In 2021, the freelance marketplace has been flooded with a sea of new professionals. No matter the nature of your business, competition for work is increasing. As a result of COVID-19, 32% of freelance workers have reported a decline in demand for their services.
So, how do you stand out in this competitive environment and continue to attract customers? Now more than ever, networking is an essential tool in the freelancer’s sales playbook. Expanding your network can provide your business with exciting opportunities to harness a new audience of consumers and boost your existing clientele.
Creating connections will help you achieve your goals more quickly and efficiently. Here are five tactics for expanding your freelance network to become a top performing freelancer.
One of the key characteristics of a successful networker is a positive attitude. Networking is a business practice that relies on interacting with people. It’s therefore crucial that your demeanor elicits a favorable reaction in others. Consider how you are coming across in your business exchanges and if you are making a good impression.
It’s important to approach networking with the right mindset. A business professional that presents themselves more authentically is one that clients are more likely to remember in the future. Showing passion for your work will also help you build stronger connections and increase job opportunities.
You must listen to what others have to say. While extroverts may thrive in a situation that requires them to start new conversations, an introvert can stand out for their listening skills. One way to network successfully is to develop a genuine interest in learning about other people and their stories.
If you become a resource for others in your sector, and are able to collaborate effectively, you are more likely to make valuable connections that will increase your business visibility.
Improving your efficiency and productivity can help you approach networking with the right attitude. Reducing stress and practicing good time management will help you network smart, not hard. Signing up for a productivity app could help you stay organized and hit your networking targets. You could even try to devote a portion of your day to making connections, be they online or in person.
Productive networking can be one of the most effective marketing strategies for your freelance business. With careful planning and thoughtful execution, making connections can be quick and easy. Approaching it with the right attitude and sufficient organization will, with practice, result in an automatic attraction of customers to your business.
Traditional networking requires freelancers to get out there and hustle for business. It relies on keeping your brand in the public consciousness, constantly reminding colleagues and customers of who you are and what you do. However, increasingly this ‘hustle’ can take place online. With the right social media tools, business connections can span the globe. Networking that exists in both the real and virtual world can foster even more fruitful relationships.
As well as broadening your pool of potential clients, an extensive list of business contacts will allow you to benefit from greater industry expertise. Once you grow your network, you’re more likely to have access to advice that can tackle a wider range of business problems.
Online social networking can provide an invaluable opportunity for exponential growth and is available directly from your home office. A plethora of platforms exist to help you reach potential consumers. Indeed, different websites cater to different audiences, and your participation in social media can be chosen dependent on your intended customer. For example, you might consider photo-sharing sites to target a new or younger clientele.
Alternatively, a more personal approach might appeal to your existing clients. Here, collaborative meeting software could help develop ongoing relationships and improve loyalty to your brand through more personal interactions.
Another way to use social media to expand your freelance network is to contribute to online content. Writing articles, blogging, and participating in online forums can all boost your career through improved online visibility. This increases the likelihood of consumers finding your business and can enhance brand awareness.
You can also use online resources to keep in contact with others in your field. Sharing your own expertise in industry discussions can secure your brand reputation amongst your peers. This is an essential business practice, as companies often prefer to purchase through referrals.
Ultimately, social media is an essential aspect of networking in the modern world. Interactions online can have a lasting impact and can significantly increase your freelancing income.
Provided you’ve formed lasting connections with the right contacts and built closer working relationships, networking can result in real business gains. Staying in touch with your fellow freelance workers in the same sector is especially crucial, as they can keep you up to date with trends reshaping your industry.
Freelancing is solitary work, so having a broad network of contacts is essential. When valuable relationships are built, these will allow you to share your experience with others, and those who have dealt with similar challenges may be able to provide guidance. Rather than having many acquaintances, it’s critical to cultivate more personal relationships. Contacts that you are more familiar with are more likely to share their more meaningful insights.
One way to stay in touch with connections is to schedule regular meet-ups. Be these in an online video chat or face to face, staying connected will provide a steady influx of business opportunities.
Whether cultivating new relationships or becoming reacquainted with older contacts, it’s vital to be consistent and proactive in your approach. If you are dealing with clients, it’s worth following up with them after any transaction to ensure that they’re pleased with your service and feel valued.
As a freelancer who works as part of a team, it’s beneficial to get to know your colleagues to develop productive working relationships. A valuable skill for any freelance worker is the ability to fit seamlessly into any team. Asking the right questions and being helpful can increase your chances of winning more work.
Keeping in contact via instant messaging or through collaboration software can make it easier to know when other team members have come to the end of a task and when to offer assistance. You could start by exploring the Plutio.
As you look to expand your freelance network, you should remain mindful of your target audience and tailor your approach accordingly. If you’re new to networking, communicating with strangers can be intimidating. A good place to start is with friends, previous colleagues, and acquaintances. Here, you will be able to practice marketing your business and develop new connections, as the people you know pass on your details to others.
You will be able to identify where your product or services are best received as a greater audience becomes aware of your business. With better knowledge of your target audience, you can then tailor your approach.
Consider different forms of media and their various uses. For example, some e-commerce platforms can be effective for both marketing and market research. While you may be concerned chiefly with how to get more sales on eBay, it’s also worth analyzing the relevant data. This will enable you to determine where most of your sales are coming from and improve your sales strategies accordingly.
Networking opportunities are everywhere. However, to become a successful freelancer, you must take advantage of those that are right for you and your business. Local events can be an excellent place to connect with others and make your name known, but more specialized events could be more beneficial depending on your business area.
Business hubs, events hosted by relevant companies, and trade shows are always available and may help you develop connections with people in similar fields. In the aftermath of a global pandemic, more of these services are being provided online, and these offer new accessibility with virtual communication.
As a freelancer, you may be working in a niche field and find limited events to attend. Here, the right approach might be to host your own event. Creating a community of people interested in your industry will yield results in the long term.
With in-person meetings out of the question for the time being, you must weigh up the advantages of the available online communication tools, for instance, Glip vs Slack, to help you plan your events.
With the right mindset, strategies, and approach, networking can be an efficient and productive way to expand your freelance business. Taking advantage of the right opportunities, both online and in-person can help to establish a reliable network of valuable contacts.
These connections can assist with business-related questions and put you in touch with potential customers. Obtaining the right information and improving your visibility through networking can thus help you establish a sustainable and flexible freelance career.