Working from home comes with a plethora of benefits including low to no overhead, the convenience of creating your own schedule, and working in a space where you can best focus on a project. However, there are also some relatively large drawbacks when you work in isolation, including a lack of effective networking opportunities. Having a hard time creating relationships with thought leaders and influencers in your industry? Here are some fool-proof ways that you can connect with important people in your field while managing your workload remotely:
1) Find relevant online groups
One of the greatest benefits of the Internet is its capacity to bring like-minded people together. The hard part isn’t necessarily finding a group; it’s deciding which ones to follow! On Linkedin, search in the “Interests” category to determine which group best suits what you’re looking for. If you can’t find one that fits, you might consider starting your own. Another good resource for finding relevant groups and influencers is Twitter. Click on a category of interest and follow leading players. From there, comment on their tweets or start a chat of your own. You may also consider following some blogs written by successful people in your field. Many times, they’ll share great tips and advice to follow. Leave a comment at the end of their blog and it’s likely they’ll respond. The possibilities are endless when it comes to the online communities that are available.
2) Attend events
It’s nice to chat online and join in discussions, but let’s face it: nothing makes as big an impression as face-to-face meetings. Websites like The Fetch gather important events in major cities around the world so that you can meet with others in your industry. If you don’t live near one of these metropolises, don’t worry. You still can attend chamber mixers, conferences, or special interest clubs in your own demographic through meetups that highlight events within a certain radius of your specific city.
3) Connect with friends (and their friends)
Whether you realize it or not, every friend you have on Facebook and every person you chat with at a party is part of your networking strategy. Think of it like this: if you have 300 friends on Facebook and each of those friends has 300 friends, you are just two steps away from thousands of people who could potentially impact your career. So make your dreams and what you do for a living known! Who knows if your high school buddy has a friend at Lucas Films or a cousin at Amazon that would be willing to give you a few pointers as to how to enter their companies.
4) Leave an online trail
Another way to meet professionals in your field is to leave a strong paper trail on the Internet. Publish your works on Articlebase, Tumblr, Google+, or LinkedIn. Create a blog to shares your professional tips and insights, and share your posts on Twitter or Facebook. Get your name out there and let others in your field find you while they’re scanning through search engine results. (Another benefit to this: you will establish credibility in your field by the knowledge you share.)
It can be difficult to connect with others in your industry when working from home, but reaching your professional potential and creating success are both tied to the business relationships that you create. Keeping up to date in your field and finding future job opportunities will depend on the people that you know or reach out to. It may take a little extra time, but the benefits will far outweigh the sacrifice.
About our writer // Christina Morales is a freelance writer specializing in creating online marketing content. Her dream is to one day rule the world with just an iPad, a case of Cherry Coke, Twizzlers, and a glue gun.