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Daryl Vickers: Comedy, Business Growth & Terminal Cancer

Welcome once again to the Engaging Marketeer podcast. I’m here today with a good friend of mine in Daryl Vickers, who is the founder and owner of Netwox, which is a networking organization that is now in its tenth year. Daryl and I are discussing everything that’s been going on in his life recently, including both his comedy efforts as well as my award-winning comedy efforts, the origins of Networx and where he sees the company growing in the future, alongside his cancer diagnosis and how that has affected and influenced his approach to work.

Take a look at the full episode over on our YouTube, which includes these particular highlights:

Daryl on the origins of Networx…

Darren: You created Networx 10 years ago (not seven). Why the hell did you do that? Why did you want to do something so ridiculously difficult?

Daryl: I was trying to find something that suited me, because as we both know networking is such a great way of growing your business. I dabbled in stuff like BNI and was at BforB for a while, but the guy who was running the franchise was an absolute weapon and started inviting people that did what I did and what other members did. I thought ‘this is ridiculous’, surely I could do this myself, I’m hilarious, I’m funny and I could make something that I’d actually like to be at. It was just that kind of ridiculous self confidence that made me think I could do this without any kind of serious thought process whatsoever. And then it started to work, and it’s just gone from there.

…on what makes Networx different to other networking groups…

Darren: Obviously there’s a lot of networking groups out there like the ones you mentioned, and they often share some similar characteristics. How did you make sure that Networx was different to the rest?

Daryl: I think it was just allowing people to be themselves. Obviously now we have kind of a 15 minute headline slot, but generally I’m a completely informal person, I don’t have any structure going on in my brain whatsoever. For me, it needed to be so far removed from BNI that when people walked in they knew it wasn’t just trying to be a mini-BNI, because I can’t compete against BNI in terms of size, money and structure.

Darren: That lack of structure really does make Networx different to other groups, especially when it comes to helping people out with their business. At BNI, for example, there is no room within the structure of the meeting to allow for that sort of help, but at Networx, we’ve seen entire meetings almost get shelved while we hold some kind of counselling session.

Daryl: We’ve had people cry at the meetings, mainly at your jokes.

Darren: Yes, sometimes people laughed so hard they’ve cried, that’s true.

Daryl: I wasn’t there for those times.

…on performing stand-up comedy…

Darren: We’ve both, for some reason, decided we wanted to do stand-up comedy. You did it one year, I did it the following year. When I did it, it was the Liverpool Comedy Festival, when you did it it wasn’t, so you’re not a Liverpool Comedy Festival winner, but you won. What was that experience like?

Daryl: I did win, yes. It was one of them things that I always wanted to do, because I do think I’m hilarious, and at certain point you kind of need to prove to yourself that you are, or not. I know you feel the same that making people laugh is the best feeling in the world. By the way, I’ve never seen your Liverpool Comedy Festival award before…

Darren: Well technically there was no trophy, which I was fuming about. We’ve got a client that does trophies, so I’m this close to ordering my own trophy and putting Liverpool Comedy Festival winner.

Daryl: Ordering your own trophy to prove you’re funny goes a bit beyond big headed, doesn’t it?

…on his cancer and current health…

Darren: You’ve got an incurable cancer. Where does that leave Networx? Are you still looking to build that? You’re growing the business all while having this illness.

Daryl: People keep telling me to do less. I’ve got lovely people around me – people are phoning me all the time to make sure I’m okay, people ask me how I am at the meetings, it’s amazing. But if I wasn’t at the meetings, what would I do to fill that gap? Going to the meetings and being involved in the business is my medicine, and there’s nothing better in the world.

…on the audience of Network…

Darren: One of the things I think is quite different about Networx is the type of people that are in it. If you go to a BNI meeting, it can be quite stuffy and there’s often the same sort of suits and business doing the same type of approach. Whereas Networx, what’s the best way to describe this, there can be some real oddballs. Why do you think you’ve attracted these strange people?

Daryl: My son came to a meeting a few years ago, he was helping a catering guy out, and he came away from it saying ‘dad, these people are all like you, they’re nuts’. There needs to be somewhere out there for people that don’t want to go the BNIs or the BforBs of this world.

…on his plans for the future…

Darren: What does the future hold for you in the short-term?

Daryl: I want to go on holiday quite soon. I know I need to step back from what I’m doing at the moment. I said by Easter I’d only be running two meetings a week compared to my current four a week. And I want to be alive this time next year!

If anybody wants to connect with Daryl to organise going to a Networx meeting hosting a meeting or to setting up a series of Networx meetings for themselves, they can contact him through LinkedIn where he is active.

As always, thank you for being with us for another episode of the Engaging Marketeer. Make sure you stay following or subscribed to the podcast on YouTube, Apple Music or Spotify. We look forward to seeing you again next time around.

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