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Stop Networking And Start Connecting: The Simple Philosophy That Changed His Life & Career – An Exclusive Interview With Michael Odendaal

Michael Odendaal emerged as a dynamic force in the business landscape after quickly scaling a property business from nothing in 2018. However, just before he was about to launch a national franchise, disaster struck has his family was ripped apart forcing him to shut it down. Struck by the isolation and frustration that followed, Michael recognized his innate talent for forging meaningful connections and attracting investors in the property domain. Inspired by his own journey, he embarked on a mission to bridge the gap between aspiring entrepreneurs and potential investors. Thus, the inception of his groundbreaking venture—an example of his unwavering commitment to empower others and foster a thriving community of like-minded individuals.

Image photo of Michael Odendaal

Michael Odendaal, Coach and Chief Empowerment Officer

Please tell us about yourself and your life so we can get to know you better.

Hello, my name is Michael Odendaal, and I founded The Entrepreneurs Network Ltd and Network Mastery. I am 37 years old, married, and have 7 children—yes, 7, five boys and two girls, aged between 6 and 15. 

I am originally from South Africa but have lived in England most of my life and have been very fortunate to have experienced life in its diversity. Outside of business, I have various interests, from music to sports, but my biggest lifelong passion has always been aviation. One of my primary goals is to learn how to fly and complete my pilot's license, preferably on jets, as I dream big. 

I first started a business back in 2018, and that was in property. It was built using a strategy called Rent to Rent and grew to a 6-figure business very quickly with none of my own money. The model worked well, and we were on the cusp of launching a national franchise accredited by the QFA (Quality Franchise Association) when we ended up going through a family crisis that tore our family apart for 18 months and forced us to shut down our business after doing our very best to sustain it through this extended period. As you can imagine, that was not an easy situation to go through, and it left us back at square one, having to rebuild our lives from scratch. However, the outcome was positive, and our family is back together and stronger than ever, although we are all still healing from it. 

What is your business name, and how do you help your clients?

I currently run two businesses. The first is a coaching service called Network Mastery, which I use to help property entrepreneurs unlock the potential of their networks within 90 days. By building a strong network of investors, I accelerated my property journey.

Just two weeks after starting that business, I met my first investor, who sponsored my first mentorship program, putting down nearly £20k for it without my even asking. Since then, I have had countless similar experiences of my network helping me access opportunities that I couldn't have on my own, hence I am so passionate about networks and teaching others how to build genuine connections with people instead of transactional relationships. 

This is also why I set up the Entrepreneurs Network Ltd and am pioneering a vision I call TEN Connect. My goal is to build not just a network for entrepreneurs but a collaborative hub, allowing them to connect and access resources that will assist them in launching and scaling their businesses. 

What kind of audience do you target your business towards?

While building out TEN Connect, my focus is on helping property entrepreneurs unlock the potential of their networks through my coaching business. So I work with, and am looking for, serious property entrepreneurs who have started on their journey but are frustrated by a lack of results. I show them how to stop chasing the latest shiny penny property strategies and instead focus on building a solid network while making themselves investable assets in their businesses so that they attract, rather than have to chase, opportunities and investment, no matter which strategy they follow. 

Could you share the inspiration behind founding TEN Connect and how it aligns with your personal and professional vision?

Of course. TEN Connect came about from my frustration with traditional networking events and groups. Firstly, since moving to the East Midlands, I have become more isolated, so attending one of the few networking groups around has become a challenge for me, especially with my family commitments. 

However, more importantly, I have spent much time reflecting on my journey and studying networking from leading voices such as Judy Robinett. I have come to the belief that the traditional model for networking needs to be revised. 

While I was circulating at these events up and down the country, I found myself making a few contacts but never really connecting with people. They follow a formula that most people are put off by, such as the elevator pitch and Death by PowerPoint, so they have essentially become events where people are looking more to what new business they can pick up than what relationships they can establish. It suffices to say that none of my investors came from any of those events. 

One final issue I noticed was that many of them, whilst containing some well-established businesses and highly professional people, tend to either be exclusionary by limiting the number of people from a certain profession who can be members of any one group or, because they're trying to retain their image as a quality group, selective over their membership and therefore struggle to reach the newer, less well-established business owners. 

These are all reasons why I came up with the concept of TEN Connect and am working on it, and how it can serve the smaller or new entrepreneur. Most businesses fail in their first five years, and one of the biggest causes for that, other than lack of capital, is lack of expert advice. I want to change that.

TEN Connect emphasizes local networking. Can you describe the significance of local connections in today's globalized business landscape and how TEN Connect leverages this approach?

Yes, local connections are fundamental, even in a global business landscape, simply due to the differences in business environments in different countries or regions of a country like the US. My vision is to build a global network, but in doing so, I need our customers to be able to access local experts who understand the law and finance within their region. A British lawyer will be of little help to a business in Texas, and a lawyer from Texas wouldn't be able to support a company in California due to the different state legislatures. This is why I emphasize local networking. 

However, here is the flip side of this. Because business can be done relatively quickly on a global scale thanks to technology and the internet, it is of value for a business owner to connect with people from other regions they either currently do business in or are planning on expanding to. So, suppose we can provide a platform that allows entrepreneurs to connect with local experts in different regions and their own. In that case, that could be transformative for their businesses. 

As a relatively new player in the industry, what challenges has TEN Connect faced since you started it, and how have you overcome them?

The main challenge is breaking through the crowd and demonstrating why someone should come to us when there are so many options available to them, especially when we are still in our infancy. 

I am overcoming this challenge through ongoing research into the unmet needs of entrepreneurs so we can tailor our service to them. I am also focusing on building our community by creating a clear vision we can share and inviting people to participate in this movement. 

What would you like to achieve for yourself and your business in the future?

That's a great question. In the short to medium term, I am looking to secure time and financial freedom for my family so that we can provide our children with the best platform possible for them to build their lives upon. However, my longer-term goal is for our business to be a launchpad for new businesses by connecting with entrepreneurial people worldwide who have amazing business ideas and need support in getting them off the ground. 

I want to help create the next generation of millionaires and billionaires and help bring wealth to those for whom it is currently out of reach, especially in the developing world. There is so much opportunity to create and bring wealth to these areas that could go a long way to solving some of the world's most significant challenges. I believe business is the vehicle that can transform lives and lead to a better, more prosperous world for all. 

Who inspires you to be the best that you can be?

My Christian faith, my family, and my vision. I have a huge vision, and to achieve even a fraction of that, I need to keep working on myself to be able to help as many people as possible.

What steps can those interested in learning more about your services take to connect with you? 

I love sharing content so put out a regular short video called ‘A Minute to Win It’ where I share a learning or story from my journey in under 1 minute. You can find them on all my social media channels. 

The best way to connect with me is on one of my social links, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn,

If you're interested in my Network Mastery program, you can book a call with me via my Facebook profile to discuss it further. 

Finally, I genuinely hope that we will meet online and that I can help you in some way as you build or scale your business! 

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!



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