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How to grow your Freelance Network

How to grow your Freelance Network

Business networking is a socioeconomic activity by which businesspeople engage in business relationships to create or act upon business opportunities, share information and find potential partners for ventures.

Networking for a freelancer is crucial as you don't count on a team to solve problems or create new business opportunities, but you have to seek for them on your own. Networking allows you to find other likeminded businesspeople with similar interests and goals as you but with different skills or resources that along with yours might lead to a new venture, new opportunities or an exchange of skills/knowledge.

Networking is important because it allows you to make the most of your personal and industry connections that will probably bring you a regular supply of new business. As a freelancer, you are always in need of new work, and the easiest way to find new projects is when you get new work from people you know. That is why your personal network is an invaluable resource.

Therefore, networking is important because it may lead to new businesses and client leads. Also, networking leads to information and project leads, sometimes even before the project has been announced. Another reason why it networking is crucial for freelancers is because it allows you to make a connection. Portfolios and cover letters are sometimes too impersonal and there are many other people out there who possess the same qualifications you have. Getting to know someone on a first name basis allows them to get to know you better, and people prefer to hire someone they know and like. The last reason is that meeting other freelancers allows you to team up and pitch for bigger opportunities.

They way you can grow your business network is, first and foremost, by networking every day. Networking is not just about exchanging business cards, but also about talking to people. This doesn't necessarily only happen at networking events but it can take place anywhere. If you meet someone who could be interested in your services, you should keep it casual and that person to get in touch or ask for their contact details. You don't want to seem to eager.

Networking is not also about taking but also about giving. Try to help others often and look at it as an investment. This is one of the best ways to build your network. When you help others, you are automatically letting them know what you are capable of doing, what your ability is in, and that you are willing to share that knowledge.

You can help others by replying to their email, responding to a tweet for help, writing a blog post offering advice, giving support over the phone, or meeting someone for a coffee to chat about the issues they are facing. You'll see the favour is returned when those you helped recommend you to others who are looking for similar expertise - clients.

You might also want to keep your relationships fresh. Try and get in touch with those contacts you haven't heard of in a while to keep your relationship from going stale. Even if it doesn't lead to a new business opportunity, they might recommend you to someone who requires your services.

Make friends with other freelancers. Don't think of them as competitors as most freelancers want other freelancers to succeed. You might want to team up with them at some point to pitch for bigger work that requires a team or you might refer businesses to each other. If you stay in touch with them, you might have access to more opportunities.

It doesn't end at making friends with freelancers, but you must also connect people. That's part of networking as they might do the same for you. After referring people, these opportunities will hopefully come back to you as people remember the opportunities you have created for them.

One way to meet fellow freelancers is by going to networking events in your industry. Attend these events with the purpose of meeting other professionals and listen and learn about what they are doing and what is going on in your community. Their insight might help you professionally. Some of the websites that list networking events are Meetup, Eventbrite and Lanyrd.


Benefits of Working Remotely

Benefits of Working Remotely

Technology is fast changing the way we live and the way we work, particularly space where work. Thanks to the Net and electronic devices, it is possible to work from anywhere in the world and remote working might be the most suitable option for certain jobs. Working remotely also provides a win-win scenario for both the employers and the employees, as the former save money on leasing an office and the latter enjoys more flexibility and saves money on commuting.

Wi-Fi

One of the perks of being a remote worker is that you can work from anywhere, as long as there is Wi-Fi. This might change from country to country, but you can always find a spot with free Wi-Fi, either from a coffee shop, public library or your hotel room. Alternatively, you can always purchase portable Wi-Fi, in case you are travelling.

Productivity

Remote workers are usually more productive than office workers. This changes from one person to the other and their position. While some people find it easier to work from an office where there are others working and they feel that they have to work, others prefer to work from home where they are more comfortable and they can listen to music if they choose to. A comfortable environment often boosts creativity.

You don't always need an office

Thanks to the Internet, what you used to need the office for, you can now do it from home. For instance, you don't need to go to the office to make expensive international calls as you just need Skype for that.

Besides, remote working provides choice. According to Robert Gorby, marketing director of Powwownow, choice is very important. There shouldn't a technology-driven compulsion to work in a certain way.

Remote workers are actually well connected. Thanks to smartphones and social media, you don't have to be next to someone to communicate effectively. Remote workers are being empowered by new business trends such as remote administration, cloud-based project management, video conferencing, an BYOD are extending the effectiveness of remote work.

Happiness

Millennials know with just a few taps on their phones they can do anything from bank transfers to buying flight tickets. That's why they enjoy remote working so much, because they know the potential of technology, they use it and that makes their life easier. In a way, remote working is the future.

