May 7, 2010The Loneliness of the Home-based Business Person
The Loneliness of the Home-based Business Person
If you are in business for yourself and working from home, you are likely to get lonely sometimes. You have no office cohorts, no company cafeteria, no water-cooler or lunchroom to hang out in and chat with folks to ease a stressful day. The evil temptations arise then: somehow the refrigerator door opens of its own accord and ice cream jumps out into your bowl as if by magic. The television or radio clicks on (by itself) and that talk show is just so interesting today, and look! It#146;s about people in home-based businesses, too, so you convince yourself it#146;s work-related. Or you get lost in research, i.e., surfing the web#133;ahhh, and where did the day go? I#146;ve been so busy! (How come I didn#146;t make any money?)
The answer to this problem is to join a networking group. Otherwise known as #147;relationship marketing#148;, networking at its best is fun, meeting good friends over a good meal and referring business to each other wherever possible. It is a support group of like-minded business people who cheer each other on to ever-greater successes. When everyone in the group is focused on finding referrals for everyone else in the group, the result is lots of business for everyone! And when you know you#146;re going to have your networking get-together sometime soon, it#146;s easier to stay focused on your work.
I#146;ve been a member of a networking group for seventeen years. (It#146;s very funny when I#146;m at a meeting and mention this fact#151;someone always comes over to me, wide-eyed and asks, #147;So is it working for you?#148; Duh.)
The simple fact is networking works if you work it. You can#146;t just go to one meeting every other month, give three people your business card, and wait for the phone to ring. If you#146;re in business for yourself, you have to make the phone ring in other people#146;s offices. The best way to make a networking group work for you is to remember these three simple principles:
Visibility: You#146;ve got to make a commitment of time and energy#151;pick a group, a regular meeting schedule, and show up consistently. People begin to develop trust in you when you are a regular attendee of a meeting. It takes some time for this to happen, so don#146;t quit before you#146;ve given it a full year of consistent effort. When people just show up a few times and then stop coming, I refer to them as #147;smash grabbers#148; like the burglars who smash a window, grab all they can in a few short minutes, and then disappear. I want to do business with people I#146;m going to see again next Tuesday.
Credibility: Do a good job, honestly and with integrity. Be professional, always return phone calls, be on time, keep your word. If you can, join a committee, work on the board of directors, become an officer. That will increase your visibility and at the same time people will see you are a contributor to the success of the organization (not only am I going to see you next Tuesday, but I#146;m going to see you being a
#151;bigtime credibility.) Look for the opportunity to refer business to as many other people in the group as possible. Call people and ask them what kind of clients are they looking for? What goes around comes around#151;if someone were referring a lot of business your way, wouldn#146;t you be on the lookout to return the favor as soon as possible?
Likeability: People do business with people they like. Not everyone in every group is going to be your best friend, but you can reach out, shake someone#146;s hand, and smile. Remember this is your opportunity to greet old friends and meet new ones. The temptation will be strong to find a few buddies and sit with them every meeting. Don#146;t do it! Pretend you are the hostess of the meeting and welcome the newcomer into your group. Do some positive affirmations and talk yourself up into good, friendly energy. Leave your complaints at home. Then I#146;ll look forward to seeing you on Tuesday!
If you follow these instructions, you#146;ll have so many new friendships, clients, and referrals, you won#146;t remember what loneliness was like. And there#146;s a side benefit#151;you#146;ll make a lot of money, too. Just remember it#146;s not net-sit, it#146;s not net-eat#151;it#146;s net-
So, what are you doing next Tuesday?
Chellie Campbell is the author of #147;The Wealthy Spirit: Daily Affirmations for Financial Stress Reduction". She created and teaches the Financial Stress Reductionreg; Workshops on which her book is based in the Los Angeles area and gives programs throughout the country. Her free e-newsletter is available at
. Permission granted for use on Dr.Laura.com.
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