No business can survive in the absence of a robust network which ensures continuity in work and profits. Everyone who forms a part of a business network has a special place, and one cannot risk the chance of a broken or uncoordinated network. So, if you freelance, especially when you have just started off, then you should not undermine the value of a network.
Networking is a task, even the most experienced ones often fail to adequately accomplish. It involves more than just maintaining good terms with the people around you. It entails a whole spectrum of consideration that mandates injection of money, taking risks and making compromises, and tailoring business plans among many other things.
In the freelance community, there is more often than not the absence of an in-office atmosphere and your present client has no responsibility towards you. You will have to fend for yourself, and you do that through networking. The more networking you do, the more people will know about you.
We have compiled 10 tips for our fellow freelancers to assist them in creating and strengthening their network. So, let us take a look at these tips.
1. Keep Your Present Clients Happy
Your work will speak for you in the freelance community. As we speak, the networking that connects every one of us in the freelance community is growing, and we should exploit this fact as much as possible.
Work sincerely, perform good and keep clients happy. Your client might end up being someone with a strong inter-client network, and he might refer you to other clients. Moreover, you can personally ask the client whether he is aware of any other work opportunity which you can take up.
2. Network Online
This is the 21st century that offers plentiful opportunities to expand one’s business. There are so many websites that have been customized to help you expand your network to great degrees. So, you must consider signing up on these websites.
Most of these websites offer special services to business owners and can help you obtain better access to opportunities through a well-defined online network of businesses. These websites include LinkedIn and Facebook.
Moreover, there are many freelance-specific websites which cater to every need of freelancers and clients. Having accounts on these websites can help you gain direct access to clients from all over the world. Examples of such websites are Freelancer and worknhire.
3. Get Your Own Website
If you want to ensure that you are notified in the freelance community, a website can be of great help.
Getting your own website lets you bring together in one place all your details. A well-crafted website including all the necessary details of your profile, portfolio, clientele, and others to highlight your business in a desirable light will attract traffic and improve your overall network.
Sitting at home will not be of much use if you do not step out and make personal efforts towards expanding your network. Social networking websites are good, but word-of-mouth marketing is equally powerful.
Go out, attend meet-ups, and interact with people. In fact, you should exploit every opportunity that comes your way to interact with people. For example, while attending weddings, you can talk to guests and introduce yourself, along with your freelance business. Carry along business cards to ensure that people do not forget you.
5. Venture Into New Areas
A benefit of having a clientele of great variation is that it brings you different work opportunities, ultimately increasing your income potential. So, venturing into new areas is not a bad idea.
In order to increase your options, you will have to learn something new. Invest time in the new thing and achieve reasonable levels of expertise. As you start working in a new field, you will enable the development of your existing network into a one which is inclusive and vibrant.
6. Write And Market Yourself
Even a slightly lackadaisical attitude can cause you getting overshadowed by competition. So, you will have to keep marketing yourself within and beyond the Internet.
If you own a website, dedicate a page to blogging your experiences as a freelancer. Talk about your business, what inspired you to take up freelancing, details of your experiences with previous clients, tips and suggestions for freelancers and clients, and others. This way, more people will get to know you and will make it easier for them to communicate with you.
7. Send Emails
It is not mandatory that you should know the client before sending emails. However, always keep in mind that clients usually receive multiple emails in a single day, and thus, your email should stand out in every aspect.
Draft a sensible email, with a catchy but not unnecessarily fancy subject line. The content should not be lengthy and must be written in a professional tone. Tell them who you are, what you can offer, how you found out about them, and what not.
This tactic does not guarantee you a deal, but it improves your reputation.
8. Stay Honest
If you lie, you cannot survive long. In the freelance community, credibility is sacrosanct, and anyone who does not give due consideration to it will fail to leave a mark.
Whenever you connect with people, it is highly advised that you be honest with yourself and them. Tell them what you actually are. Do not try filling them up with untrue information which may end up causing your losses in the future.
9. Keep A Regular Contact With Clients
You might have a strong network, but that does not mean it cannot weaken. One of the many reasons freelancers lose work is because of their callous approach towards those in their network.
You must maintain regular contacts with your clients and anyone else who forms part of your network. This is important for keeping harmony and improving credibility as a sincere freelancer. Once you have a network, it is your responsibility to nurture it.
10. Have Patience
It takes time and energy to develop a strong and credible network in the freelance community. Gaining maximum benefits from networking requires from you to maintain relationships with people—and we all know how difficult that is.
Have patience and things will work out!
Any freelancer who is serious about securing his career will accept the grand utility of a value-laden network. The better networking you conduct, the better benefits will accrue to you. So, when you network, you should keep all the aforementioned tips in mind.
Through this article, we endeavor to shape the freelance community into a more secure and enjoyable community. For that, we want the contribution of our readers who can bring more substance to the discussion through comments. In addition, you can share the article and help us expand our own network.