Updated: Mar 15
If you'd like to find out about where to network in person in SE London or about some great online resources hopefully this blog can help you.
What was the first thing you did after becoming a small business owner? Set up a business Instagram profile? Buy some business cards? Register for a web domain? All of those things are good, & necessary. But very quickly you start to realise that opening a business & staying in business are two totally different things, and one of the most important elements to success is meeting people.
When I set up Space at 61 almost three years ago I hadn't really done any networking and the word just turned my stomach. It made me think of people in suits forcing business cards on each other. That wasn't the sort of thing that felt natural to me.
But when you have a small business you realise that the more people you know the better. I founded my own networking group with the idea of bringing together like minded people for coffee, some interesting speakers & hopefully support for each other.
The group met for the first time back in October of 2017 and became a fully formed group from Jan 2018. It has been amazing for me and hopefully the people who have come along too! We have a facebook group you can join here if you'd like to come along.
Pictured - Emete Friddle of Friddles Cakes speaking at January 2019 First Fridays
This isn't an advert for my group but an article on what sorts of networking options I have found in the SE London area, and beyond via online sources. I hope it will help you as well.
CwS/Smart Business Networking - This group is organised by Chris Essex-Hill & Angela Burgess. Meets upstairs at Franklins, SE22 on the last Wednesday of every month (except August) 6.45pm to around 8.45pm to contact them firstname.lastname@example.org
The Flex Network - "The Flex Network - for everyone who is doing the work/life juggle, no matter the circumstances" Facebook group quote
This group was founded by Angharad Salazar Llewellyn who is a Freelancer herself. They have ad hoc meetings including evening events called Six Simple Steps, held at Spinach in East Dulwich. East Dulwich Business Womens Networking Lunch - Meets on the first wednesday of each month at Fifty Seven. This months speaker is Graham Le-Gall, the talk is on Communicating with Clients – The Power of Stories & Props. to book in go here
Rye Here Rye Now - This is a local group founded by Miho Aishima & Kat Garner that has just celebrated their 2nd birthday. Designed especially for those in the creative industries such as photography & graphic design. They meet monthly at John The Unicorn join their Facebook Group for next event details
Facebook groups are brilliant for networking opportunities. I really recommend Doing it for the Kids which is a national group founded by graphic designer Frankie Tortora for freelance & self-employed parents to connect. As she rightly says on her group introduction:
"Life as a freelancer is tough and unpredictable without children, throw kids into the mix and it’s potential chaos. Whether you’ve been self-employed for decades or jumped ship post-kiddos — there’s no doubt about it, working for yourself as a parent is HARD."
Doing it for the Kids now has a Podcast which is funny & full of useful information & they also hold meet ups every so often. The last one was at Hucktree White City & was packed with interesting people.
By joining in with these groups I have added so many new contacts to my circle, received enquiries for business, recommendations to others outside this group & made new friends too.
Networking may not feel like it will be the most natural thing to you, but dont let those nerves get the better of you, everyone is really nice, friendly, & most of all runs a small business they want to grow and succeed with, so you will be helping others by just joining in.
Hope to see you at an event soon!
P.S I'd love to know if you find any other great groups that are either on Facebook or happen in the SE London area.
Singing for my Supper
If you enjoyed reading this article and maybe others I've written, found a tip that worked for you or learned something new, it would be great if you'd consider sending me the price of a cup of coffee :) https://www.paypal.me/thanksforreading/2.50
Space at 61 is a venue for hire in Nunhead near Peckham. Often used for childrens parties, workshops, classes, talks, filming and popups you can hire us from £20per hour. The 'Have you Met?' Blog interview concept was created by by Shona Chambers owner of Space at 61 and Shona Chambers Marketing. To read more like this visit www.shonachambersmarketing.co.uk