Top five tips for networking when you work from home

Growth and strategy

10 March 2016

Networking can be a big source of business growth when you're an independent freelancer. But it's also a good way to get out of the house, get fresh perspectives and advice, and increase your confidence.

In a recent survey of self-employed professionals*, we found that, surprisingly, the majority (63%) aren't members of any sort of business networking group. If you're one of the 10% that are planning to start networking, however, here are some quick tips to help you get the most out of it.

Work from a different location

Co-working spaces offer similar perks to a fixed office. As well as enjoying a convivial atmosphere, you can also discuss challenges and strategies with other industry professionals. And if you really want a change of scenery, you can jet off on a co-working holiday. Options like Cowork Worldwide, Hacker Paradise and Livit Spaces make it easy to work abroad while enjoying the company of like-minded entrepreneurs.

Attend industry events

From informal talks in coffee shops to major conferences, industry events offer more than just personal development. As well as industry peers, there's likely to be a contingent of managers from companies preparing to delve into your space. Strike up a conversation and don’t be afraid to seek guidance and offer your assistance.

Don't underestimate social media

You don't need to leave the house to network. LinkedIn and Twitter are great places to start conversations. Follow local businesses that you're interested in working with and start building relationships. Facebook is a surprisingly good resource, too – 15% of the networking homeworkers we surveyed said they use the social media site. Search for groups and events geared towards homeworkers and digital nomads in your area. Meetup.com is another good site for networking, featuring casual interest groups as well as business networks.

Think outside the box

Don't limit yourself to your niche. Attend events geared towards other relevant professions, or simply talk to people working in different roles. If you're a front-end designer you're unlikely to get more work from other designers with the same specialism. Web developers, on the other hand, might have a client who's looking for your services – or they might want to hire you themselves.

Always be prepared

You never know when an opportunity to network might pop up – so always carry a few business cards with you, and have your 'elevator pitch' memorised. Being prepared means you're more likely to make a good impression and gain a useful contact.

What’s your best networking tip? Start networking now and share it with your peers in the comments below.

*Based on a study of 330 professionals working from home conducted by AXA Business Insurance in January 2016.