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Making connections and networking is an essential part of growing your business or blog. But, as a busy mom, it can be hard to
find make time to connect with others.
For me, leaving the house with nine kids to go meet and greet isn’t happening. Especially since I live way out in the boonies. There’s not much networking going on here with the cows and chickens!
And while I know how to make time for phone calls in a busy house, I hate talking on the phone. It’s not really how I want to connect with others!
So what’s a busy mom to do?
Well, here are seven networking tips that I’ve found useful, even during this crazy stage of life. I hope they help you make some connections and grow your business
Then at the end, I’ll share seven ways to connect with others without leaving the house.
Ready? Let’s dive into networking…
1. Make Networking a Priority
Networking is one of those tasks that can easily get pushed aside if you don’t make it a priority. There are so many other urgent tasks that may seem more important at the time.
So, before you can network with others, you have to make it a priority. Make it an essential task for your business on a regular basis.
Write it on your calendar, put a note in your planner, set a reminder on your phone or use a sticky note. The method you use of reminding yourself isn’t as important. What matters is that you put it into your plan.
And then keep that plan. Make networking happen. It will take effort and time, but it will be worthwhile.
Of course, this means you may have to give up another activity. Or do some more streamlining. This post can help with that:
2. Take Baby Steps
You can’t dive into networking head first and not get overwhelmed.
There are so many different options available, you may feel like you need to do everything right away. Remind yourself that you don’t. Taking baby steps is the sustainable way to building relationships.
Take it one step at a time. Ease yourself into the world of networking.
If you’re a naturally shy person like I am, this is particularly important. I wasn’t on social media at all before starting my freelance career, and then once I started, I made the mistake of listening to the “experts” and dabbled in most of the major platforms.
I couldn’t keep up. And so I quit trying.
Then, after some serious contemplation and boundary setting, I decided to try again. I went slowly this time.
I started with Twitter and Facebook. Then I tackled Pinterest. I joined Instagram.
As I learned new strategies, I was able to see what worked. So I pivoted my efforts. Since I never really figured out Twitter, it’s not a platform I really focus on now. I much prefer connecting with people on other platforms.
When you only have so much time to network, you have to pour it into what’s working.
Just keep taking your baby steps. Eventually you will see that you’ve connected with a lot of people.
3. Remember to Give
Giving is a huge part of networking. You can’t build a relationship if you’re only worried about what’s in it for you. If you try to do that, you’ll wind up being thought of as one of those whiny friends who no one actually wants to be around. That’s not good!
Take time to answer questions when you can. Share your knowledge and expertise with others, and offer encouragement. Spend time building people up, even if you won’t get anything in return.
Of course, you can sprinkle your own offers and requests for help in. But, that shouldn’t be the majority of your posts.
Bottom line? Don’t ignore everyone until you need something and then expect everyone to run to your rescue!
4. Connect with Other Moms
Being a freelancing mom comes with its own unique set of challenges. It’s a unique situation that not everyone can easily identify with.
I’ve loved connecting with some other freelancing mamas. They understand the struggles of trying to balance work and life with kids. They understand kids interrupting Zoom meetings and last minute cancellations for a trip to the ER for stitches.
Everyone should find someone in a similar life situation to try and connect with and build a friendly relationship with. I’ve even found other freelancing mamas with lots of kids. They really get my life, and I understand theirs.
Go where your people hang out, and try to make some new friends.
5. Don’t Limit Yourself
As wonderful as it is to connect with other freelancing moms, I don’t want to limit my connections to them. It’s a big world out there, and connecting with people with different life circumstances is important.
After all, a big point of networking is to find work. You want to reach out and branch out of your closest comfort zone a bit. That way you cast a bigger net!
If this scares you, just start small again. Reach out to someone in a different life stage and start that connection. It does get easier over time!
6. Remember to Maintain Relationships
Instead of always looking for new people to network with, remember to maintain the relationships you’ve already built. When life gets crazy, it’s an easy thing to drop, but it’s so important.
Here are a couple of quick ways you can help maintain this:
- Share one of their blog posts
- Comment on blog posts
- Send an email thanking someone for something they wrote/said that helpd
- Email a client and ask if there is anything else they need help with
- Send a quick message asking how this person is doing
- React to social media posts
None of these activities take a lot of time, but they do help to show that you value this person.
7. If At First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again!
Maybe the first Facebook Group you joined was a disaster.
Perhaps you didn’t make a connection with anyone in the course you took.
It doesn’t mean that you stink at networking. (Even if that’s what I thought at first, especially because of my introverted nature!) Don’t let it get you down and definitely don’t give up.
Keep giving. Continue reaching out. There will be nos. But there will also be yeses!
You will find your place in the big online world. You just might have to keep trying.
7 Ways to Network as a Busy Mom
Now that you have some tips for how to network as a busy mom, here is quick look at seven ways you can network without leaving the home.
1. Join Facebook Groups
I really love Facebook Groups. I’ve met a lot of incredible people in them, and the vast majority of my freelance work now comes from referrals from people I met in those groups.
Here are five of my favorites:
- Growing a Business While Raising a Family (my group!)
- Mom to Mompreneur
- Blogging with Heart
- Freelancing Females
- Pinterest Ninjas
Find some groups and start making some connections. You never know what can come from those!
You can also start your own Facebook Group. This can be a great place to funnel people into with some marketing.
2. Use Social Media
I know that Facebook Groups are a part of social media, but they needed their own space. 😀
Where do people you want to network with hang out? What platforms are they on? Go there.
Sign up for an account, and start connecting. Take time to comment on posts and engage with them.
But, don’t turn into a stalker, okay? That’s creepy.
Share thought provoking content. Curate quality articles to share. Post a pic with some “behind the scenes” reality. You don’t want your feed to give the impression that you’re perfect and have everything all put together.
Most of all, be genuine. Let your personality shine through. And over time, you will find opportunities. Make sure you take them. Don’t let fear hold you back from sharing an offer.
3. Ask for Introductions
Who do the people you know know?
Reach out to your existing network, and tell them about what you’re doing. Ask them to share the info with anyone they know who may need your services.
You can post this on your personal Facebook page. Or email someone who you know who is well connected.
It will feel strange at first, but be brave and put yourself out there.
4. Send Video Messages
If you’re sending auto direct messages to all your new followers, please stop. It’s definitely coming off as spammy.
But, you can send personalized video messages. Just take a moment to scan their profile and record a quick video saying something along these lines:
“Hey (name) thanks so much for following me. I’m looking forward to connecting with you here on (platform).”
This opens the door to further conversation, since it’s directed to them and not a blast you send to everyone.
As you get to know people, you can send video messages about possible collaborations or more.
5. Invite People for Zoom Coffee
With the quarantine still going, there’s a lot of loneliness going on right now. It’s a great opportunity to connect virtually with others for a Zoom Coffee meeting, since you probably can’t go grab a real one together.
The benefit of this is that you can connect with people outside of your geographical area. There’s a lot bigger pool of candidates!
Who in your network can you reach out to and ask to join you? You can make it a larger work session, or a smaller group.
Put the invite out to your network and see who joins you. It could even become a regular event…
If you need ideas for engaging your kids while you’re on your Zoom, here is a post that can help:
6. Join Slack
One of my clients uses Slack for the team. It’s a good way to stay connected throughout the day.
But, there are also tons of communities for freelancers and other remote workers. Join some and see who you can connect with.
Leaving Work Behind has a list of the Best Slack Communities for Freelancers you should check out. Pick one or two to get started with and see what you think. You can always join more groups later.
7. Connect with Your Chamber of Commerce
Just because you can connect with the whole world doesn’t mean you should forget about the people close by.
Join your local Chamber of Commerce. They may have networking events (some may even be virtual!).
You might have advertising opportunities or the ability to donate to an event. These can all help get the word out about you and your business, which is a good thing.
Networking Is Necessary
You can’t grow your business isolated. You need other people. Whether they become your clients or customers, or friends, connections with others is so important.
So don’t forget to network as you try to grow a business while raising your family. It can lead to remarkable opportunities…
And if you need more help making time to network, check out my course, Balancing Diapers and Deadlines. It can help!
Lisa Tanner is a former teacher turned homeschooling mom with 11 kids. She's also a successful freelance writer. Lisa enjoys helping other busy moms find time to start and grow a side hustle of their own.