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Networking yourself. Ideas for the work-at-home business owner.

Make a connection
  Photo courtesy stockvault.com

In my previous entry about marketing for the work-at-home business owner I mentioned "networking" as the second key ingredient to marketing yourself.  Each and every business is different and networking can be fine tuned to meet your specific need.   For instance, if your potential clients are nation-wide, then perhaps you don't need in-person meetings and you can set up your online marketing presence with sites like LinkedIn and Twitter.

Also, there are many message boards and interactive websites (i.e., blogs) that allow you to converse with people within your industry or expertise. Is there a trade association that would allow you to network with people doing what you do?  Google it, join it and use it!

On the other hand, if you need to network locally and engage in face to face meetings, there are ways to go about that too (in addition to the ideas above). Here are a few ideas to get you going:

  • Meetup.com - this site is great to identify specific networking opportunities in your area.  There is something for everyone.  Are you a single mom working from home?  There's a meet-up for that!  Do you want to learn to speak Russian?  There is a meetup for that!   Do you want to meet with bicycle enthusiasts who like to bake?  There is (probably) a meet up for that!
  • Chamber of Commerce - your local chamber always has meetings, networking events and educational seminars.  It is a great way to meet business people locally.  Here are a few in the Denver area: Highlands Ranch Chamber, South Metro Chamber, Denver Chamber of Commerce, North Metro Chamber of Commerce, Boulder Chamber of Commerce.
  • Coffee Shops - many other work-at-home people venture out to local eateries to work and it is alway surprising how many people are sipping their lattes over a laptop and to-do list.  Strike up a conversation with one of these people. A good conversation starter could be, "Can I borrow a power cord?"
  • Volunteering - there are many volunteer opportunities in  the community.  This is where you can meet like-minded people and help an organization at the same time.  Check out VolunteerMatch.org to find what is right for you, or Metro Volunteers is a good clearing house for volunteer opportunities.

I would love to hear other networking ideas and resources for the work-at-home individual. In the meantime...put yourself out there!

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