Networking is important for any and all types of business, but it is especially prudent to engage in if you work from home. If, like most work-at-home-moms, you are employed on a freelance basis, you may find yourself depending on the kindness of strangers, so to speak, to pay the bills. Well, you also need some sort of marketable skill, but considering the level of competition for jobs right now, who you know can mean a lot more than what you know. For this reason, knowledge of social networking and what it can do for you (and your business) is an absolute necessity.

The first thing you should do is find out what your options are and choose the ones that work for you. There are several resources for both freelance workers and small-business owners, but not all will suit both avenues equally. For example, professionals who would like to cater to a handful (or more) of clients may want to start by finding websites that will allow them to apply for specific types of work that suit their talents. Nearly every online occupation has devoted sites for those who wish to search for work, such as writing, graphic design, virtual assistance, data entry, or medical billing and coding, just to name a few. You may also want to join a forum where you can connect with like-minded individuals to share concerns and seek advice. Consulting with a group of peers is a great way to find new opportunities and develop a support network.

As for those who run their own business, a website is the best place to start. It is a way to show potential clients that you are professional, apprise them of the services you offer, and give them a place to direct friends, colleagues, or other interested parties. A website can also be an excellent tool when marketed correctly. For this reason, engaging in search engine optimization (SEO) can really boost your targeted traffic by ensuring that people who are seeking your services can find you. This is a must for any small business that is looking to expand. In addition, you may want to create profiles on a number of networks like Facebook and MySpace in order to reach your customers on a more personal level. You can offer updates and information about your business as well as address any questions or concerns. Twitter is an excellent extension of the same principle, only faster. You can give your clients instant attention from any location and your interactions will be brief and simple. After all, work-at-home moms can be a pretty busy bunch and time is money!

If you engage in any type of business online, networking cannot be overlooked as a way to get your name out there and bring in new business. You can see an overwhelming return without ever spending a dime if you learn how to work the system. In addition, you will open yourself up to a world of resources in terms of information, advice, and job opportunities. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that social networking is something only your teenage daughter can benefit from. As a professional working from home, you need to be aware of any tool that can help to make your business viable, so don’t hesitate to take advantage of the many networking options on the web.

Jennifer Kardish is a writer for Medical Billingwhere you can find more information about a career and training in the medical field.

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