NataliePace.com Home Page Article
Lunch Your Way to Profitability.
to Beat 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's about
people in home-based businesses, too, so you convince yourself it's work-related.
Or you get lost in research, i.e., surfing the web, and where did the day go?
I've been so busy! (How come I didn't make any money?)
The answer to this problem
is to join a networking group. Otherwise known as "relationship marketing",
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're going
to have your networking get-together sometime soon, it's easier to stay focused
on your work.
I've been a member of a
networking group for eighteen years. (It's very funny. When I'm at a meeting
and mention this fact, someone always comes over to me, wide-eyed and asks,
"So is it working for you?" Duh.)
The simple fact is networking
works if you work it. You can't just go to one meeting every other month, give
three people your business card, and wait for the phone to ring. If you're in
business for yourself, you have to make the phone ring in other people's offices.
The best way to make a networking group work for you is to remember these three
You've got to make a commitment of time and energy. 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't quit before you'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 "smash & grabbers" 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'm going to see again next Tuesday.
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 also
I'm going to see you being a leader -- big-time 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. If someone were referring a lot of business
your way, wouldn't you be on the lookout to return the favor as soon as
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'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'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'll look forward to seeing you on Tuesday!
If you follow these instructions,
you'll have so many new friendships, clients, and referrals, you won't remember
what loneliness was like. And there's a side benefit. You'll make a lot of money,
too. Just remember it's not net-sit. It's not net-eat. It's net-work!
So, what are you doing
is the creator of the Financial Stress Reduction® Workshops, and author
of The Wealthy Spirit and Zero to Zillionaire. She has been prominently quoted
as a financial expert in the Los Angeles Times, Good Housekeeping, Lifetime,
Essence, Woman’s World and more than 50 popular books. She can be reached at