Freelance networking can be frustrating but it’s also extremely important. Having the right contacts can open doors that otherwise remain closed, especially to a freelancer. Connecting with potential clients and anybody who might be interested in your work can help you call upon those connections when the need arises.
What exactly is the secret to proper networking that will help you in your freelance career? Here are some tips, tricks and suggestions for freelance networking that you can use.
1. Start small
Approaching strangers can be difficult when starting out so it’s best to start with the people that you know. Begin slowly with your friends and relatives and then when you’re a little more comfortable with the idea of networking, move on to your alumni network. A tip is to stick around with the people you know and ask them for an introduction to the people you are looking to meet.
2. Don’t ignore other freelancers
A general tip that applies to both online and offline networking is not leaving other freelancers out. As you’re building your network, help out fellow freelancers if you can. Think of it as having good, reliable colleagues. If the workload is too much, the project too big or just too difficult, freelancers need others that they can count on.
3. Join in on online freelancer groups and forums
By joining online freelancer groups (like the Rtist Facebook group for example!), and interacting with other freelancers can help you to boost your freelancing career immensely. If people stumble upon your content, they may see you as an expert in your field and may even hire you or recommend you to others. This can also help to increase your visibility as a freelancer.
4. Build your professional portfolio
People often think that professional networks like LinkedIn are often only used when one is looking for a job. This is an oversimplification. Professional networks like these are one of the best resources available to freelancers for online networking. You might also want to consider connecting with people or clients on Rtist. It’s one of the more comprehensive platforms for you to share your portfolio, as well as get clients to see your works. Keep your profile up to date and include projects you’re working on, but also actively look for people who work on similar things.
5. Be genuine
Networking isn’t asking people you know for a job. Don’t focus solely on what kind of job your networking efforts are going to land you. Have a normal conversation with your connections like you would with people. Focus instead on presenting yourself in a genuine manner and listening to what others have to say. This leads to much better results. Genuine passion about your work is the most important aspect that potential clients are going to remember when considering you for a job in the future.
6. Follow up
Last but not least, remember to follow up on your connections. Freelance networking is about building relationships so make sure you maintain your network. Always find a reason to keep the relationship going with your connections. Aim to get in touch a few times a year.
So, how do you network? We’d love to hear more from you. Speak to us by joining our Rtist Creative Club on Facebook. If you’re still not sure where to start your freelancing journey, why not check out Rtist? We have one of the biggest creative talent communities in Malaysia that matches you with your clients.