When you work from home, it can be challenging to feel the community spirit. When the holidays roll around, and people you know who work in offices are having meals and wearing Christmas jumpers, or dinners, launches and a range of other colleague events – it can look very appealing. But it can be difficult to create a network for yourself.
It can be tempting to refuse all video calls or don’t offer them as part of any of your packages. But the truth is that you will benefit from being seen as a real person and not just some well-written emails and good work. It adds more of a persona feel to your work, and the calls you take can build a deeper rapport with your clients. If you work in a team of remote people, you can schedule calls twice a month to help bring you and your group together.
Working from home saves a lot of money on offices, commuting, and more. You can look at your budget and see where you can fit in purchasing tickets for networking events, meals, and talks. It will give you the opportunity to meet people who are working in and around your industry. There can be new collaborations, clients, and even coaches in those groups. Some of the best events will be run by larger companies that have a vested interest in the local community. You could also travel to other cities to see if you like the freelance/small business scene there.
If you are finding that where you are currently is actually too far away from any events and networking events, it might be time to consider moving somewhere else. You can consider it better for your business for you to make a move to where things are happening in the local area. There are property developers that specifically aim to improve the sense of community when they are creating new builds. AVID is one of those very companies. So if you want to strengthen your support network from home, you might need to move to make it happen.
If you have a specific area of expertise, then maybe instead of attending events that are being run by others, consider creating your own. If you aren’t great at public speaking, or you don’t want to give up that much time. Then perhaps you might consider recording how-to videos and other guides. Not only is sharing your expertise going to cement your foothold in your own area, but it will give you extra content to share and potentially monetize.
Education and learning during your career are essential. The world changes quickly, and if you have anything to do in the tech realm (and almost all of us are to some degree), you are going to want to keep your self as up to date on changes and new developments as possible. Booking a place on courses in either thing that will improve your knowledge in your field, or even in a hobby that you simply enjoy will give you great satisfaction and the opportunity to meet people who have similar interests.
Many people consider a network only a business based thing. But building a support network can be a friendship group outside of your career. If you find that you are neglecting friendships, or that you are lonely, then it might be time to reach out. Many of us have Facebook with old school friends and work colleagues. Think about reaching out and asking if they want to grab a coffee sometime. Friends can be a significant source of winding down and inspiration simple just because you are enjoying the time you are spending with them.
Aside from being great for your business, social media can be extremely useful when it comes to building up links within your community, and globally. You can join in with specific hashtags and chats that fit with the framework of what you do. Rather than look at it as a purely marketing or advertising perspective, think about it on a personal level too. Twitter is a great place to make connections and join in with conversations. And the great thing about it is while you can do much of it in real-time, you can take a few hours away and go back and catch up when you have the time to do so.
Building your network might sound very business-like, but it will give you people to talk to when you are feeling a little lost in where to turn in your business, someone to have a coffee with, and exchange a quick 240 characters with too.