As I was laying some behind-the-scenes marketing and networking plans, browsing and searching for great small business resources, online business networking opportunities, and free online workshops, I came across so many good ones that I thought ‘wow what a great topic for a blog post!’ So here it is, your blog post all about where to find free online business networking events and resources for small business owners and entrepreneurs, woohoo!
In today’s pandemic, work-from-home environment, online business networking opportunities abound, and networking opportunities = marketing opportunities.
It’s said that where there is dark, there is also light, and the 2020-2021 Covid pandemic is an example. In the midst of hard economic times, there are so many organizations stepping up to aid small business owners and entrepreneurs, providing free resources ranging from valuable workshops to individual counseling to help with navigating Covid assistance loans. And lest you forget, let me mention that many of these online events are, in addition to providing valuable education and resources, GREAT places to make fruitful networking connections and to slip in some good marketing for your own business! Listed below are just a couple of great ways to find lots of resources available to you lovely entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, freelancers, and small business owners and startups!
Search Eventbrite for Networking, Learning, and Other Business Opportunities
Check out Eventbrite to find loads of online event listings both for business and also just for fun. If you are craving social interaction just for the sake of being social with other real people, not just their social media posts, you can search Eventbrite for whatever interests you. One day as I was bored looking for something to do I searched for “trivia” and found a fun and free trivia game night held via Zoom. I signed up and joined in, and had fun laughing and gaming with people from all over not only the country but also the world. It was a blast! But I digress, as this post is about business resources.
As you can see in the pic shown below, a search for “small business administration” brought up several listings for free workshops and networking opportunities for small business owners and entrepreneurs.
In the left column, you can find search filters for dates, price, and categories. Try searching different business and networking related terms to see what you can find. I’ve found that searching for organizations that serve small business, such as the SBA search shown above, is helpful in bringing up more free offerings for entrepreneurs on a budget.
Search the Small Business Administration Website for Local Organizations Offering Small Business Resources
Check out SBA.gov, the Small Business Administration’s website, to find lots and lots of great resources for business owners and startups! I really love how they have organized the resources on their website, shown below:
Another one of the things I love about the SBA’s website organization is the interactive map of regions and resources, shown in the pic below. From their website home page, click on the Local Assistance link, then hit the Search button to get to the map shown in the pic. You can use the search fields to specify topics with keywords, location by zip code, and use the pull-down menu to find specific sources of assistance. There are soooooo many great resources for entrepreneurs and small business owners listed there, so do go check it out!
Search Women’s Business Centers for Resources and Assistance Especially for Women-Owned Businesses and Startups
At the SBA website linked above, one of the resources you’ll find listed is the Women’s Business Centers, which are largely funded by SBA grants. However, if you do a Google search for Women’s Business Centers you’ll get lots and lots of results to peruse that come both from SBA and from other orgs dedicated to providing assistance to women owned businesses, as you can see in the pic below.
I am a great lover of the WBCs (Women’s Business Centers) as one of the professional hats I wear is that of marketing and positive mindset training consultant for the fabulous CVWBC, Coachella Valley Women’s Business Center. Women who are starting a business can find awesome programs at the CVWBC, including the fantastic It’s Your Time program! The description from the info page reads in part:
IYT is a program to help women start and grow their own businesses and become successful entrepreneurs. … The IYT program is offered at minimal cost with investments ranging from $30 to $130, depending on your income bracket. The program value is over $500 for the workshops alone, not including the free counseling and mentoring.from http://www.cvwbc.org/programs/iyt
I highly encourage any women wanting to start their own business to sign up for this low-cost program. Women business owners will learn about writing a business plan, financing, available loans, marketing, and more through the course of this 90-days program. You will also have opportunity to schedule free individual, one-to-one counseling sessions with wonderful mentors, including yours truly, me! So do go over to the CVWBC website and check out their workshops, counseling, and program opportunities! I myself attend a lot of the workshops and networking events because they are an excellent opportunity to meet awesome business women in my local and regional areas, and I have picked up so many great tips from them. I’ve also picked up some clients from these networking opportunities – I especially love the Coffee with a Counselor and Resource Roundtable mixers – you’ll find them listed in the workshops section.
By the way, the Spring 2021 session of It’s Your Time: An Entrepreneurial Training Series for Women (IYT) is currently accepting applications as of the date of this post (Jan 14, 2021). So head on over there and get your application in!
Do you need some help with brainstorming networking and marketing opportunities? Book an appointment for a brainstorming session with Meilani!
Are you a small business owner, freelancer, or entrepreneur, or thinking about starting up your own business, but have never had any experience or training in marketing and branding your business and services? I can help! Through one-to-one consulting, brainstorming and coaching, I can help you identify your target audiences, figure out what is important to each of them, and craft messages that will resonate with them. I have worksheets that present practical thought processes to help you take all those awesome ideas swirling around in your head and put them down in logical order, so you can start to see the path for how to get from here, the idea stage, to there, the success stage. My methods incorporate positive mindset exercises and are especially helpful to folks feeling overwhelmed by doing it all themselves.
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