Tips for Mom Entrepreneurs: How to Stay Connected to Your Network

As a working mom, you may already feel overwhelmed, juggling dual responsibilities of work and family. When it comes to networking – yet another task – you may feel that “the time I’ve spent at networking has never really paid off.”

Creating a personal and professional network is essential for your work + life success. That’s why working moms need to approach networking with a different paradigm, explained below as a three-part process.

Relationship Building
Networking isn’t just about collecting business cards from people you think may help you. It’s about planting seeds and nurturing long-term relationships that mature over time.

As a mom, you may understand this process well because it calls upon the same nurturing skills you already use with your family.

Empowering Actions
How many times have you attended networking events and seen others jabber on about themselves and frantically hand out dozens, if not hundreds, of their cards? This frenetic approach only makes them look weak. As a working mom, draw on that “Mommy” authority to engage in empowering, networking actions.

They include:
* Give – Adopt a giving attitude. When you meet someone ask, “How can I help you?” Always think, “Who could I connect them with to help them meet their goals?” It’s a natural principle: The more you help others, the more others will help you.

* Ask – Be bold. Always think, “you never know what will happen” and “it’s worth a try.” If you meet a new contact and find you have an instant connection, don’t be afraid to ask for help.

* Follow up – Getting introduced to the “right” people is important, but it’s what you do after the introduction that really counts. If you’ve felt a connection with a new contact, phone, email or send a thank-you note within one or two days. Then, keep in touch periodically, even if just to say, “Hi, it’s been awhile…”

Efficient Use of Time
You may be thinking, “I’d like to stay connected with people, but I just don’t have the time.” Here are three ways to efficiently find time to network:

* Lunch Hours – I’ve historically used my lunch hour, a coveted ME time, to run errands, walk a mile or two or get my hair or nails done. Yet, many associations and groups schedule networking meetings during this time. So, I began to add networking lunches. It’s a great way to preserve early-morning and evening family hours by substituting networking lunches for breakfast meetings or evening mixers!

* “Coffee/lunch over the phone” – My business partner, Jo Della Penna, introduced me to the idea of networking by scheduling “coffee over the phone”. What a great idea! This is a more efficient way to meet. Plus, neither party has to invest in driving time. When you want to spend time with a colleague, try a relaxing “lunch over the phone” by scheduling a lunch appointment, packing a lunch that day and calling at the appointed time.

* Schedule in advance – Earmark your calendar to remind yourself to re-connect with a contact periodically. If you meet a new contact today, schedule the follow up call for two days later and plan a “check-in” email within 60 days.

Remember, the key to networking is building a relationship over time. By using the steps above you should succeed at establishing good relationships that empower you and your business, and yet, don’t use hours and hours of your time.

Arm Your New Distributors for Success

“Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them.”

– William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act III, Scene i (58-90)

Hamlet may not have been talking about network marketing, but his words do apply. Almost every network marketer has experienced the “slings and arrows” of the naysayers, those often well-meaning friends and relatives that stand in the way of our making an “outrageous fortune!” Experienced network marketers, clothed in the armor of past success, are less vulnerable to outside influences. The new distributor, however, is vulnerable, and that “sea of troubles” can act as a barrier to reaching their true potential.

What did the knights of old do to prevent an injury? That’s right – they armed themselves. Their armor was heavy and cumbersome, and they needed a squire to help them prepare for battle. Well, the same is true for your new distributors. While the armor they must use is less cumbersome than that of the knights, you must help them arm themselves for success. In other words, you must be their squire.

What do I mean by “arming for success?”

When a new distributor joins your network marketing organization, they are moving into an environment that demands strong armor. There are a lot of “slings and arrows” that can hurt their chances for success and create a sea of troubles — of doubt, disbelief, even failure.

As Rich Dad, Poor Dad author Robert T. Kiyosaki points out, most people in this world are afraid to experience success. They are held back by negative thinking, and consequently suffer the pain of mediocrity. Because they have not been armed for success, and are more focused on security and survival, they subject themselves to a life of servitude and poverty and being someone else’s employee.

Arm your new distributors from negative thinking and potential disaster. How? By understanding why so many people are negative about network marketing and the prospects of the success it can bring.

Let’s face it. There are a lot of people out there that do not want you to become successful. When you are successful, you point out the lack of success in their lives. When you take away any excuses they’ve been hanging onto and you force them to look at their lives as they really are, it makes them very uncomfortable. You’ve heard of the expression “Misery loves company.” Well, it’s true.

Doug Firebaugh, network marketing guru, calls it the “Unspoken Understanding,” which is simply the silent agreement that most people have with each other, namely “don’t mention my mediocre life, and I won’t mention yours.” Your success and the success of your new distributors, just points out the naysayers’ mediocrity.

Leaders help others. If you are going to be successful in network marketing, you must arm your new distributors against people who will try to convince them their business won’t work. Show your downline you want them to be successful. Encourage them. Show them how the most successful network marketers have achieved their success, and teach them to model those attitudes, habits, and actions.

Affiliate Marketing – The Basics

Imagine that you could earn commissions on a popular brand-name product just by placing a link on your website or in your email. That, my friends, is “Affiliate Marketing”!

OK… So it’s not quite that simple, but it doesn’t have to be much more complicated either.

Let’s start with a few definitions. An advertiser, or merchant, is the company who is selling a product. An affiliate, sometimes referred to as a publisher or partner, is another person or company who assists in the promotion of the product and earns a commission for doing so. (That could be you!) In between is the account management service that partners the advertisers with the affiliates and keeps track of the sales and commissions.

If you want to become an affiliate, you first need to choose either a product you want to sell, or an account management service. You will end up with both, but the choice of one will determine the choice for the other. If you choose the product first, the advertiser will direct you to the account management service that they already work with. If you choose the account management service first, they will provide you with a list of merchants that they do business with.

To see if your favorite product or company offers an affiliate program, go to their website and check the menu bar or the bottom of the screen. Look around for the word “affiliate”. Click on that link, read about their program and requirements, and fill out their application. Some companies require specific types of websites to place their links on. They will email you all you need to know to get started.

If you don’t know what specific product you would like to promote, or if you want to promote several, I recommend browsing the participating merchants on the account management service’s website.

Try to stick to products or ideas that you are familiar with and passionate about. It will be much easier to market to your visitors if you can add value to the link you want them to click on. Personal recommendations or stories will get way better results than just a banner or solo text link. Give them a reason to “click here”.

Welcome to the world of Affiliate Marketing! Good luck with your new venture!