Networking When You Work From Home

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djbaxter

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How to Network When You Work From Home
By Sarah Landrum, TheWorkAtHomeWoman.com
October 4, 2017

Balancing technology and in-person interaction is vital to networking when you work from home.

1. Join Trade-Related LinkedIn Groups
Join trade-related LinkedIn groups for water-cooler talk, job searching, articles, career tips, and to make connections. You can find groups based on your location, field, and personal interest... Invite others from your in-person network to your online network. If these professionals benefit from your invitations, the positive career vibes can only spread.

2. Stay Connected With Your Alma Mater
The connections you made at college remain with you, and it’s exciting to run into others who attended your school... There are many opportunities for alumni to stay connected and actively give back to their college community without having to write a check — which also means opportunities to network and continue your professional development... Start with your college website and click on the alumni office page. Often this page lists relevant information for reunion events, fundraisers, and other information for alums to stay in touch.

3. Co-Work With Others in Your Industry
Take the opportunity to set up a co-working day with another professional in your field. You can trade tips on managing your time and clients while enjoying a little water cooler talk over coffee. A change in environment could do your workflow some good, too.

4. Go to a Co-Working Site

When you want an environment change, a coffee shop is a good alternative, but it can be loud. While a library is quiet, many cities now have co-working spaces you can utilize. Some co-working sites will have coffee makers, desks, printers, and a lounge area, while others let you decide what to do with the space. Typically, a small rent or membership fee is required, but consider a co-working site if you have to meet with a big client or just want a change of scene.

5. Be Social With Professionals in Your Network
Be social. Meet for coffee or a drink. Talk business and bucket lists while taking a walk in a greenway. Peel back a layer of your professional persona to reveal the person underneath the professional. Always follow up with contacts you’ve made and suggest meeting in person.

6. Network at Conferences and Events

Networking at conferences and events is extra important for those who work from home to expand their professional contacts and career opportunities... research online to see who will be attending, get to know where vendors and events will be, and choose which events you’d most like to attend... Talking to a stranger is always a little nerve-wracking, even for seasoned networkers, but think of these strangers as professionals already in your network... If you say nothing, your network contacts will think you have nothing to offer. Smile, make eye contact, and pay an earnest compliment. Be natural, and have your contact information ready to exchange.

7. Join Community Organizations
Not prepared to take a flight across the country for a conference? Start at your home base and participate in a community organization... It could be a writers’ organization in your city or a Meetup group for photographers or young professionals. This gives you an opportunity to network, be social, and volunteer your time. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, start a group and build your network.

8. Volunteer Your Time and Give Back
Give back to your community and the world at large. If you’re a photographer, why not do photos for an animal shelter? If you’re a freelance writer, why not volunteer your skills for a cause you care about? You don’t have to use the skills of your career. Your time is more than adequate when it comes to volunteering, and you never know whose life you’ll touch. Whatever good you do in the world will come back around.
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Edvin

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Great list. I want to share how I started employing couple of these tactics:
2. Stay Connected With Your Alma Mater
I used linked-in to search my competitors in my local area and later connected to fellow alumni. This makes it easier for me to reach to qualified talent when I'm ready to move forward.
Co-Work With Others in Your Industry
I've reached-out to other private business owners in my industry outside my region to ask for some guidance. Many ignored my request; but, there is one who has been very helpful. I need to take the time to build a bigger network and create a monthly conference call so that we can build our own support group.

-----EDIT---- 10/11/2013
8. Volunteer Your Time and Give Back
I'm involved with boy scouts as a committee member and get involved in both helping kids and giving back to the community. Additionally, after I open my storefront I plan to offer free merti-badge clinics for (robotics, coding, electronics, chess, etc). This serves as both giving back and informing parents about services that are locally available for them.
 
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It's great but now it's common & informal to connected on these platforms & the Connectivity of social network produced information to each other.racing & maintain in groundwork still have more productivity.
 

Edvin

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It's great but now it's common & informal to connected on these platforms.
Agreed, but we all have different digital maturity and am not sure if everyone has actually thought about executing in all the above mentioned areas and assess their value.
Also, it is helpful to see how others use above mentioned strategies. Do you have any specific item that you are doing that can serve as an example for the rest of us?
racing & maintain in groundwork still have more productivity.
I'm not sure if this is a valid blanket statement. I've came across several business owners during my research that claim that social platform customers accounts for more than 50% of their business (admittedly they are probably weak in other areas since no one is great at everything). So, the question that I ask myself is, am I as affective as others in a specific channel; and if not, should I , and how can I come on-par.
 
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Gin

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Using these platforms to network can help build 'referrals' to your business but also to build 'partnerships' for extra online visibility, i.e., exchange links. Attending online webinars is also good networking, if set up like 'hang outs'.
 
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If you work from home, meetup.com has lots of networking opportunities, especially for small businesses and if they don't you can start one.
 
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