The office environment also ramps up stress levels. According to a study, remote workers enjoy lower stress levels, and thus, they are less likely to suffer a heart attack or a stroke. For instance, Daryl Wilkinson, group head of digital development at Nationwide Building Society, said he wanted to encourage remote working to empower his staff and as a demonstration to the rest of the company. There's less stress in the office and the workplace - people feel empowered to work in a way that suits them and suits the business.

No dress code

Remote working allows you wear whatever you feel like to work. If you are more comfortable wearing sweatpants while sipping on a cup of coffee and sitting on your couch, then nothing is stopping you.

You have time to exercise

Working from home means you are already saving time as you don't have to commute nor get dressed for work. You can use this extra time to exercise and clear your head.

Family time

Working remotely also means you can be more involved in bringing up your children and family affairs. Instead of paying someone to pick up your children from school, you can do it yourself and spend some quality time on the automobile.

Being away from the office is good as well. The ability to work remotely eliminates the necessity of presenteeism - being in the office as much as possible, said Jonathan Swan, policy and research officer for Working Families, a charity specialising in work/life balance.

New roles are emerging

These new ways of working also require new roles in the company. According to Ian Adams, head of strategic marketing development at outsourcing company Mitie, we're seeing greater collaboration between HR, IT, property and facilities management and job titles like workplace director making this agile workplace happen.

Article 8 How to stay connected as a Remote Worker

While working from home has its advantages like avoiding traffic in peak hours and the flexibility, it can get lonely sometimes. By working away from the office, you might miss out on a chat with a colleague that might give you an insight into what's happening in the company, or you talk one on one with your boss and get clear feedback. Remote workers are often viewed as slackers and this may affect your career. The bottom line is: your colleagues and employers don't really get to know you that well and your skills first-hand, so this might affect the image they create of you, and keep them from propelling your career forward. Here are some tips to bridge the gap between remote and in-office workers.

Learn how to communicate

You need to figure out what's the best reach to communicate with your colleagues without disturbing them. For instance, Christy Hopkins, HR staff writer for FitSmallBusiness.com, who also telecommutes, said she is willing to use every type of communication tool available - whether it's the phone, email, Zoom, Slack, etc - to keep up with her co-workers,

For me, I always Skype or Zoom with my manager. He and I are similar in age; we value that face-to-face. With my younger team members, they're all about the chat. So I've figure out different ways to communicate as well, she said.

It's okay to be social

As long as you get your work done first, it is okay to mix work with social gatherings. Hopkins, who is based in Chicago, sometimes gets together with her colleagues from the New York office and, as she has a dog, they sometimes bond over their pets.

I know everyone who is a dog owner there and they know it's important to me. We only start to talk about social things after the work is done as well. It's why I call it relevantly social, she said.

Be Proactive

According to W. Wayne Turmel, co-founder and product leader at The Remote Leadership Institute, remote workers are sometimes too focused on their own assignment and miss out on the bigger picture and the whole work product. This might lead to losing out on larger work responsibilities, and your employer and colleagues might now ever consider an activity team member. That's why, despite working remotely, you have to be proactive.

Ask how you can be of service to others. When we're remote, we often are ‘out of sight, out of mind.' The boss sometimes delegates to the first person they think of - or see... When talking to your manager, make sure to explicitly ask about the rest of the team, and is there something you can do for the good of the team. Even if the answer is no, you get the good karma of asking, as well as sending the message that even though you're far away you are still a team player.

Try to participate in the company and be vocal about your contributions. Even though you are a remote worker, you need to make your colleagues and employers feel your presence even when you are there. Try to communicate and get to know you better so you are more than an invisible person who gets tasks done from the other side of the computer.

Your manager is going to now if you miss a deadline, but they may not know if you turn in something two days early. They might not even gauge that, Hopkins said.

When you get a task done or achieve something, let your manager know. It is important to be confident enough to celebrate those achievements, she said.

How to cope with isolation

One of the disadvantages of working remotely is the feeling of lonely we sometimes get on our own, according to Kim Shepherd, chairwoman at Decision Toolbox, a 100 percent virtual recruitment firm. You also don't feel like part of a team and it's hard to feel identified with the company.

Lots of people - good people - think they can do it. But when push comes to shove, it's easy for them to feel they're doing the pushing and shoving all alone. As CEP one of my main concerns is combatting isolation and loneliness, she said.

To fight loneliness, they organised their colleagues into small groups that schedule a call on a regular basis to let members share issues, ideas and insights.

According to Hopkins, talking to your manager is also a way to deal with the issue at hand. He or she probably has no idea you feel out of the loop and would most likely welcome to a way integrate you further and not feel like your work isn't being valued.