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Top 10 Networking Tips For Work-At-Home Professionals

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The success of your work-at-home endeavor depends on your contacts - current and prospective clients, and people who can refer clients to you.
Rather than keeping to yourself and staying cooped up in your home office all day, it is important that you get out and network to keep your existing contacts and make new ones.

Here are 10 Tips to help you network effectively.

1. Be Prepared To Network Anytime And Anywhere

Networking opportunities can present themselves where you least expect them, so you should always be prepared to network wherever you go.
Even if you don’t need to wear suits at home, you should take care to always look presentable when you leave your house. You are the face of your business, so wearing your pajamas while grocery shopping won’t cut it.
It’s also good practice to always keep a few business cards in your wallet or purse to give out.

2. Follow-Up On Invitations

Always follow-up on your first meetings with a friendly email or phone call. Many networking opportunities start with a very subtle invitation to do business in the future - for example; another business person might mention they are interested in seeing more of your work or learning more about what you have to offer.
Be sure to request a business card or contact details (and share your own!) and make contact the next day.

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3. Keep In Touch With Existing Contacts

When you leave the office to work from home, you lose your entire network of friends and business contacts if you don’t make the effort to stay in touch with them.
The more time you allow to pass, the less you’ll have to talk about - so call, make plans, and keep regular contact with your old co-workers.
You never know when they might call on you for your services or have someone to referred to you.

4. Ask For Introductions And Opportunities

Sometimes you have to ask to create opportunities. Ask close friends in the same profession to introduce you to people who might be able to help you.
If a client is particularly happy with the work you have done for them, ask them if they know anyone else who might need your services, and if they would be willing to refer you to their friends or write you a testimonial.
Make sure not to take any rejections you receive personally and get over them as soon as possible. Rejections are part of doing business, and you can make up for them through the opportunities you are able to create for yourself by having the courage to ask for them.

5. Use Social Media And Instant Messengers

Use social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, or an instant messaging service like Skype to keep in touch with old friends and coworkers.
Use your status updates to keep people up-to-date on what you’re doing professionally, and send messages to people you haven’t seen in a while to maintain contact with them.
Your posts might create opportunities for you when someone sees them and realizes that they can help you in some way.

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6. Say 'YES' To Invitations

Even if you aren’t a social person, you should still make an effort to attend events that people invite you to. You never know who you might meet and the potential contacts you might make in your industry.

7. Make Personal Gestures

Your communication with your business contacts does not always have to be business-related. You can build much stronger relationships with others by doing personal things for them. For example; when you send follow-up emails to new contacts you are given the opportunity to say 'hello'. Instead of referring them to your website, you might send them an article that is not connected to you but one they may find useful, constructive, and interesting.

8. Think Two-Way Relationships

Don’t just think and talk about yourself. Remember to engage in two-way relationships, and stay alert for opportunities for others. One essential trait to building a great network is helping others to achieve success. In turn, they may help you too, although you should not expect this from everyone you help.
Even if they aren’t successful with the opportunity you shared with them, they will still appreciate your gesture, and your relationship will be strengthened.

9. Show Your Appreciation

When someone passes a referral or opportunity your way, be sure to sincerely thank them, regardless of whether or not their gesture gave you more business.
This particular tip is important for maintaining good relationships with others.

10. Join Clubs And Organizations

Meeting new people is essential to growing your business. You’ll be exposed to many more networking opportunities if you join different groups of people to connect with.
While it is particularly useful to join groups that are related to your profession or are in your general business field, joining something that you are simply interested in can still be useful.
It’s easier to connect with people that you have things in common with.

Follow these networking tips and watch your business opportunities increase!

To your success,
Jonny Tyson

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