How To Network: For Work-From-Home Entrepreneurs

All Posts, Business Coaching, Marketing, Mindset, Success Strategies • May 6, 2024
how to network as an entrepreneur

For entrepreneurs and freelancers working from home, you are missing out if you are not growing your network! Networking is fundamental to business growth and improving your quality of life in your solepreneurship.

Now, you might be asking, do I have to network? Can’t I hide behind my computer and market my business and be just as successful?

Sucessful, yes, But AS SuccessfulNO!

What Value Does Networking Offer Entrepreneurs?

  1. Your Personal Growth: It stops you from feeling alone by linking you with people who get the ups and downs of running a business. These connections can turn into friendships, partnerships, and mentors, offering you help and ideas as you go along.
  2. Your Business Growth: It can help your business profits grow! Once you build a strong network, you will consistently have people recommend clients/customers your way through direct referrals or cross-partnership opportunities.

How To Network?

1. Commit to Attending Networking Events (Online and In-Person)

The first step in networking is committing to seeking out and attending relevant events every month. (Yes, I said monthly! Networking takes time, and a few events each year will not build your network). The more you can attend, the better!

These events can range from industry-specific webinars to local meetups or conferences. The shift towards remote work has opened up many opportunities for connecting with like-minded professionals so take advantage of it!

Where to Find Networking Events For Entrepreneurs?

  • Online Platforms: Social Media Networks like LinkedIn and Facebook (Events section of platform) can be great places to find virtual networking meet-ups and in-person events.
  • Professional Associations: Joining associations relevant to your industry can provide access to member-only networking opportunities.
  • Create Your Own Networking Events: If you can’t find any events, build your own! Create online or in-person meetups that encourage your inner circle to invite their networks. Remember—the size of the event does not matter. You only need to make a few connections at each event to build your network. I personally create networking events throughout the year and host a Proverbs 31 Entrepreneur online meet-up every month.
  • Redefine Networking Events: If you are a busy mompreneur, you can make your kids’ events and activities part of your networking strategy! There is no event I go to that I do not consider an opportunity to network.

2. Be Strategic in Your Networking Efforts

Networking is not about collecting business cards and awkward conversations to put yourself out there. It’s about building genuine relationships that will benefit both parties. Believe it or not, other entrepreneurs want to network, and many feel uneasy about it. It is because it is not familiar. But the more frequently you connect with others, the easier it becomes. So do not think you are the only one who desires a strong network but is a bit hesitant about starting your journey to build it.

Here are a few tips for how to network strategically:

  • Have a clear goal in mind: Know what you want to achieve from each event, whether it’s finding potential clients, cross-partnerships, learning about industry trends, or simply expanding your network. This will help you prioritize who to connect with and how to approach them.
  • Focus on what you can give, not get: Do not network with the thought of what you can gain. Yes favors or opportunities come from networking, but you need to first think about how you can add value to others. Offer your expertise, connections, or resources whenever possible. A great networking partnership will be more than happy to give value back to you. Just go in with the mindset of what you can give and not what you can get.
  • Diversify your network: A diverse network means surrounding yourself with people from different backgrounds, industries, and perspectives. This not only makes your network more interesting but also provides you with valuable insights and opportunities. Don’t just stick to your industry or area of expertise – connect with people with different skills, experiences, and passions.

How do I Avoid Feeling Awkward While Networking?

Shift Your Mindset:

  • We know you have a lot to gain by growing a network. But if you spark conversation thinking about what you have to gain (and you are not a selfish person) it will feel awkward. Instead- when you first meet someone, focus on learning about who they are as a person. You want to like who you are trying to build community with, so get to know them.
  • Then, learn about what they do and who they serve. Every business owner has a service or product that solves a problem and is directed to an audience. If they are self-employed, they are more than likely working in the area of their passion, serving an audience that matters to them. So learning about what they do and why is important.
  • By now, they have probably asked about you. So be prepared to talk about you and what you do. Not as a sales pitch, but natural conversation.
  • Throughout your time talking, look for ways on how you can relate to them and possibily offer value. And if you can’t think of any way to add value, don’t sweat it. Not everyone you network with will be a perfect connection.
  • Understand that networking is not love at first sight but more so like dating. It takes time to get to know someone organically. So do not set expectations that you will meet someone and create a partnership the first time you meet.

When your mindset shifts from “what they can do for you” to a curiosity about who they are and how you can add value to them, the awkwardness will start to go away. This is because you mentally shift the focus from you to them.

Bonus tip: If you consider yourself introverted, walking up to start a conversation might be asking a lot. Scan the room and look for the most introverted-looking person there. Start with them knowing that they are probably just as uncomfortable as you are. You can even break the ice by joking about how awkward you feel and see if you can’t spark an immediate commonality. Or pick something about them and offer them a genuine compliment. From there ask what they do.

3. Nurture Relationships: Strength is In the Quality of Your Network

The magic of networking lies not in the number of connections you make but in the depth of those relationships. Don’t let a new connection go to waste. Follow up with them through an Instagram message, email, or text. Keep the relationship alive by checking in occasionally and offering your support or opportunity to connect again.

The Power of Community

Networking should NOT be transactional—but transformational. It’s about building a community that creates growth, offers support, and celebrates successes together. As work-from-home entrepreneurs and freelancers, being part of a community that understands the unique dynamics of our work environment is invaluable.

Networking might seem intimidating at first, I get it, you might have to put on real pants. However, with intention and effort, it can open doors to opportunities you never imagined. By establishing and nurturing genuine connections, you create a support system to help you overcome challenges and celebrate your successes.

Start your networking journey today and see where it can take you and your business tomorrow.

PS If you are a Proverbs 31 Entrepreneur, you will love the community of women in my Provers 31 Entrepreneur Networking Facebook Group.

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