One of the best ways for entrepreneurs to connect and network outside of their local community is through getting involved in the National Association of Self Employed small business owners.
National Association for the Self Employed
Many small business owners find joining the National Association for the Self Employed (NASE) to be beneficial to their personal and professional development. Founded in 1981, NASE offers a variety of support services and benefits designed specifically to meet the needs of self-employed individuals and owners of micro-businesses.
NASE members enjoy a variety of benefits, including:
- Access to small business specialists and consultants
- Audio downloads featuring expert advice
- Business development grant program
- Dental discount program
- Discounts on health and life insurance
- Members-only discounts on a variety of products and services (amusement parks, movie tickets, travel, and more)
- Subscription to Self Employed magazine
- Will and estate planning services
- Many additional benefits
You may join NASE at either the Access or Premier level, depending on your needs and the benefits you plan to utilize. For details on how to join this national association of self employed professionals, see the membership page on the organization's website.
Using a National Association
Enhancing Your Business
Many self-employed individuals find that membership in national professional organizations can greatly enhance their companies' productivity and profitability. While participation in a national organization shouldn't take the place of your local networking and professional association activities, getting involved with a larger association can certainly enhance your experience as a self employed business owner.
Compare Membership Benefits
When looking at different associations, be sure to verify the specific membership benefits that each organization offers. If you are concerned with finding a resource for affordable health and life insurance coverage for your family, it's in your best interest to seek out an organization that offers these types of benefits to members. However, if your goal is to learn how to grow your business by networking with professionals in similar lines of work around the country, your needs will be better served by an organization that emphasizes networking opportunities, conferences, and business development training.
Finding Other Associations
There are national professional organizations for virtually every line of work. If you're interested in finding a group where you can network with other self employed individuals in the same profession as you, it's a good idea to identify groups that appeal specifically to people in your field. You can find a directory of industry specific professional associations on CareerOneStop.
Remember that joining the organization of your choice is only the first step to enjoying the benefits of memberships. You won't get anything from your membership if you don't put anything into it. Be sure to educate yourself about the different training and networking opportunities available to you as a member, as well as all of the other benefits, and take advantage of as many opportunities as you possibly can.