When you are a work-at-home-mom, you sometimes lose those relationships that are formed from working in an office. It takes work to build those working relationships and network when you work in your jammies most of the time (okay, some of the time). But it’s just as crucial and important to your business and sanity to establish a network and business relationships when you’re working from home.
Most big towns have network groups for entrepreneurs or work at home businesses – it just takes some time and effort to find them.
- Check out www.meetup.com. Once you register your location and what type of meetups you’re interested in, it will find matches near you. It’s a great tool for business and personal meetups (think play groups for your kids)!
- Facebook is another great tool. Use the search bar to search for networking groups near you. In addition to networking groups, you can find Facebook groups that cover your niche and become part of a “virtual” network group with the members in that group.
- Offline networking groups through your chamber of commerce is another great way to connect with other businesses and expand your network. Remember when you meet others in person, don’t just sell your business; the key is to build relationships so that hopefully business and referrals will eventually come.
- Word of mouth referrals may be the best networking available. Make sure your family and friends know about your new business and that you’re looking for referrals. Ask them to share your Facebook posts and business page. Ask your past clients to write a testimonial for you that you can place on your social media sites and website.
- Use an email signature every time you send an email (business or personal). Those emails may lead to new business with the curiosity people have when they see the links to your website, LinkedIn page or blog.
Find a Mentor
If you are just starting a new business, a mentor can be a great reference and help you grow your business. A mentor is usually a person older and more experienced than you whom you look up to and can guide you through difficulties with your business and answer questions
It’s key to find someone who is serious about investing their time in you and your growth. They are there to help you with challenges such as:
- Organizational politics with clients
- Work-life balance
- Unfamiliar work skills (i.e. billing, sales, payroll etc.)
- Handling conflict
- Career path guidance
Mentoring is a privilege and the person you pick should think so. Choose your mentor wisely. Be sure you know they’ve been successful in their business endeavors and that you’d like to learn how they did it. Also, don’t be surprised is your mentor pushes back at you with some situations. A good mentor will ask questions as a way to help you learn.
Growing a business is hard work. It takes time to network and learn, but in the end it will all be worth the effort when you have a successful work from home business.