Networking is an interesting exercise. As freelancer trying to shake the right hands or leverage an existing relationship, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed at the thought of putting yourself out there. However, one conversation or connection can put you on path to achieving all of your business dreams.
Some of us thrive off of meeting new people, and some are a little less thrilled by the idea. Whichever boat you are in, there are tactics and strategies you can utilize to help you not just exchange business cards but forge long-term, strategic and meaningful relationships.
As a freelancer, networking is your meal ticket. You need to be starting conversations with new clients, as well as nurturing connections for continuous work.
Below are 5 tips for more effective networking for freelancers.
1. Get in the Right Mindset.
We all want to connect.
No matter your hustle, we’re all just people at the end of the day. It’s really as simple as that. People want to connect, they may not always know how or where, but when they find someone and forge a bound – it means something.
Remembering this before you go to a mixer or out to a bar is the first step to creating a memorable moment.
Set yourself apart by saying, “I am going to meet some very cool and interesting people” and not “I am going to find my next 10 clients”.
Want to find networking events in your area, but not sure where to start? Check out Search Engine Journal’s 13 Awesome Professional Networking Alternatives to LinkedIn for some useful platforms to help you find relevant networking events near you and get more freelance clients.
2. Have Your _____ Together.
As a freelancer, you run your whole operation.
This means your presentation falls 100% squarely on your shoulders. Be sure your website, portfolio, and even your Instagram are up-to-date and showcase your work in the best possible light.
Making the connection is one thing, but the gig usually isn’t yours until the client has done a little bit of homework on you.
3. Add Value.
It can be a dog-eat-dog world for a freelancer.
It is very easy to get consumed in only thinking about yourself and the bottom line. It’s important (and healthy) to take time to see how you can help others on their journey. It doesn’t have to be working for free or anything like that, it could be something as simple as offering insight or playing matchmaker with a potential client and someone you may know with a particular skill set.
Take some time to take the blinders off and help others succeed! Doing so without asking for anything in return isn’t only a kind thing to do, it can help strengthen your relationships down the line.
4. Get Social.
It’s 2019, people hardly leave their house as it is! Platforms like Instagram are a fantastic place to showcase your skills and network with other like-minded individuals.
Take some time to discover who are the interesting and most helpful voices in your field and connect. It is also the most direct route from A-to-B when it comes to sharing relevant information and articles that may help others.
For some more tips on how to network your freelance business on Instagram, check out How To Network On Instagram Direct Message by Gary Vaynerchuk.
5. Ask For Help.
Truth be told, this is a huge one for me. Some of my most important connections came from me simply asking for help from someone I respect.
Now, by asking for help that doesn’t mean “Excuse me, can you stop everything and mentor me please?!” No, it means something else entirely.
A sure fire way to set yourself apart from most of your contemporaries is actually by not thinking you have it all figured out.
“Hey, what do you look for in a designer?”
“What are some books on finance you could recommend?”
Simply put, find individuals you would like to work with and ask them for help. You will be surprised how willing most people are to shell out advice on a topic instead of listen to your elevator pitch.
Doing this breathes a sigh of humility and allows someone to have a more honest dialogue.
What are some other helpful networking tips you’ve received? Reach out and let us know!
To learn more about networking for your freelance business, read our relationship expert, Blake Stanton’s advice on building business relationships.