Networking tips for freelancers
You may be the most talented freelancer in the world. However, if you just sit at home and let no one know you exist and how great your work is, you will struggle to land jobs and secure contracts.
The truly successful freelancers are not actually the most talented ones. More often than not, it is the people who tell the world what they can do and therefore consistently gain new clients. After all, being a freelancer is largely a people´s business. Even in times of COVID-19, the best jobs come from contacts in your own network. So if you want to advance your career as a freelancer, you should learn to network. Our eight tips are a good place to start:
1) Choose the right event: Especially at the beginning of their freelancer career many make the following mistake. They attend almost every online and offline event in the hope of acquiring customers for their own projects. Finding the right customers that suit you and your skills is not equally likely at every single event. The chance to find exactly the right customers at events that really suit you is not the same everywhere. Especially if the event is mainly attended by colleagues who are looking for customers just like you. To seriously win over good customers, it is better to choose an event where you meet people who are already where you want to go and also companies that have the resources to hire you.
2) Do not necessarily think of it as "networking": If you force yourself to network before visiting a get-together, it can create quite a bit of pressure and make your appearance appear cheesy from nerves. Instead, tell yourself that you are going to an event to get out and make interesting contacts or to get support from other freelancers. After all, nobody wants to give a job to someone who is practically begging for it! Leave the salesperson routine at home and just be yourself.
3) Pursue a clear goal in networking: It may sound strange to set goals for networking, but this approach can be extremely helpful. Once you know where you want to go it is much easier to meet people who can help you along the way. These goals could be, for example, finding a supportive network to share goals and questions, a mentor or other assignments. Do not be afraid to communicate your goals clearly.
4) Stay in touch: To get the most out of networking, stay in touch after you´ve shared your information. It is best not to wait too long for this, but send a short message the next day, in which you can continue the conversation and possibly arrange the first meeting. So-called follow-ups are often more effective than you might think! You will be remembered as a professional network expert while showing your fellow participant that you are serious.
5) Work in a coworking space: In coworking spaces, you will meet many interesting people from different industries. By sharing an office with other freelancers, your network often organically expands.
6) Keep in touch with former colleagues and clients: When you start freelancing, it is advisable to keep in touch with former colleagues from employment relationships. Your ex-colleagues already know you and your professional qualifications, which can be a great advantage for you. Invite your former colleagues to become part of your LinkedIn network and follow what they are up to.
7) Be prepared for opportunities: Perhaps you know the saying "Happiness happens when preparation meets opportunity". If you get an opportunity to spend some time with someone who could positively influence your career, you shouldn´t skip it. Always be clear about your goals and prepare a summary of what you do and why you are so good at it. Then, if you get the chance to impress someone, you can do so.
8) Give speeches and run workshops: Prove your authority and professional competence by giving lectures and workshops on topics that you master. This is the best way to gradually build up a positive reputation as an expert in your field, thereby increasing your chances of attracting new clients. Do not be afraid to post articles and share posts on LinkedIn.
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This article was published in the Freelancing.HK-News 68.