networking

Networking: Tips, Tricks, and Tips for Networking

Networking: a simple word that, oddly enough, stresses many freelancers. Networking with potential clients and people who might be interested in your work can make all the difference in your freelancing career and can open doors that would otherwise remain closed.

The fact that many freelancers always work alone can make it seem difficult to maintain these contacts, but it is not as complicated as it seems!

What exactly is the secret of a suitable network that will help you in your career as a freelancer?

Tips, tricks and non-intimidating tips for networking :

  1. Start with the close people you know
  2. Keep in touch with other freelancers
  3. Contribute by offering online content
  4. Use professional social networks
  5. Participate in events in your sector
  6. Always have a business card handy
  7. Present yourself authentically and genuinely
  8. Contact your connections several times a year

1) Start small

Approaching strangers can be awkward, so it’s best to start with the people you know . Start with your friends and family, and then, when you feel a little more comfortable networking, move on to old classmates from school or college.

People you already know will meet other people who will meet other people and so on. Stay with the people you know and ask them to introduce you to the people you want to meet.

2) Don’t forget about other freelancers

One piece of advice that works both online and offline is to not ignore other freelancers . It seems that having contacts in big companies or big clients is more productive and beneficial, but having other freelancers in your circle can be just as effective. 

Think of them as trusted co-workers. If at any given time you have too much workload or a project that is too big or complicated, knowing that you can count on other freelancers is a great advantage. Get others to see you that way too.

3) Contribute by offering content on the network

To start offering your services in the online world, it will be very important that you contribute in forums, comment on articles or write in a blog about your freelancer experiences or your knowledge. 

If people stumble upon your content, they may see you as an expert in your field and even hire or recommend you to others. Contributing to articles can also put you in touch with other members of your industry and can increase your visibility as a freelancer.

4) Use professional social networks

People often think that professional networks like LinkedIn or Xing are only used when one is looking for a job. This is an oversimplification. Professional networks like these are one of the best networking resources available to freelancers . Keep your profile up to date and include projects you’re working on, but also actively seek out people who are working on similar things.

You can also consider connecting with people or organizations on Twitter . Interact with the posts they share, and when you’re ready, contact them directly.

Professional networking is also a great way to connect with people you’ve lost touch with. Remember that you are autonomous and that means that almost always, actively or passively, you are looking for new opportunities. Dont miss the chance!

5) Participate in events in your sector

It supports the creation of a network of contacts on the internet with an offline strategy. Due to the pandemic, going to local events in person may have become difficult, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of virtual and/or local events . If there are events in your area, it might be a good idea to attend some.

Your city’s chamber of commerce may host events for people in your industry. Trade shows, social events, master classes, career fairs, these are all options you may want to consider.

Although through the internet you can reach a large number of people, meeting people face to face and in real life is a completely different world. From small talk to heated arguments, every little conversation can lead to something bigger.

6) Always have a business card on hand

For some business cards are a thing of the past, but that is not necessarily true. It may be true that many of your cards will end up in the trash or in a corner of a wallet that will never be looked at again. But it is a small investment that will help many not to be forgotten. 

Names are often hard to remember, even when a person makes a great impression. A business card with your name, your website and your profession will ensure not only that your first impression is remembered, but also that it is linked to the information necessary to contact you.

7) Be genuine

Creating a network of contacts is not asking people you know for a job. Don’t just focus on the type of work your networking could lead to. Instead, focus on presenting yourself in a genuine way and listening to what others have to say. This leads to much better results.

And remember: never be too aggressive when selling yourself. Have a normal conversation with your contacts like you would with people you meet at a bar, but let it be about your job instead. Genuine passion for your work is the most important aspect potential clients will remember when considering you for a future project.

8) Tracking

Last but not least, remember to keep track of your connections. Networking means building relationships , so make sure you keep in touch. Always look for a reason to maintain the relationship with your connections.

Sharing articles, sending emails about topics relevant to your industry, asking questions on a regular basis, or even inviting them to (virtual) events are all great and non-intimidating ways to maintain your network as a freelancer. Try to contact several times a year .