When your days are spent splitting time between seeing to the needs of your kids and tapping away on your keyboard in order to bring in a second income, the prospect of networking can seem a bit out of your reach. But the very same technologies that give you the ability to work from home can also serve you well when it comes to making new connections, both colleagues and clients. Gone are the days when you had to go to events, shake hands, and pass out business cards. Nowadays the majority of networking is done in the online arena, especially when it comes to the growing army of self-employed individuals like you that work from home. But if you’re relatively new to the game you might not be entirely sure about how to get started and what strategies to use. So here are just a few essential tactics that are sure to deliver.

Forums are a good place to start. There are forums for just about any industry you can think of and they allow you to interact with and meet others in your profession. This is not only a great way to make a few new connections, but it could also help you in other ways. For one thing, these communication platforms allow you to ask questions and seek advice. So if you happen to be looking for the latest and greatest ways to expand your network, for example, the other members of the forum could point you in the right direction. Of course, the main idea is to get to know some of your peers and potentially even trade business down the line. But it’s important to remember that there are many reasons to network and not all of them are monetary.

However, opening new avenues for earning is one of the main points of networking, so you might also want to join social networks for professionals. Creating a profile on LinkedIn is a good idea since it can not only allow you to link up with friends and colleagues but also search for jobs and connect with people in extended networks that can help you to get hired. This is the largest platform of its type, but it’s certainly not the only option. You might also join online social communities like Cofoundr, a network that connects entrepreneurs and investors, JASEzone, a site that can help you to find partners and clients, and Plaxo, a service that helps you to stay in touch with all the new contacts you add to your professional network. And these are just a few of the many options out there. You’ll no doubt find plenty to meet your particular needs.

The thing to keep in mind here is that you’ll have to spend some time on networking. But since your time is probably at a premium, you need to make sure that any you devote to this work-related task is worthwhile. You’ll have some amount of trial and error in the beginning, but eventually you’ll figure out which networking strategies work best for you. After all, just because you see onlinefaxservice.com or web hosting services that claim to be the best doesn’t mean you won’t look at other possibilities. The same is true of networking options. So stay informed of new outlets, but don’t be afraid to stick to tried and true strategies for building and maintaining your professional network.

Photo credit: momsbestfriend.com

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