It can be difficult to network as a freelancer and having a good network is essential. Not only do you need this network when you finish current jobs, but you also need to be able to talk to your leads when you are going through a dry spell. Many freelancers don’t even know where to start with networking, so here are some things to do to build that network up!
1. Online Group Interaction
For starters, freelancers should have a lot of interaction in online groups. There are specific groups and online pages out there that are made specifically for freelancers. It’s a place where they can come together and possibly even draw the attention of clients. If you are active and show that you’re passionate about what you do, you’ll have a higher chance of finding a better network than a freelancer that only posts from time to time.
Keep in mind, some of these groups are much better than others, and you might have to try out a few different ones before you find the one that’s the most beneficial to you and what you want to do with your career.
2. Social Media Interaction
Another thing freelancers can do is make sure they have high social media interaction. Just like online groups, a freelancer’s social media accounts can make them be seen and offered more work. Not only do you want to be active on the more social based networks, like Facebook and Instagram, but you also want to be active on professional platforms, like LinkedIn.
You want to make sure everything you post is going to portray you in a positive light, and you want to make sure you don’t post anything that could make you lose out on work. If need be, have a personal account that’s completely locked down and a professional account that makes it easy for potential clients to find you. Keep your personal business off the professional page, but don’t be afraid to showcase your professional life on your private page.
3. Try an Online Class
It seems like there’s an online class for everything these days, and networking as a freelancer is no different. Not only can these classes give you some pretty good tips, but many of them can also offer some great resources. Keep in mind, though; there are a few things to watch for. The first one is that you want to make sure the class you take is legitimate.
You also want to make sure that you aren’t being charged a bunch of money for a course that doesn’t do what it says or doesn’t help you. A great way to find beneficial classes is to talk to other freelancers in the online groups. They should be able to point you in the right direction.
4. Be a Guest Blogger
Being a guest blogger can also help generate leads. Doing this can help you get noticed. The great thing is that many of these bloggers already have a huge following and they often have big clients who frequently visit their sites. If their followers or clients appreciate your guest writing, they might reach out and offer to help you.
This is the main reason why you need to make sure you’re writing to the very best of your ability, regardless of where it’s posted, You never know who might be watching or who might be on the lookout for new talent to hire. Even if you don’t get contacted, you could be invited back to do another post, which could lead to you eventually being employed by someone else.
5. Attend Industry Events
The freelancing industry is similar to other industries when it comes to events and get-togethers. These are face to face events where most people in the business come together. This is a great place to make friends and get some leads. It’s also a place where you could potentially make connections with new clients or some of the big wigs of freelancing.
If you’ve never been to these, try talking to some of the other people in your online groups, so you know exactly what to expect. Not only do you want to go along with the theme, but it probably wouldn’t be a bad idea to take your information and some samples of your work.
6. Be Friends with Other Freelancers
Don’t always consider everyone competition! You should befriend other freelancers, as they aren’t usually out to get you and you guys can share tips and help each other get more leads. One thing to remember is that different freelancers are going to have different areas of expertise. If you meet some that write about the same things you do, they might be able to give you some fantastic leads or potential clients.
On the other hand, meeting people who write about different things could open up many possibilities. This could be anything from introducing you to even more leads to getting you connected with new platforms where you might be able to find work. Regardless, you should make friends and not try always to be the best.
7. Advertise Your Services
If you don’t advertise, people are going to have a much harder time trying to find you and hire you. You want to promote as much as you can, without coming off as pushy or desperate. For starters, always make sure you have up to date business cards on you so you can hand them out if the situation arises.
You could also print flyers and put them around places like coffee shops and just let people know about you and your services and give them a way to contact you. If they’re interested, they’ll take down your information and get in touch with you! Remember, always keep everything up to date and current.
8. Help Charities with Free Work
One thing to remember is that you don’t always have to be paid to offer your services. One of the biggest things you can do is provide your services to various charities. Not only will they appreciate it, but potential clients will see that you’re sympathetic and willing to help people out, even if you aren’t getting a check.
They might see how well you did on the article and end up wanting to work with you. The charity itself might also have some connections available for you. Now keep in mind, just because you’re doing the work for free doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it your all, especially since the charity is trusting you and expecting good work
9. Stay in Touch with Past Clients
You also want to make sure you stay in touch with past clients. Not only is there the possibility that they might have more work for you, but staying in touch will also show that you considered them more than just someone giving you a check. While clients understand that they are hiring you to do a job for them, they don’t usually want to feel like that’s all they are.
It’s nice to feel like more than just a paycheck. If at all possible, you always want to make sure you part ways on good terms and keep the lines of communications open. Don’t be afraid to reach out every so often either because if they have to do it, there’s a chance they’ll stop and possibly feel like it’s just a one-way relationship.
10. Follow ALL Leads
Finally, you want to make sure you follow ALL leads. It doesn’t matter if it’s a big one or a small one. You never know, that small lead could result in you having constant work, while the big lead could end up being a dead end. It might take a little bit longer, but you should follow every lead to see where they go and see what happens. There are many freelancers out there that don’t follow every lead, and they end up missing out on things that could have helped their career in huge ways!
Networking can be a lot of work, but it’s going to pay off in the end. You need to be able to have leads and show potential clients what you’re about. If you don’t have a network, you might get lucky for a little while, but you’ll eventually run out of work. Keep building up your people network to have a better chance of having work when it’s available!