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.