The Importance of Networking

In these uncertain economic times, networking is more important than ever for professional advancement – especially for entrepreneurs such as work-at-home moms. For these women, the importance of networking is two-fold: To help with professional development and to find parenting support.

Professional Networking

Opportunities for work-at-home mothers can be found in the community and online. Joining local businesses organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce can reap many benefits, as many of the executives began as entrepreneurs themselves. Their area of business may be different from yours, but they can offer great insights into tools such as marketing, building a client base, branding, and more.

Social organizations are another great tool for networking. Many of these groups are focused on community service, and their members often include leading members of the local business community. Some local groups you might consider include:

  • Ruritan Club
  • Civics Club
  • Kiwanis Club
  • Lion’s club

The contacts you make through such clubs can provide valuable insight and tips for managing your business. They can also become your next clients – or introduce you to potential clients.

As a work-at-home mom, much of your business is likely done online. Logically, much of your networking can also be done online. There are a number of social-networking sites and forums designed exclusively for mothers who work at home. Consider the following:

  • SocialMoms.com
  • MomsExpo.com

Become an active member on a work-at-home moms’ forum, and you’ll quickly develop contacts that can become a valuable resource for tips and advice on navigating your home business.

Personal Networking

Connecting with other mothers – whether of the work from home type or not – is vital to creating a network of support. Only other mothers can understand what it’s like to experience the unique set of demands that you do. Networking can give you an outlet for advice, support, or just to vent. Having a regular group to connect with can also provide you valuable opportunities for play dates and, possibly, a trade-off system for child care to help balance your schedule.

When you’re at home all day, it may be difficult to meet new mothers. Fortunately, the Internet has many valuable resources. Meetup.com offers a variety of local groups which let you search by interest. There are many groups by area that are geared towards parents. You may even find a group that is designed for stay-at-home mothers. If there isn’t, you can create one! Facebook is another easy way to meet other mothers in your area. You can search for members by area and interest. Making contact(s) may be less intimidating since you can get to know each other through a series of messages or e-mails before committing to a “date.”

Your church or your school PTA is other great ways to meet local moms. Sign up to volunteer during bake sales or other activities as your schedule allows, and get to know some of the other mothers. You can suggest a casual play date or even a mom’s outing to get to know each other.

However you connect, it is important that you do so. Your spouse or significant other cannot be your sole source of support after a long day juggling work and parenting responsibilities. Connecting with other people who can understand your responsibilities and offer insight is invaluable and will help you achieve your goals.

Guest post by Lisa Shoreland.  Bio: Lisa Shoreland is currently a resident blogger at Go College, where recently she’s been researching online schools as well as law student grants. In her spare time, she enjoys creative writing, practicing martial arts, and taking weekend trips.

Image source:  salesmomsnetwork.com

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