You cannot spend your time more productively than in building a network of other entrepreneurial women to advise, support and guide you – and vice versa. Here are some ways to get your networking going.Entrepreneurs spend so much time IN their businesses, they can forget to spend time focusing ON their business. It’s easy to lose sight of the big picture when you’re stuck in the weeds all day. That’s one reason why it’s so important to have a support network of other entrepreneurial women. But how do you build one?
Here are five resources to get you started.
1) eWomenNetwork is devoted to entrepreneurial women. Monthly lunches in a bunch of cities allow women to connect and practice their elevator pitches on one another. In my experience, eWomenNetwork is especially valuable for B-to-C entrepreneurs. If there isn’t a branch in your area, you can even start one! There is an initiation fee and then monthly membership, plus the cost of the lunches. Go with a friend, if you’re shy!
2) Meetup.com is a website devoted to helping like-minded people get together physically (I mean – for business networking! There are other sites for other kinds of get-togethers!). You go to Meetup.com, choose your location, and then browse the roster of various gatherings that have been scheduled. I found a Rat Lovers meetup in Boulder (I won’t be attending that one) and zillions of others. You don’t have to pay to browse events, sign up or attend an event, but you have to take out a $12/month membership to set up an event of your own. Check it out!
3) WorldWIT (full disclosure: I lead this group) is a professional women’s network with chapters in 80 regions across the U.S. and abroad. Membership is free. There is a daily (M-F) moderated email discussion group in each chapter which members can use to give and get business advice, marketing, technical, financial, and “life” advice. WorldWIT also holds face-to-face events in bunches of cities, and an annual conference called Camp WorldWIT. www.worldwit.org
4) LinkedIn is a huge networking database with over six million users. It takes two minutes to set up a profile, and then you can start connecting to people you know who already use LinkedIn or inviting friends from your address book. You can reach out to other LinkedIn users to suggest local get-togethers. Basic membership is free.
5) Yahoogroups is the ticket if you want to launch your own local women’s entrepreneurial group. Membership is free – create an email group, name it, invite your friends, and start chattin’! Once you have a decent-sized group, you can suggest a face-to-face meeting. Yahoogroups has recently added an html digest format and other new features, and you can upload files and photos too. What’s not to like?
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