Networking is a simple term that, strangely, stresses off a lot of freelancers. Freelance networking can be aggravating, but it is also crucial. Having the correct contacts can open doors that would otherwise be closed, particularly for a freelancer.
Connecting with potential clients and anyone interested in your work might assist you in calling on those relationships when the time comes. Because of the lone wolf nature of freelancing, it might be challenging to develop those relationships, but it doesn’t have to be as tricky as it seems.
What exactly is the key to effective networking that will benefit your freelancing career?
Here are eight non-threatening freelance networking ideas, tricks, and suggestions for you to try.
1) Begin small
Approaching strangers might be intimidating, so it’s better to start with individuals you know. Begin with friends and family, and then, if you’re more comfortable with the idea of networking, move on to your alumni network.
The people you already know will know other people who’ll know other people and so on. Stick around with the people you know and ask them to introduce the people you are looking to meet.
2) Don’t forget about your fellow freelancers
A standard networking suggestion that applies to both online and offline networking is not to exclude other freelancers. Help assist fellow freelancers if you can while you’re growing your network. Connections with firms and potential large clients may appear to be more productive and profitable, but hanging out with the freelancing community can be just as helpful.
Consider it like having competent, dependable coworkers. If the job is too high, the project is too large, or simply too complex; freelancers need individuals they can rely on.
Make an effort to be that other person. You can rely on them for assistance later on if you provide a helping hand.
3) Contribute to the content of freelancers
Contributing to internet forums, leaving comments on articles, and creating blog posts can benefit your freelance business tremendously. All you have to do is talk about what your career is based on.
People who come across your content may regard you as an expert in your subject and may even hire or suggest you to others. Contributing to articles can also put you in touch with other members of your profession and raise your profile as a freelancer.
4) Online professional networks
People frequently believe that professional networks such as LinkedIn or Xing are exclusively used when seeking a job. This is an overstatement. Professional networks like these are among the best online networking opportunities for freelancers. Maintain your profile and list projects you’re working on, and actively seek out individuals who work on related projects.
You should also think about connecting with people or groups on Twitter. Participate in the posts they share, and when you’re ready, contact them directly.
Professional networks are also an excellent method to reconnect with old contacts. Remember, you’re a freelancer, which means you’re almost always seeking new chances, either actively or passively. Don’t let them pass you by.
5) Attend local events
An offline networking approach might help you supplement your online networking. Going to local in-person events may be challenging with the pandemic still in effect, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of local virtual ones. If there are any in-person events in your region, it could be a good idea to go to a few of them.
The chamber of commerce in your city may arrange events for persons in your industry. Trade exhibits, social events, seminars, and career fairs are all things to consider.
You can reach many individuals through the internet, but seeing them in person opens up a whole new world for you to explore. From small talk to heated debates, every tiny conversation has the potential to lead to something enormous.
6) Always carry a business card with you
You may believe that business cards are obsolete, but this is not always the case. Sure, many of your cards will likely end up in a bin or a wallet, never to be seen again, but it’s a simple investment that capitalizes on people’s forgetfulness.
Even if a person makes an excellent first impression, a name can be tough to recall. A business card that includes your name, website, and line of work will ensure that your first impression is not only remembered but also linked to the information needed to follow up with you.
7) Be sincere
Networking does not imply approaching people you know for a job. Don’t concentrate exclusively on the type of job you’ll get due to your networking efforts.
Instead, concentrate on presenting yourself honestly and listening to what others have to offer. This produces far superior results.
Remember, never be too pushy when it comes to marketing oneself. Engage in a regular discussion with your connections, just as you would with people you meet at a bar, but this time, keep the conversation focused on your work.
The most crucial aspect that potential clients will remember when considering you for a job in the future is genuine enthusiasm for your work.
8) Follow up
Finally, remember to follow up on your connections. Building contacts is an essential aspect of freelance networking, so make sure you keep your network up to date.
Always find a purpose to maintain your contacts’ relationships.
Sharing articles, sending emails on industry-related topics, asking questions regularly, and even inviting them to (virtual) events are all terrific, non-intimidating methods to keep your freelance network active. Aim to contact you a couple of times per year.
How do you build your network? Please share your thoughts and suggestions in the comments section below!
Source: Freelancers Map
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