings was just an adjustment of my type of prospects and to learn another professional skill on top what I was already doing. Offering people a way to stay on top of their finances as a team member with a Fortune Pi Holdings has been challenging but also very exciting as I just confirm that excellent networking skills are a must in any profession where you deal with people that includes most of us. We are a company that prides itself on understanding customer needs and mapping those needs against a wide range of superior products we have available, which gives us a comprehensive edge in the marketplace. Rule No 1 when Networking: Networking is never about you; Networking is always about others!
What have been some of the most important lessons you have learned because of this pandemic?
I find that if you are panicking, getting too over analytical it will be very hard to join whatever is changing around you, and this pandemic was and still is a very big change for all of us. I still live by the motto of “Work with what you have, not with what you don’t have.” For example, being a Wealth Builder, I will work with what you have to get to what you want, and I find that a lot easier to deal with, whatever it would be, family, life, or business.
What do you hope to see happen in the near future for small businesses all over the world?
Unity, we are here to support each other. Greed doesn’t support anyone, and karma will look after those too greedy ones. Start Networking genuinely and professionally, which will help you all grow, flourish, and succeed in the way you desire. Learn how to be an excellent networker, which will improve your life in so many ways. I dream that we could build a networking system online, maybe Facebook course I like it, and then just support each other in any way we can. Remember, don’t waste a connection course you never, never, never know where a connection can lead!
What advice would you give to a newbie Entrepreneur setting up a new business in this pandemic?
Learn how to Network the proper way, find yourself a mentor or some sort of support on the way, and always remember to work with what you have, not with what you don’t have, and you will get what you want by helping others to achieve what they want. Be a problem solver, so don’t be afraid to “think outside the box” Be authentic, keep to the facts, and never stop learning. Last but not least, be a nice person, a nice human being and people will never forget you! Happy networking,