As the workforce continues to evolve, you may have noticed an increase in freelance and contract opportunities. Like a majority of professionals, this might even be a career path you’re considering pursuing. As companies begin to rely more heavily on freelance and contract professionals, now may be the right time for you to begin making the transition to freelance work.
In order to be a successful freelancer, however, you need to be a successful networker. While networking is an important career strategy for any professional, the stakes are a little higher for freelancers. Not only is networking one of the best ways to find new projects, but it can help you find a community that will help support your goals and motivate you to find success. Therefore, knowing the networking tips necessary to build a strong network is critical.
In order to reap the benefits of networking as a freelancer, here are the four networking tips you’ll need to be successful:
Define your goals
Before you begin going to networking events and reaching out to professionals in your industry, take some time to outline your short-term and long-term goals. To start, think about the types of projects you want to pursue, what skills you want to build, and what you want to be considered an expert in. It can be easy to lose sight of the big picture as you start building your list of clients, so these set goals can help you prioritize, stay organized, and focused on the reasons why you became a freelancer.
Don’t network just for job opportunities
Before you begin networking, it’s important to understand what makes networking for a freelancer so unique. Due to the nature of this professional lifestyle, freelancing can sometimes feel like a lonely experience, especially if you work remotely. When you start building your network as a freelancer, you’ll want to make an effort to network with people who are in a similar position as you. While they may not always be able to find you a job opportunity, they will be able to provide support and motivation for when you feel stuck.
Regularly reach out to your connections
As a freelancer, you likely aren’t as beholden to a set schedule the same way you would be in a job with traditional work hours. Because of this, carve out time each week to meet up or chat with someone within your network. Whether that’s going out for coffee or giving someone a call to catch up, being proactive about communicating with your contacts can lead to new job opportunities and projects!
Be supportive and pay it forward
For freelancers, being supportive of the other people in your network may be among one of the most important networking tips to follow. Why? Providing support now can help you gain support in the future! For example, extending well wishes to someone when they land an exciting opportunity can encourage that person to think of referring you to their employer or another person in their network when future projects arise.