Networking is an important part of any business.
You need to network if you want to grow your virtual assistant business. Networking in your local area can be especially important, as it gives you local connections in your community and it might be easier for you to get local clients than international clients when you are just starting out in your VA journey. On top of that, it can also be fun and puts you in touch with people who have an understanding of what it’s like to do business in the community that you are also doing business in.
If you are unsure about how to get started, here are five ways you can network in your local community:
1. Get Out There
This is number one! Go out into your community and meet people and other business owners who are out there, whether or not they are similar to yours. You can check if your town or city has a chamber of commerce to help you get together with some of the local businesses.
Go to fundraisers & charity events to meet people. Remember, this isn’t the place to be selling your business, but you can meet other people this way and those connections can eventually lead to referrals & further connections. Even just going out to the golf course or taking a crafting class is a great way to network and meet people with similar interests to you.
It doesn’t have to be a business relationship when you network with people. Anyone who is going to spread the word about your business is part of your network.
2. Get a Second Look
When you meet someone at a special event or a fundraiser, you want to get a second look at them and see if they really are on the same page as you. You should not set up a cup of coffee meeting with everyone you meet but for those that you feel you might want a deeper connection with, go ahead and set up a plan then and there to meet up at the coffee shop in a few days or so. Taking action immediately prevents you from backing out of the plan altogether.
3. Help Others in Your Network
Remember to help those out who you are in a networking relationship with. Don’t only contact them when you need help. A good healthy relationship is a two-way street. Offer to help out whenever you can.
Avoid these 6 mistakes when networking!
4. Use Your Existing Network
Take a close look at your existing contacts. You might already have people you can network with locally that will help you grow your business. They might also have a network that could be beneficial to you to help grow your business. Drop a post in virtual assistant groups on Facebook or LinkedIn and ask if anyone is in your area then connect with them and arrange a meetup. If you are a mom, invite other moms from school over for coffee & cake. They might be a work from home mom just like you.
5. Maintain Those Relationships
Keep up with your network. You want to have about 5-10 strategic relationships that you are always checking in on and nurturing. Make sure you interact regularly and that it’s as good for them as it is for you. Follow your contacts on social media, support them by subscribing to their newsletters & purchasing some of their paid products. (Tip: This is also great for affiliate marketing!)
Remember to always re-evaluate your network and your needs, and perhaps even the needs of the people you have in your network. However, if you find that someone is being too needy, it might be worthwhile for you to cut that person loose. Don’t burn bridges but be mindful of what you need & what you are able to give.
Now go out and start finding local networking events in your area!
Watch this quick summary video: