When I first became self-employed (back in 2008) I was a twenty-something mother, juggling a business, a home and a two year old. I was very new to it all, and needed support and advice. So, I did what every good business owner should, and booked myself in to networking groups. I knew that this was the only way I would get to know other businesses, and the only way to grow my customer base. The thing is, I never really discovered the benefits and I soon found myself missing meetings and then cutting ties altogether.
This wasn’t because I never found people helpful or incredibly friendly, it was because I never truly felt that any of these groups catered for a person like me. I always felt very isolated in my challenges as a mother running a business, and it just didn’t seem appropriate to be discussing this or sharing parenting ideas alongside the business talk.
Another major issue I came across was childcare. With no one to care for my toddler, I often missed networking opportunities and ended up feeling like I was failing in one way or another – a lose-lose situation.
Nine years later, here I am planning my very own business networking group called Connect, that hopes to plug the gap and offer a fresh new opportunity to parents in business. So, what makes Connect different and how will business owners (who also happen to be parents) benefit?
- Meet other parents in business – Chat to people in the same boat as you, share ideas and find answers to questions like ‘What’s the best way to get as much done as possible during your child’s nap time?’
- A friendly platform – Perhaps you are currently on maternity leave and are thinking about taking the plunge and starting your own business. Or maybe you have a new idea you’d like to run by a group of like-minded people to gauge it’s success? Connect offers you a friendly, non-judgemental place to gather confidence in your business ideas.
- Child-friendly! If you’re struggling to get out and network because you haven’t got childcare (or you usually work from home whilst your little one plays/causes havoc in the background), then this is for you! Please come along and bring your minis with you. We will have a dedicated toy corner and a bunch of tolerant people who all ‘get it’.
- Helpful guest speakers: At each of our events we aim to send you home with helpful tips and useful information to help you improve your business. We welcome your ideas and will book specialists to cover areas that you need to hear about, be it accounting, legalities or social media. At our first event, we have the lovely ladies from Piece of Cake Marketing offering us a social media surgery and top tips to help us know our tweets from our pins.
- Build up your little black book: Get to know who does what and how you can mutually benefit each other. Build up your contacts and start to gain new customers from recommendations.