Women In Business

The importance of networking for the self-employed


First of all, congratulations on your business! It is not an easy feat to start your own business, so I want to acknowledge you on all that hard work. Owning your own business has incredible benefits, but it has the potential to be quite lonely and overwhelming to depend on only yourself to constantly be brainstorming ways to improve your business. Most of the time, you aren’t spending your time in an office of like-minded people networking every hour of the day; instead you are probably in the home office alone, writing emails to someone you will probably never meet in person.

I am discovering a lot of this myself as I build my business, a healthy lifestyle blog, Eat Pray Workout. It’s been a huge change in direction for me going from lawyer to full time blogger, despite having written the blog for 6 years now. One thing though that I’ve found crucial to the growth of my business is networking.

To some, this word may just make you exhausted. But it shouldn’t! Networking hasso much potential to bring you outstanding opportunities! In fact, Armstrong Williams, and American journalist said “Networking is an essential part of building wealth”.

It’s who you know

Knowing people who understand how to build, grow and sustain a business can be so good for you. Being able to talk through ideas with people who have had experience in taking risks, knowing people who know people, discussing the handling of an awkward client situation, or what ideas and concepts may be worth investing in – these are all things that should be discussed with people who have gone through it. It could mean saving your business.

Building business friendships can help on many more levels than just financially. Having friends with people who can relate to struggles, achievements and all in between can really combat the isolation you may feel as a self-employed business owner. Friends that are honest but inspire and encourage you in your business are the best kind.

I wrote a post on my blog on needing somebody to lean on, click here to read!

More exposure = more opportunities

You can’t wait for opportunity, you have to create it. Like it or not, success can hinder on the old saying “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” and you need to embrace that.

People are inclined to spend money on people they know, because they can be trusted to deliver. Putting a face to a name can also build a better reputation, purely just because you’ve had a conversation with them.

Also, I don’t know how many times I’ve gone to a networking opportunity, introduced myself and someone has said “I have been looking for someone just like you to do this…” and next thing you know we are swapping business cards and setting up a meeting.

Confidence building

Simon Sinek tweeted “So much of starting a business or affecting change boils down to the confidence and courage to simply try”. But you don’t always get this confidence staying in your home office. Confidence can be gained by a few successful networking events and connections.

Simply try it!

If you feel convicted to devote more time into networking, there are countlesseasily accessible opportunities out there! Non-industry specific network meals are great because you meet so many different people!Business Chicks is an example of this, they host really wonderful, women-specific events that leave you walking out not only with a few contacts, but feeling really motivated. Industry conferences are wonderful tools for networking and knowledge building. Ask any contacts you already have if they are going to any and if you can come along, they may be able to introduce you to some people (plus investing in your current relationships is beneficial!). There is also a plethora of Facebook Groups, Instagram pages and websites (such as Meetup.com) that are wonderful resources that you can use while sitting at your desk.

Make a good impression

The introductions are only part of it. Dedicate half a day after a networking event to save all the business cards to your contacts and send them emails. Remember, a good reputation can be your greatest asset! Make sure you work on this, by sticking to your word and delivering on time (even if it is just an email).

Look after your friends

And remember to look after the relationships you already have! Asking them out for a coffee can never go astray. If they’ve done something for you, remember to give thanks and appreciation (read more about that here).

Remember: Networking is the No. 1 Unwritten Rule of Success in Business. – Sallie Krawcheck

About Amy Darcy

Amy Darcy is a Mum, lawyer and the editor of Eat Pray Workout, an Australian based online hub for women who want to be the healthiest, happiest version of themselves. You’ll find healthy recipes; articles on wellbeing; fitnessand travel – all aimed at helping women gain a generally healthy, happy and balanced lifestyle. Subscribe here for weekly inspiring healthy lifestyle emails and to receive all of Amy’s workout printables and daily health diary for FREE! I would love to connect with you! Visit me at my blog eatprayworkout.com, or on my instagram or Facebook.

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