I don't have a single "friend" on MySpace, I'm not LinkedIn, the iChat feature on my MacBook is mostly used to tell my boys it's time for dinner, and I'm all thumbs when it comes to texting. I'm a mom first and foremost, so I try to keep my tech time directly related to getting my work done. But I firmly believe that good old fashioned networking is a key ingredient to successfully working from home.
Those who work from home can fall prey to isolation pretty easily. Therefore networking is important not only for what it can do for your business, but also for the results it can have upon your psyche and overall emotional well being.
Having been at my online "job" for nearly eight years, I've developed a tremendous network of colleagues – those who do work similar to mine and who do it very well. We turn to one another for support, encouragement, ideas and a sounding board. One of these friends, an author, recently trusted this tightly knit group enough to send around a piece she was drafting for comments. Her effort was rewarded with thoughtful suggestions from several other talented minds with the end result being an amazing piece of writing.
Find a Coach
I'm fortunate to have a few mentors whose role model I try to emulate in the work I do. I follow their work closely, keep my eyes and ears open, and reach out to them for advice and direction. One of my mentors, Mike St. Pierre of The Daily Saint, actually provided the inspiration for this blog by his example and a series of opportunities he provided me to write on the topics of GTD and productivity.
Keep Reaching Out
Like the song says, "Make new friends, but keep the old…". Networking is a task that is never checked off the list – it continues to grow and to reap dividends. A great example of this is an email I had this week from Craig Huggart of the fabulous new blog Tech Rest. Craig and I both had the good fortune of being mentioned recently on The Daily Saint. Craig kindly emailed me after his visit to my blog sharing feedback and ideas. Craig's writing on technology and rest has now become part of my morning reading – I'm delighted to have another friend to turn to for counsel.
Home-work for Today:
- Look for others doing work you admire and send them a brief, polite (non-stalking) introductory email offering support and encouragement.
- Visit blogs, podcasts, or sites you admire and comment.
- Look for opportunities to say "yes" to networking. We're all busy, but taking time to be generous and supportive to someone who reaches out to you will frequently pay off.
Making Working From Home Work
Reading Room Resources:
(Recent blog posts relevant to working at home)
When Not to Use Email
The Art of a 5 Sentence email
24 More Freelancing Tips
How To Sound More Confident Next Time You Make a Phone Call
This post also appears today on my blog Productivity at Home .