Some of us may choose remote work so that we can be around less people. I struggled for my first few months doing remote work. I imagined opportunities would somehow mysteriously land in my lap…and on a consistent basis. I soon learned that my imagination was not compatible with reality. As a former homeschooler, I learned that success was based on a network of support, and having access to resources. When starting out in a new role, especially one that is remote, there is excitement as well as a natural feeling of anxiety. The good news is that, by being intentional with networking, you can create your own opportunities.
Many make the incorrect assumption that we “must know it all” in order to be successful. Well, I am pleased to share with you this assumption is a big fat Myth! You do NOT have to be the holder of ALL of the answers. As an independent worker, contractors or consultant, you simply need to know how to find resources quickly. Beyond learning how to be an expert Googler, here are some ways networking can help you find resources.
Associations as a Resource
Whether you are a Paralegal, Consultant or something else, there is a professional organization related to your work. By networking with others in your profession, you may learn of opportunities and resources that are not publicly posted online. Do your research on several professional organizations before investing in a membership. In this research phase, I would reach out to someone on the membership committee and ask to speak with them. If the association is hard to reach, or will not provide easy access to help a prospective member, please note this and perhaps try another association. After you join, be an active member and give value. Once you join, do any of the members live close to you? Asking for a quick coffee chat in person or online via video conference and help others to learn about the value you offer and this may make it easier for them to think of you when they find new resources. Additionally, people are more willing to offer tips to people who have first shown themselves to be helpful.
In Person Business Groups
There are SO many business networking events. Google “Business Networking + Your City”, and take a look at all of the options. Please remember, not all events are created equal, so again do your research before committing to join a particular networking group. Make note of people who may offer services that are complementary to what you do and add them to your contact system. These people can now be a resource to you if your problem is not being solved by a Google search. As a new business owner, I have leveraged networking events to help grow my business. I shared what has worked for me in the blog post How to Leverage Networking Events to Benefit Your Small Business
Facebook Business Networking Groups
I am in a Facebook group made up of several thousand nurses who are either business owners or interested in owning a business of their own. In these groups, people are asking for commercial real estate recommendations, how to outsource medical billing and more. If you choose to use social media as a communication tool, you can find many people who are ready and willing to answer your most perplexing business questions. If you are using social media in your business, the number of likes or clicks is a poor measure of success. The aim of social media is to start a conversation that you may not have been able to otherwise start due to distance or accessibility.
One more note about this communication tool, I have found many of my remote work opportunities via a variety of social media platforms. In all honesty, I now mainly use social media for business vs personal use.
Professional growth is linked to connecting to a new group of people every day, learning about resources, and letting others know how your skills can serve them. Learning how to access resources quickly will be something that will set you apart from others who offer similar skills. As you start to grow your business opportunities beyond family and friends, you will need to stretch a bit. At first, this may feel uncomfortable, yet this is the only way to consistently meet new people that will make working for yourself a success. By strategically networking, you will have amazing resources who are just a few clicks away.
It is my hope that this post yielded one or two points you will implement today. I’d love to hear about your experience with growing your network, please tell us what has been working for you.
If you liked these tips about networking, I think you will LOVE Book Yourself Solid by Michael Port (afflink ).
I can be reached on Twitter and Instagram as @rn_solutions, if something about this was helpful, please leave a comment below.