In a nutshell, there are TWO viable options right now: work flexibly for someone else or be your own boss. In our freelancing series, we talk about the advantages of returning to work vs. starting your own business and in our flexibility series, we talk about how you get started on the road to flexible work.
Whatever you choose – one of the important things that you should be doing is networking. Networking comes in many forms, but here are two of the most common ones: you can find local organisations that do regular meetups OR you can attend live events, which are generally 1 to 3 days long, all day and packed with powerful speakers.
In the many years I’ve been in business, I’ve found both regular networking and live events very useful. What I love the most about live events is that you can learn a lot in a short amount of time. I have found them to be a source of inspiration and over the years and I’ve connected with several like-minded people and learned a TON.
For many women, going to networking events can be daunting. Remember that Amy Porterfield quote “If you don’t have the confidence, grab the courage.” Whether you have the confidence or not, it doesn’t matter – just taking that first step to register for the event, you are moving forwards. You are doing something for you – investing in your future – which may be the catalyst you need in order to return to work with a flexible contract or start your own business flexibly around your other commitments.
The Confucius saying is very true – “Tell me and I will forget, show me and I may remember; involve me and I will understand.” When you attend an event, you are actively involving yourself, pushing yourself forward to meet new people and take in as much as you can from the speakers. Yes – reading books and blogs, listening to podcasts and joining Facebook groups are all great, but nothing beats listening to a live panel discussion and chatting with like-minded people!
We are all short on time, so it’s important to get prepared before an event. Don’t waste your opportunity when you’re there! We’ve put together a few tips on how to get the most out of live events and conferences.
Tip #1: Make an effort to meet people and really get to know them
Let’s face it if you’re not networking at an event, it’s not worth your while being there. Events are fantastic to make new contacts and grow your network.
Yes networking. Did you shiver when you read that? You’re not the only one. It’s not always easy, sometimes it can be a tough crowd. You can however meet really interesting people. Even if they are not a direct lead for your business, they may know someone. Referrals are great.
One tip when networking is to avoid the hard sell and instead ask plenty of questions about the other person’s business. Let’s face it, there are plenty of people who love to talk about themselves. It’s a much more relaxing way to get to know someone. And in the process, you can work out if they would be a good potential client or not.
Tip #2: Practice your Magnetic One Liner
Sarah Lloyd-Hughes, who runs Game Changers, is one of my favourite people in the world. She is what I would call a super connector. Sarah believes very strongly in something called ‘Magnetic One Liners’, which is a fancy way of saying – tell me in one explosive sentence what you do.
My favourite one liner from one of Sarah’s Game Changers events is from Cindy Hoots, the Global Vice President of IT for Unilver: “Leveraging technology to have a meaningful impact on the lives of 1 billion people.”
Sarah’s own Magnetic One Liner is: “Creating an army of game changing leaders who are a force for good on this planet.”
Think big. If you could do one thing in this world with your job or your business what would it be? Who would you advocate for? Who would you help? What impact will that have on your local community, your country, the world?
My Magnetic One Liner is that “I help women gain confidence with technology in order to find flexible work they love so they can positively impact future generations.” You might have to try it a few times but when you get it, repeat it until you know it by heart so that when people ask, you know exactly what to say.
Tip #3: Talk about the event on Social Media
Any good event should be managing their social media carefully to build awareness before, during and after the event. This is your chance to get to know in advance what’s coming up and confirm whether they’re using a specific hashtags to promote the event. This means your networking can also start prior to the event. Start engaging with attendees who are connecting with the event’s social media activity. It’s a great ice breaker!
At the event itself, tweet away! You can help to amplify the key messages and it can be a great way to practice and showcase your social media skills. For example, you could live tweet during a particular panel discussion (post a picture and tag/mention the speakers and include a couple of key quotes). Instagram stories are another great way to document the fun, behind the scenes parts of the day. Don’t forget to use the mention and hasthag options on stories to let people know you are talking about them!
Tip #4: Blog about your experience afterwards
What better way to communicate to your market about what you have discovered at the event, than by writing a blog about the event. It can be a great way to document your experience and key takeaways. You never know the organisers and speakers might even promote it!
Don’t have a blog? No problem. LinkedIn is an excellent place to write articles and Facebook and Instagram both allow long form posts. So post your write up where you feel the most comfortable.
List of upcoming events:
Now that we’ve covered why you should attend events and given you a few tips on what to do to before, during and after events. Here are a few upcoming events which you don’t want to miss if you are looking for flexible work either for yourself or someone else.
And we’ll let you in on a little secret, I’m even speaking at a few of the events! If you decide to attend, please come say hi!
16 July 2019
If you’re in London, this could be a good event to attend. This 2-hour lunchtime event ‘Flex your work and future proof your career’ will share insights and practical tips to help you to focus on how to ‘flex’ your work and future proof your career. With speakers Sarah Broad, founder of Attune Flexible Jobs and Rachel Brushfield, founder of Energise – The Talent Liberation Company you’re in for a treat!
4 October 2019
TechPixies will be exhibiting at this inaugural event. We are excited about the speaker line-up, which includes our very own TechPixies Life Coach Jessica Rogers as well as Han-Son Lee is the founder of DaddiLife and Annie Aerbach who wrote FLEX: The Modern Woman’s Handbook. It is going to bring together prospective employees, returners and skilled individuals; connecting them with employers, re-trainers and flexible work options offering return to work schemes, phased integration back into work, flexible working, remote working, equal opportunities, retraining, recognition of transferable skills and real work opportunities catering to specific needs and skill sets. Wow that’s a lot!
9 October 2019
Joy will be speaking alongside keynote speaker Dame Helena Morrisey! This is a great event for anyone looking to return to work after a career break. Organised by the Really Helpful Club the day will consist of inspirational talks and practical Round Table discussions to help you rediscover and reconnect with the workplace.
16 October 2019
This is being held in Manchester and looks to be a one-stop-shop for all things flexible working! The event will be showcasing the flexible working industry with lots of speakers, workshops and exhibitors. As a recruitment specialist in flexible work, Find Your Flex Group will showcase employment opportunities, training courses, flexible franchise opportunities, career coaches and returnship programmes.
16-17 October 2019
What we love about this event, is that it will target four different groups of women in business: women looking for a career change who want to work for an employer; women looking to start a business or invest in a franchise; women who already have a business who want advice and guidance for growing it and making it more efficient; and mothers returning to work after having children.
8 March 2020
Joy will be speaking at this free virtual event. Commencing on 8 March 2020 in celebration of International Women’s Day, Women’s Business Club will host an exclusive business summit with 100 female company founders.
Looking for Flexible work you love?
You probably already know how important it is to up your game when it comes to your tech skills. Our CPD Certified Social Media Magic Summer School starts on 11 July.
What if you could confidently boost your tech skills and be ready for flexible work in just 8 short weeks? (even if you feel like a tech dinosaur and don’t know where to start?