30: Build Your Network Before You Need It, with Maxwell Ivey, The Blind Blogger
Our connections are a source of resilience.
Picture it. You are in a strange city, far away from home. You are suddenly struck ill. Now, imagine, if you also ran out of money and you weren’t sure how you were going to get home. Your voice is so hoarse, when you speak, no one can understand you. Oh, and to complicate things, you are blind.
That’s the situation that speaker, author, and blogger Maxwell Ivey found himself in a few years ago. “I was sick, hoarse, broke, and about to be homeless in New York City,” Max explains. “I had given a talk. I got through it with a combination of hot tea with honey, winter green life savers, and the showman’s will to always go on. I even sang at the end of my talk although my voice cratered.”
Max went from coffee shop to coffee shop, drinking coffee and working the internet. “I couldn’t call people because they couldn’t understand me. Finally, one friend from California sent me money for a hotel. It was within walking distance of the diner. Another friend purchased a train ticket for me back home to Houston, Texas.
“Friends from church picked me up at the station. I was so sick” he remembers, “they made me put on gloves and mask. That was long before this pandemic.
“I was sick for several weeks. Dehydration caused me to be dizzy and have trouble talking. It was a month before I could speak normally and two months before I could sing again. Eventually I did overcome the catastrophe and put myself out there again. This time, I remained closer to home.
Building His Network
Maxwell Ivey is a totally blind man who grew up in a family of carnival owners. From an early age, he knew that he would eventually lose his vision.
Family, teachers, and other mentors taught him to be positive and see the possibilities. He graduated from a traditional high school and college. He achieved the rank of eagle scout.
After college, Max participated in the family carnival business until his dad’s death.
He then started a business to help others sell their surplus carnival rides.
Max had to learn how to hand code html. He also had to recruit clients, set fees, write copy, manage media, use social media, build an email list, record videos, and more.
Max started blogging to share what he learned. People were inspired by his journey, and he began to gather a following. That lead to a second website as The Blind Blogger. He also published four self-help books. He started traveling the country to speak. That is how he found himself in New York City with no way to get home. His network came to his rescue.
Max advises listeners, “Start building your community now. Start by adding one supportive, encouraging, uplifting person and grow from there. Use social media to make real connections online. In times of crisis, it’s the people you have come to know and trust who will help you the most.”
A Call to Action:
“Reach out to one person you like admire or trust and ask them to become part of your journey. It could even be me. I love inspiring others.”
Learn more about Maxwell Ivey, The Blind Blogger: