Networking from Home: What You Need to Know
Networking from home — is it something that would actually benefit your virtual assistance career? You already make money from home, so why not expand your professional network from the comfort of your home office (or couch or bed) as well?
Networking professionally without leaving your home is a tricky thing, but it can be done. If you’re a virtual assistant whose main motivation for for doing remote work is that you want to do as many things as possible from the comfort of your home, then you will definitely prefer to do your networking at home as well.
From tips on online networking to ideas on what to expect, here’s a list of things that you need to be aware of if you’re thinking about networking from home.
Use online tools to make networking easier.
There are plenty of tools online that you can use for networking. Discover the hidden, or often overlooked, features of your social networks like Facebook Discover and you just might uncover a new tool you can use for expanding your professional network.
Be ready to face rejections.
People are harsher and ruder online; that’s an unavoidable fact. It’s much easier for people you approach online to outright reject or even block you. Prepare yourself for these rejections and learn how to keep yourself motivated through the experience.
Know where to look.
Ask your existing network for referrals. Maybe they know of Facebook groups or online forums you can join that can help you network professionally.
Don’t be annoying.
Don’t be that annoying person who messages once and asks for a favor then disappears out of thin air. In fact, don’t ask for favors or partnerships right off the bat. After all, slowly built relationships are sturdier and more valuable.
Build up your online presence.
A solid online presence which involves a high-quality online portfolio or website and professional-looking social media pages are incredibly important when proving your credibility to potential professional contacts.
Separate your professional and personal networks.
There’s a case for separating your professional and personal social media profiles. If you can’t keep the crazy stuff that happens in your professional life out of your Facebook or Twitter, then keep those accounts private and create a cleaner professional account that’s safe for public consumption.
Look for mutually beneficial relationships.
It’s easier to expand your network when they know that you can bring something to the table too. Make the relationship mutually beneficial and you’ve got yourself a long-lasting professional relationship.
If you send out hundreds of messages and then take over a week to respond to anyone who replies, then you’re doing it wrong. Always respond within 24 hours.
Make LinkedIn your favorite social network.
LinkedIn is a goldmine of professional contacts. Spend time making your LinkedIn profile polished, intelligent, and inviting. You’re definitely going to get so many professional contacts interested if you do this.
As mentioned before, people online can be unresponsive or downright rude, so don’t lose heart. If things don’t work out on your first try, keep trying!
Networking professionally brings plenty of benefits to VAs. Whether you’re an introvert who clams up at face-to-face networking events or you’re someone who lives far away from most networking event venues, the option to expand your networking without leaving the house is a welcome possibility.