Self employed individuals have to make the most of the opportunities presented to them. Looking for new clients is very hard work at times, as is maintaining successful relationships with your current clients. Finding extra avenues to achieve this will give you a boost to your confidence and reputation, with online business forums an excellent place to look.
There are countless blog posts and articles about the benefits of networking, mentioned on these very pages in fact, but it is worth noting that online forums provide a non-stop networking route to pursue. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, you’ll be able to sign into online business forums and get talking to potential new clients and people you’ve recently worked with.
Stay active, comment and reply to threads, help others out even if it isn’t of immediate and direct benefit to you, because every kind gesture does make an impact and over time you’ll become known as someone to trust and build a solid reputation. Networking opportunities aren’t the be all and end all, but they do offer a limitless potential for an ever refreshing client base.
Seek a Creative Spark & Industry Knowledge
Forums are a hotbed of discussion about the latest trends and news. They are great places to find that creative spark you can miss from time to time when working alone and can increase your wider knowledge.
Test out your own ideas, products and services by asking questions and the bigger the forum the wider the sample audience to help you validate ideas or realise the drawbacks and start again.
We all have moments where we lack belief or knowledge in a particular area, business forums can help you find the answers. Especially if you’re starting out, asking simple questions can help you work out how to get over the common mistakes everyone makes when first freelancing.
Build Lasting Relationships
Finding new clients and job opportunities can appear to be a little like the ‘Wild West’ to an outsider or newcomer but an online business forum is a good grounding to help you build long lasting relationships and friendships that enhance your client retention and build-up.
Your clients are present, as are potential clients. Anyone looking to hire a freelancer isn’t going to jump into bed with someone they know nothing about so talking with your clients and gaining recommendations from then can go a long way to helping you build new relationships.
Build Trust and Increase Awareness of your Brand
Make the most of the opportunities a forum allows you. Comment on threads and posts that relate to your area of expertise, that way you can post your thoughts and slowly become known as an expert in your field. It’s not about pushing your product and services but showing you understand an issue and would be a good person to hire in future for those reading. It’s a soft sell that enhances your reputation as someone to trust.
If you have a website/blog, ensure it is mentioned in your profile. Don’t spam forums with links to your own work but by having your details presence it increases the potential for traffic to your own website, which in turn leads to better interaction and sales in the long term.