When you work in a traditional business setting, it’s easy to network. It’s more convenient to interact with customers, colleagues, and clients face-to-face every day, allowing you to build sustainable professional relationships. When you work remotely, however, you may find yourself isolated or working in an unfamiliar environment where you don’t know anyone.
So, how can you network effectively? With more remote workers than ever, new networking strategies are being developed all the time. Here are 12 of our favorite options for creating a remote working network.
- Use Coworking Spaces
You may have a perfectly good workspace at home but it can be better for your career to get out and about on occasion. There are many good places to work remotely but perhaps the best is a coworking space. It’s here where you’ll find the most fellow digital nomads.
While in the common areas, be the first to strike up a conversation. Don’t wait for people to talk to you. This can be daunting at first but it’s both accepted and expected. You’re all remote workers and all, on some level, are open to network and connect. Lead the pack in making that happen.
- Attend Local Networking Events
To make networking easier, many cities host dedicated networking events. Since you can work from anywhere, choose a place with an abundance of these. For instance, if you’re interested in founding a start-up, then you’ll find more events related to this in Tallinn. If you work in science and research, then try Bansko.
The great thing about these kinds of events is that everyone is there for the same reason. You don’t have to feel self-conscious about getting your business card out or promoting your latest project. It’s like speed dating for professionals; a safe space to network.
- Join Facebook and LinkedIn Groups
When you can’t meet people physically, you can always meet them online. The best places to do this are Facebook and LinkedIn. The former is great because it’s still the most popular social media platform and one which is moving more towards groups and online communities. Of course, LinkedIn has a more professional focus that works for business people.
General remote working network groups are great but a little overcrowded. Try to find one that caters to workers in your city. This will allow you to arrange to meet in person. Also, find a group that is dedicated to your work sector. For instance, if you want to connect with other freelance travel writers, then research a group dedicated to it.
- Launch Your Website
It’s so easy to make a website these days that there’s really no excuse for not having one. This can be a simple one-page design that lists your skills, experience, and contact information. After setting up my own website, Thom Brown Travel, I found that my social media follows and contact requests went up quickly.
I don’t sell any products but I do publish blog posts to improve my rankings and ensure people always have a reason to visit my website. This then leads to my contact information. Start posting your link on forums and social media groups; stop chasing networking opportunities and let them come to you.
- Build a List of Email Contacts
As soon as your website is up and running, it’s time to start collecting emails. A simple popup doesn’t have to be annoying. Just explain what you’re offering and ask if people would like to be contacted via email. If they want to work with you, then they’re bound to add themselves to your email contact list.
Once they do, you can start sending email newsletters describing what you’re up to. If you have any products to sell, then list them here. If you don’t, then your call-to-action can be something along the lines of “get in touch if you want to work together.” You never know who might reach out.
- Attend Social Events
Networking can happen just as easily in social situations as it can in dedicated business settings. Spend your evenings meeting new people by attending social events. These can be found on social media but you could also try organizing them yourself.
For instance, maybe you already know someone nearby. Why not invite them out for a drink or coffee? When you’re out, do your best to make conversations with those around you. If make this a regular habit, you have a chance to start securing valuable phone numbers.
- Sign Up for Clubs Related To Your Hobbies
If you have any particular hobbies, then see if there are any clubs you can join near where you live. This could be a sports team, a chess club, a book group, or any other hobby. Whether it’s something you’ve always been interested in or a new skill you’d like to learn, don’t be afraid to take part.
Once you attend these events, you’ll meet new people. You’ll then continue to meet them on a regular basis, allowing you to build a closer relationship. At some point, your conversations will turn to the topic of work and you can start networking.
- Join Slack Communities
Slack is one of the most popular and useful remote work tools. You’ve probably already used it while working with a business. However, it can also be used as a valuable networking platform, giving you instant access to a pool of potential clients and business partners.
You can find Slack communities aimed at remote workers generally or specific types of digital nomads. These are useful to help you start building up a list of contacts and interacting with people in your industry. A Slack channel doesn’t have to be all business, either. Use it for casual conversation and making friends.
- Start Remote Work Meetups
You won’t be the only remote worker in your area. Wherever you go in the world, there will be a community of digital nomads waiting to be discovered. If you haven’t found any, then why not start a remote working network yourself?
The easiest way to do this is on social media. Put out a post explaining that you’d like to organize a meetup. Ask anyone who sees it to tag their remote work friends until you have enough people to organize a get-together. This not only creates the opportunity to network but also helps you stand out as a leader. Potential business partners will then gravitate towards you.
- Attend Conferences
Look out for conferences in the country you’re in. Go to talks, debates, and any other event where you might meet like-minded people. Try especially to attend conferences that involve key people from the industry in which you work.
At the very least, you’ll learn a lot by surrounding yourself with inspirational and successful people. Beyond that, though, you’ll have the opportunity to interact and communicate with fellow attendees. People in this situation are always more than happy to swap business cards.
- Engage with the Community
If you’re traveling often, then it can be hard to embed yourself in the local community. Instead, consider slowing down, spending more time in each place, and engaging with local people. That means rather than only hitting the tourist hotspots, go to local restaurants, talk to shop assistants, and become part of the community.
The more people you meet, the greater your chances of networking successfully. By becoming involved with the local community, you’ll build deeper and meaningful connections. These are the ones that will last and have the potential to lead to something great.
- Reach Out to People Online
Maybe you’ve recently read an article about your industry that excited you. Perhaps you listened to a podcast with an expert in your field. Rather than just consuming this content, why not contact the person involved? By emailing the author of that inspiring article, you’re putting yourself on their radar.
You don’t have to offer a working relationship immediately. Just tell them that you spotted their work and enjoyed it. Mention what you do, ask a couple of questions, and then wait for a response. Once you’ve sent a couple of messages back and forth, they’ll remember you and may just get in touch if a relevant opportunity arises.
Forming a remote working network isn’t an exact science. You have to put yourself out there as much as you can, strike up conversations, and create that special connection. As a remote worker, you may find yourself feeling lonely and isolated at times. Use one of the 12 tips above to help you satisfy your social cravings while advancing your career through networking.
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