Remote Networking is a Milspouse Superpower
What do you think of when you hear the term, “networking?” If you’re like me, you probably think of corporate folks sporting their biz-casual slacks, wearing sticky name tags and sipping cheap wine from little plastic cups. Errrr…sounds a bit schmoozey!
After feeling both the physical and community isolation of being stationed on the other side of the world, I began to realize that networking isn’t just an after-hours event. Specifically, remote networking — it’s not only necessary, but something you’re probably already doing!
Military spouses, in general, are really good at this and most don't even know it. What’s one of the first things you do when you find out your spouse is getting orders to a new location? If you’re like me, you start searching for and joining every FB group you can think of. Next, you might look for the official installation website and see what resources are listed that you can connect with.
From there, you start reaching out to friends and friends-of-friends who might have been or are currently stationed at this new base/post. We all feel fortunate when we actually know someone at the next location, but if not, the next best thing is knowing some one who knows someone or at least knows something. Your whole goal is to make connections and develop relationships before, during, and after you PCS. That's networking!
In a recent article in Legacy Magazine (be sure to check them out, if you don't know about this military spouse publication), I love how one military spouse phrased it,
Looking to amplify your personal brand and become your own remote-networking power house? All you have to do is take your military spouse resourcefulness and translate it to your professional and/or business goals. Here’s a few, easy remote-networking tips:
If you're seeking a new job, taking a career shift, starting a niche business, start researching the industry and the influencers in the industry.
Reach out and connect with the top influencers; follow them on Facebook and connect on LinkedIn. You can even connect with their connections.
Example: I’m a big fan of Simon Sinek and the Find Your WHY team. I really loved an interview I heard with one of the team members, Peter Docker, and and I’ve connected with him via social media! Peter’s even commented on some of my posts. It’s a big confidence boost!
Reach out and connect with other employees, colleagues, followers, group members, forum users, contributors, etc.
Create moments of genuine connection and interaction. Ask questions, comment on posts — seek out opportunities for engagement and reshare valuable content.
Don’t be afraid to send a DM, FM, PM, or IM (is that even a thing anymore??) to someone whom you’d like to directly connect with. Don’t be salesy, just be authentic and genuine. Tell them what you love about the industry, what you saw, what their doing, etc. I like sending people messages just to say how awesome they are and that I appreciate the work they’re doing in our field.
Research the trends in your industry. What are natural partnerships or collaborations that can happen with those trends?
Example: In my work through personal branding, I realized that personality tests are a good tool for self-assessment. I reached out to the creators of Milspo Gurus since they were using the Enneagram and tying it directly to the service-member lifestyle. They’re going to be helping me with a small portion of my Military Spouse Personal Branding course that’s launching Fall 2019!
Example: I also connected with Gems Collins who runs the THE ELITE ACADEMY FOR ENTREPRENEURIAL MILITARY SPOUSES and empowers milspouses to unleash their inner entrepreneur. I’m excited to send spouses from the branding course, who might be looking to take a deeper dive into entrepreneurship, right over to Gems.
Conferences and Meetups are a great way to meet like-minded people in your industry. But, in lieu of traveling, spending hard-earned dollars, and arranging childcare for the kiddos, you can attend online conferences and virtual meetups with your peers.
This year I attended the annual virtual Military Spouse Wellness Summit hosted by In-dependent.org - it was brilliant! “The summit brings subject matter experts together with military spouses for a week of wellness made easy, including podcast interviews, daily intention-setting, cooking demos, workouts, private interactions and accountability, fun giveaways, and more.” I’ve connected with lots of awesome folks via the summit!
What opportunities for networking exist at your current or upcoming duty station?
Use the spouse’s Facebook page for something good; reach out to the locals and find out what opportunities are available for networking and growing a career or business. Chances are there’s at least one resource that’s available either on or off base.
Check out your local Hiring Our Heroes - Military Spouse Professional Network. They provide military spouses with career development and networking opportunities in military communities around the world! If you’re in a location without a local chapter, you can always join the Virtual HOH-MSPN network. You don’t even have to be a current job-seeker — I’m not! I joined to connect with like-minded spouses and ongoing professional development opportunities.
What resources are available to military spouses no matter where you live?!
My favorite place to network and connect with fellow military spouses is The Paradigm Switch Network. “The TPS Network is a tool for inspiration, collaboration, relationship building, and direct access to our program offerings for every military spouse across the globe.” I’ve made so many genuine connections on there. I even found one of my independent contractors that joined my team this year, as well as others that have motivated and pushed me in directions I didn’t know I was capable of!
What remote networking tips can you share?
Every stepping stone along my entrepreneurial journey has been due to some interaction or connection I’ve made. In fact, I can’t think of a single turning point or milestone that wasn’t directly or indirectly influenced by a conversation, relationship, or heart-to-heart with someone in my line of business or a fellow entrepreneur. And most recently, as I’ve connected and networked specifically within my fellow milspouse community, I’ve grown leaps and bounds in my business.
No matter if you're stationed at one of the largest military installations in the world or you're on a remote island in the middle of nowhere, remote networking is so valuable! All the way in South Korea, I've made genuine connections with so many other like-minded milspouses and I've never even got to hug their necks (I'm a hugger). I still find so much value in conversing, sharing, collaborating, and partnering. And maybe, someday, I'll get to meet them for real. It's a small world, and an even smaller military community, and you never know where your next opportunity might come from!