Knowing more people in your industry will always be a good thing. Since we never know where opportunities will strike, networking like a pro will be key to growing your business and getting more clients.
In the age of virtual work, taking the initiative to go out and meet new people is crucial. After all, you’ll never meet anyone when working indoors. Making new friends will also help you stay sane or learn the tricks of the trade.
Now, how can you network like a pro as a freelancer? Here are some of the tips you need to know.
1. Identify what you’re trying to accomplish
What do you hope to achieve by networking? Depending on your goal, you’ll opt to target different types of professionals. Otherwise, you’ll be wasting a lot of time befriending random people.
Here are some examples of networking targets based on your goal:
- Get a new client: Freelancers looking for a long-term client can reach out to executives or HR professionals of the companies that they’re interested in. You can also join freelancing platforms like Ndiwano to get noticed by clients.
- Referrals: New freelancers looking to launch their business can generate word-of-mouth by connecting with thought leaders and influencers.
- Mentors: Gain insights from more experienced professionals through social media or networking events.
People have their own reasons for networking so don’t limit yourself to these goals. Think about what you want to accomplish and build your network based on these goals.
2. Attend a networking event
Of course, you’ll have to attend networking events to meet new people. To make the most out of these events, research about speakers and the hosting organization in-charge prior to attending.
If there is an event page, take a look at the people who have RSVP-ed. Research the professional background of executives, CEOs, or thought leaders. Introducing yourself to them and handing your business card may be the key to scoring a long-term client or a favorable deal.
3. Join co-working spaces
Remote workers, freelancers, entrepreneurs, and startups love to hangout in co-working spaces. Hence, freelancers who want to build their network and build genuine relationships can join co-working spaces in their own community.
Whether you’re a freelance designer who creates illustrations or a freelance writer crafting compelling copy, there’s a lot you can offer to startups and professionals in these co-working spaces. Activities like lunch-and-learns and happy hour also let you connect with people and let you stay motivated to finish your projects.
4. Reach out through social media
In the age of social media, businesses that need professional just post online. This means you can easily find opportunities to offer support and value to potential connections or clients.
Join Facebook groups in your industry and you may find posts looking for a freelance designer or writer. If you find a post asking for UX strategies, you can offer expert advice and include a link to your website or portfolio. Know any fellow freelancers that could benefit from the opportunity? Tag them in the comments and they might return the favor.
5. Get publicity
Getting yourself or your business featured on popular publications can generate buzz for your services. It’s a nice add-on to a portfolio or a good conversation topic. Fortunately, it’s easy to offer your expertise to publications and professionals from across the globe.
You can register as a source for Help A Reporter Out (HARO) to share your knowledge in exchange for media opportunities from established journalists or bloggers. For example, if you find a journalist crafting an article for starting a freelance business, then your experience might be a great fit.
Network like a pro
Remote work may make it difficult to connect with like-minded individuals. But if you know where to look, you’ll discover plenty of opportunities to meet interesting people and build a strong network. Alternatively, you can also join freelancing platforms like Ndiwano to meet clients and collaborators for your freelance projects.