Becoming cut off from the outside world is a real possibility for those who work at home if they don’t create a habitual presence in both online and real-life business communities.
Networking is a powerful tool for any business, but can take on a much more important role for a freelancer as it could mean the difference between picking up new work from new clients and struggling for work.
Keep up to Date with Local Networking Events
Every town and city has a networking scene that you can easily become involved in. The thing with business networking is that there is always something going on. Some networking events are industry specific; others are wide open to anyone. For some you will have to pay an entry fee or membership, others are free. There are open forum discussions, presentations, lectures and a whole host of opportunities.
Depending on your industry and the type of work you undertake you might only be able to make a certain time of day. Many freelancers may be put off by networking due to the thought of it being a closed group at set times, but there are events throughout the day, from breakfast meetings for the early risers right through to late at night.
Investigate your local networking scene and find meetings that are suitable to your industry or where you’re likely to find your target audience, the types of businesses that are in need of your product/services. Building relationships with new clients has to start somewhere, networking is a great place to meet people face to face and build a rapport.
Stay Social Online
We all know how much the internet has changed the world and the way everyone communicates, from children up to grandparents and everyone in between. As a freelancer it is down to you to not only complete the work, but also seek out new client leads and keep relationships fruitful.
You can look for new work projects online through various freelancing sites, build profiles on business forums and create and engage through social media platforms. Each of these aspects of online freelancing take on a slightly different role but each is important to your long term chances of success in the modern world.
Online networking groups are springing up all over the place and there has been great success for local and national networking hours on Twitter for instance, where a group of businesses and freelancers can post during a set period of time about their services, meet other people and find new work possibilities. Staying social online is hard graft at times and won’t yield immediate results, BUT it will help you build up your brand and reputation over time if you do it correctly and harness the power of engaging with others and utilising recommendations from happy clients.
Interact with People from Many Different Types of Industry
When looking into networking at both a physical location and online don’t restrict yourself to your own industry or immediate locale. Meeting people from all walks of life and with different business stories and industry knowledge will only help you build up a bigger picture of the endless possibilities of your own ambitions. Networking will enhance your chances of success; put you in touch with potential clients, suppliers and even new friendships. Why not take the leap and go networking today?
You can also join our Google+ Community “Startup in Britain” which is packed with help, resources and articles to get you started. Use it to get tips, advice and start building your network!