What does Networking REALLY mean?
According to the Google, networking is defined as -
“The action or process of interacting with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts".
Before we were all at home, we were Networking naturally without even knowing it!
Remember when you would meet people who worked nearby, in the coffee shop and have a quick chat? Remember when you would call into the business next door because you needed something and vice versa?
That was Networking!!
It may have seemed like just usual day to day interactions, but really you were making professional connections and building a professional community.
Why is Networking important?
Networking helps you to meet prospective mentors, partners, and clients, stay on top of the latest trends in your industry, keep a pulse on the job market, and gain access to the necessary resources that will enhance your career development.
As an online business owner, do you network?
Or do you think that it’s something that people do in person?
Traditionally networking was always done in person.
Whether it was the small day to day stuff or attending Networking events.
Now more work has gone online and more businesses have gone virtual, so Networking has changed!
Have you noticed that we have stopped saying "When things go back to normal"?.
That's because working life isn't going to go back to the way it used to be. (Hallelujah IMO!)
Networking is now virtual too, just like so many other things and it's something that we need to get used to.
So, how do you go about networking as an online business owner or someone who is working virtually?
Yes that thing you might only use to interact with your friends and post personal photos.
Did you know that lots of people have two profiles on a social media site?
A personal one AND a professional one.
The personal one for the usual stuff and the professional one for business purposes.
Seek out people with similar business interests to you and introduce yourself.
You could end up making a fantastic business pal!
Groups are also a great way to meet like minded business people.
Especially Facebook groups!
Search your job title in Facebook and you will be sure to come across some groups.
These groups usually share great tips and information too!
*Tip: Networking on Social Media is fantastic, just don't contact people introducing yourself with with your sales pitch!! Would you do that face to face?!*
Virtual Networking Meetings:
Pretty much all Networking groups have moved their meetings online.
You can usually attend a couple of meetings as a guest before becoming a fully fledged paid member.
If you have not experienced one of these meetings before, it would be beneficial to go along as a guest and see what you think!
Usually, these meetings have a structure that they follow.
Some are about community and others are about results.
Attending as a guest first will really help you to realise if that particular network is for you.
I, myself, love to get to know my fellow online Business Owners.
As a self-employed individual, I feel that the people I have connected with online, are my colleagues!
I have gotten to know many of my online business connections.
We talk about how ours weeks are going, turn to each other for advice and even talk about our dogs!
In 2020 I set up the Irish VA Network, a Facebook group to help Virtual Assistant's based in Ireland connect and collaborate!
If you are a VA or aspiring VA based in Ireland, get in touch with me to join us!
Until next time,
P.S. I am ALWAYS here for the chats. Just don't try to sell me sh*t or get inappropriate, please and thanks :)