I knew when I was a sophomore in college that I wanted to be a freelancer after graduation. I wasn’t necessarily sure what that meant, and I wasn’t sure how I would get into that kind of work, but I hoped I would figure it out eventually.
Not too long ago, networking was just talking to people about what you do and exchanging business cards. Now, we have this glorious thing called the Internet, which allows our reach to extend much further. We can reach out on social media and connect to people from all over – we can make an impression without even having to meet someone in person.
But just because we have a larger web of networking doesn’t mean jobs will just come to us. If you want to be a successful freelancer, you’ve got to work for it. Here are 5 ways you can boost your networking:
Connect With Your Contacts
I got my first freelancing gig when an old friend reached out to me on Facebook. I had been sharing my work on social media, and she thought my writing style would work well for her site.
After that, I realized what incredible sources I could have within my very own contact list.
Look around your friends and followers on social media; scroll through your phone contacts; look around and see what the people you know are up to and see what kinds of connections and opportunities could arise.
Go to Events
Often times, with this new and exciting web of networking that we get online, it’s easy to just stick behind the screen. While you can have plenty of success with this, your relationships can drastically improve if you attend events in your industry and meet with people who could help you with your career.
Become Friends With Other Freelancers
You shouldn’t look at other freelancers in your field as competition, but rather, as coworkers whom all share common goals. If you can establish friendships, you can help each other succeed by doing things such as: referring each other when one of you is too busy to take on a job, sharing each other’s work and help you out with a project that could use more than two hands.
Be an Everyday Networker
Just because you get to work from home on your own time doesn’t mean you don’t have to be social as a freelancer. If anything, you need to be even more social so you can put your name out there and be memorable.
Don’t ever be afraid to talk about what you do – even if you’re just at a friendly party getting to know people, they could remember you and refer you to someone in the future. Be friendly, social, and ready for your sales pitch. This isn’t to say you should always be wearing your best salesman smile, but definitely take advantage of every opportunity.
Be Active on Social Media
As I mentioned before, I got a great job simply by sharing my work on social media. Have an active presence on all platforms that you believe could be beneficial for your work – yes, even Pinterest. Get your friends and followers familiar with your profession and your work, and you’ll be amazed at what connections and referrals you’ll receive.
There’s much more you can do besides these five things to broaden your networking, but these are just the first steps in expanding your reach. If you’re serious about launching your career as a freelancer, these tips are sure to lead you to success.