Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Networking & the Solo Entrepreneur

So what's the best part about working from home? You rarely need pantyhose or power suits, and you can have a conference call in your workout clothes. But the advantages have a drawback. Not needing to dress up for work means you may not encounter another living person outside of the mail carrier or family members. Running a small business can keep you isolated, minus the benefit of colleagues who can challenge, encourage and support you.

It's possible to partner with other women dedicated to entrepreneurial success; you just need to make an effort to find them. When you do, reach out, contribute, and it won't be long before you feel as though you have dozens of helpful colleagues at your fingertips.

LinkedIn, Facebook, Networking organizations Websites such as Advancing Women and Home Based Working Mom are great resources for networking, with forums for discussion, links for networking with international women and links to similar sites. Also known as forums, message boards on those sites are an opportunity to chat online with women who share similar interests and concerns.

Professional organizations, such as Empowered "Women's" Network in Fort Myers, Cape Coral, & Naples, is an important "in-person" networking resource. Find the one that works best for your schedule and business needs.

Reaching out Regardless of which tool you use to build your circle of colleagues, it takes some work. You could join every site mentioned here and still not make one acquaintance. You must make the decision to be an active member whether its online or in person. How? Genuially reach out to get to know members. A great way is to Ask questions.

Remember--never say anything online that you wouldn't say to your most important client. As long as your posts and discussions have integrity and professionalism, you are on your way to creating the perfect professional online networking group.