If I said I’m busy iPhone networking would you know what I’m talking about? I run a freelance digital marketing business that provides a 2nd full time income for our household. The majority of the networking part of my business happens on the phone while I’m hanging out with my toddler. It’s a beautiful thing. Honestly, a year ago I wouldn’t have considered this a possibility.
Picture me right now: it’s 9pm. My two year old neeeeeds to be in my bed, and neeeeeds me to lay down with her. Every few moments she tries to distract me by being cute, but I firmly redirect her to sleep. Her hands are down my shirt even though she’s been weaned for 6 months, as if maybe I’ll decide she can start nursing again (toooootally not gonna happen, kid). I wonder what the heck I’m going to do in bed at 9pm when I’ve been up till 1 in the morning every other night this week.
My phone is the only business tool I have here, and in so many other parts of my day as well. Parenting is a demanding and time consuming career. So trying to balance another career on top of it isn’t the easiest thing I’ve ever done. But one thing I have learned is that networking and community are key components in an online business, so this iPhone has become my connection when parenting keeps me “out of the office”.
iPhone networking means that I can answer emails, job postings, client questions, and Slack chats while I’m watching Moana for the 217th time.
There are different aspects of networking. You have your client relationships that need to have good boundaries but also should be open and comfortable lines of communication. Then you have networking with potential clients which also needs to be prompt and professional. Thirdly, you’ve got your community of entrepreneurs that you NEED in order to keep your spirits up and help you through some of the crazy issues you’ll encounter.
If I were limited to only communicate when I sit down at my computer, I would be able to reply maybe twice a day. And while that isn’t a terrible number, I’ve found that most of these responses take like 20 seconds. But when I try to do them all at once I get overwhelmed and distracted. It is a much better use of my time to save those desk hours for actual paid work.
Here’s a list of my top iPhone networking apps:
Omg my friends, with the Facebook app you can keep up with your tribe, create meaningful & engaging posts for your communities, and find new job opportunities. Think you are stuck watching your kid blow bubbles in the tub for 15 minutes? Why not see if anyone is hiring a ClickFunnels designer instead. 😎
Facebook groups are THE PLACE to find clients for freelancers. But it’s crazy to join a ton of groups and have them clogging up your newsfeed. I need to be able to use Facebook as the social networking tool that it is in my personal life too! Those baby pictures won’t share themselves, after all. So what I do is join the groups and then “unfollow” them and turn off notifications. Then when I’m ready to search for job postings I do that on Facebook’s main search bar. I made a tutorial you can see here:
2. Gmail, Slack, Facebook Messenger
If it’s an email from a client or a conversation with my business besties, I can stay on top of my notifications even if I’m away from my computer. What I’ve been doing is intentionally putting my phone down and volume off, so I can play with my daughter without being distracted. When we have colored and painted and baked for like 30-45 minutes I’ll pick up my phone and check to see if I need to answer anything. Generally this is when she is eating or watching something or distracted and playing by herself or with the dog. I think it’s really important to be really paying attention to her, but there are also some margins in that time where you can connect online.
When I respond to potential clients quickly I’m much more likely to get the job. Keep that in mind! There’s a balance you have to find between promptness and being available 24/7.
3. Skype, Zoom, and the classic phone call
It’s so nice to be able to tune in to meetings and jump on calls with clients or colleagues on the fly. My standard answer to “can you talk now?” is “sure, if you don’t mind kid noise”. I have gotten many a client while cooking dinner or playing with playdoh. Most of them have kids at home too. They know that I’m willing to communicate with them quicker if they don’t mind hearing some squealing in the background.
This is also a great way to stay connected with your community. I have a few people that I talk to every week online. It really helps to bounce ideas off of another person, or even just vent whatever you are dealing with that day. Those Skype calls make you feel less alone, like there is someone out there who gets what you are doing. It is also great to have someone who is available to help you out when it gets hard.
I definitely use my computer a lot too. There isn’t a ton of client work that I can do from my phone. But if I didn’t have this beautiful little handheld device I wouldn’t be nearly as in tune with what is going on in my business right now. My daughter having a mom who is passionate and driven is something she will appreciate. So while I do need to make sure that my business doesn’t detract from the quality of time we have together, it is super important that I nurture this aspect of my life too.