There are many factors to consider if you want to be successful as a freelancer. The answer to the question of ‘how to network’ is still unclear, especially for freelancers. Living in an age of digital communication, more and more freelancers are searching for traditional networking tips in order to expand their contacts and their personal brand.
When you can reach out to virtually any business, partner, customer or peer simply by opening a web browser and visiting one of the countless social networks available, why bother heading out into the real world to met people face-to-face?
As it happens, there are numerous reasons traditional networking remains one of the best things you can do to sell your services as a freelancer. It continues to work brilliantly for me, and trust me – networking isn’t something I’ve ever held in very high regard.
I’m a networking convert, and I think the work you do offline to build your stature as a freelancer will do wonders to the work you can gain on PeoplePerHour.
Networking tips for freelancers
You’ll learn so much about your industry
What better way to immerse yourself in the industry or sector you’ve chosen than to spend a few hours in a room full of people who can share their own experience and expertise?
Traditional networking is a brilliant way to raise your game by learning about new trends and gaining industry insight. Sure, you can do that online, too, but there’s nothing quite as direct as speaking to people who are living and breathing the industry.
You’ll find out how to pitch your freelancing business
One of the hardest things you’ll do on PeoplePerHour is writing about yourself in your profile. I doubt there’s a single freelancer out there who hasn’t paused at the blank screen in front of them and wondered how on earth to pitch their services.
This isn’t a bad thing; even the most extrovert of freelancers will struggle to ‘big up’ their businesses effectively. It comes with practice, and I’ve found that one of the best ways to get a handle on pitching myself is to do so in person.
When you attend traditional networking events, you’ll engage in conversations where you inevitably start talking about your profession. People will ask you questions about what it is you do, your strengths and past successes, and you’ll quickly find out what matters to potential customers and partners. And this is how to network.
Make notes about your approach to these conversations after each event, and put the best stuff in your PeoplePerHour profile!
You’ll become more confident by following some basic networking rules
This one’s simple: the more networking you do in-person, the more confident you’ll become in all walks of life.
I’ve always been a little bit of an introvert, but traditional networking has really helped with my self-confidence. When you attend such events, you realise that people are genuinely interested in what you have to say and whatever it is you do for a living. I’ve found this puts me at ease and enables me to open up more.
As a result, I rarely feel nervous or anxious about walking into a room full of strangers — and that’s an important character trait when you’re a solo entrepreneur.
Networking for freelancers also means valuable partnerships
Few freelancers get by entirely on their own; we all need partners in crime when it comes to providing services that are saleable at scale.
If you’re a web developer, for instance, you may bump into a talented designer or copywriter while networking and discover that they’re keen to work with someone like yourself.
Finding people online can be an arduous and impersonal process, but if you spend more time meeting people in person, you’ll have additional skills you can add to your People Per Hour game thanks to the support you’ll gain from third parties.
Just remember: learning how to network is not the holy grail of sales
Before I sign off, there’s just one caveat when it comes to traditional networking, and it’s an important one.
Head into that room with a selling mindset, and you won’t get far. That’s not what these events are about; they’re for all of the things I’ve mentioned above.
Do your selling on this website, but keep dipping your toes in the outside world – it’s vital if you’re to grow and prosper as a freelancer in the digital age.