Mondays are busy. For everyone. The weekend is over, plans are being made for the week, and playing catch up from the previous week ensues. With a couple children in activities each day and clients I need to work for and talk with daily, sometimes my days aren’t quite as organized as I would like.

Humor me with my morning thus far, and it is not even noon. I have two boys, ages 15 and 9, for whom I could almost justify a full-time taxi. Check out the first two hours of my day:

• 7:30 a.m. 15-year-old requires ride to work out.

• 8 a.m. 9-year-old needs ride to baseball field.

• 8:30 a.m. 15-year-old needs to be picked up.

• 9 a.m. I have a client call regarding a large fundraising event.

And then the day I thought was so well organized fell apart. Sam, the 9-year-old, has an independent streak to him. We have known this for quite some time, and no matter how many times we have told him to let us know where he is going and whom he is with, it does not seem to resonate. Knowing I had a client call at 9 a.m., he had two choices in what to do after baseball practice.

Option 1: Wait at ball fields, watch next game, and I will pick up at end of call.

Option 2: Walk home, wait for me to finish call.

Apparently Sam came up with his own option, which included fishing with fellow teammates and then some! After 20 minutes of driving around looking for him whilst texting his friends’ mothers, I got word he was fishing with “Jack.” Well, I found Jack, but Sam was nowhere in sight.

With a sigh of frustration, I sent a message to Torey letting her know we would be late for our appointment. Her response? “Well, he’s here getting his hair cut!” My teeth were firmly gritted together as I drove over to pick him up. I’ll give him credit for getting things done. However, his ears were full of another lecture on telling me where he was going, when and with whom.

On days like this, I am thankful for my network of friends and parents who know about my “wanderer.” Without this network, I am fairly certain more parents would be spending more time in their cars than necessary.

Networks are important, bottom line. If you don’t have a network or networking group for work, get one.

Networking in business is just like a friendship — you are establishing a mutually beneficial relationship with other business people and potential clients or customers.

Obviously, meeting new contacts or getting referrals is the biggest advantage to being part of a networking group, but there are other benefits as well.

Think of the exposure and visibility that comes with being in a group and listening to one another discuss business. Perhaps the person you are speaking with at that moment won’t turn into a client immediately, but you will pop into their heads when they hear of someone in need of what you provide. The referrals you get are invaluable.

When I was fresh into my staffing career, the thought of speaking in public or talking about myself gave me a serious case of the nerves. However, after accepting a few invitations, I realized that these groups gave me confidence, boosted my morale and gave me the ability to speak, out loud, in groups.

Whether or not you are trying to find a “wandering” child or increase business revenue, building one’s network is a must.

Kristen Asleson is owner of Midwest Virtual Assistants. Send comments and ideas to news@postbulletin.com.

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