Being a freelancer is no regular job to do. It takes a lot of hard work to become successful in this field. And as a freelancer, it is essential to build contacts for your business work. You need sufficient references – people who work out as your clients. You need people to help you deliver expected results. So what drastic steps should you do in establishing contacts for your business?
This is where effective networking comes in. Networking simply means the act of creating, extending and maintaining personal connections with different types of people in the business. It is a way to seek sources for opportunities like extending business to more clients and how to gain technical expertise.
Networking is easily achieved if the person steps out of his normal work environment. This is because most people are so engrossed with what they work and the people that surround them. If they just only start breaking loose from what they are accustomed with, it is the only way towards building an effective network.
Why the need for networking?Image by Laura Leavell
1) Finding jobs easily through connections
Networking can help you land jobs of your dreams. Take for instance a manager who has sought another employment. With networking, he is able to extend jobs to his former colleagues even if distance has kept them apart. With the right connection, he gets to choose his own team in the current employment. Hence, this could be another step to achieve the company’s objectives.
This also applies to freelancers working through networking. Because people are aware with what you can extend to them, existing contacts like friends and associates recommend you to where they might be right now. This is because they need your service and therefore, a network is built out from staying closely connected with them. It is also in this way that you prolong your career.
2) Getting people who can help you improve your craft
Another advantage of networking is its ability to train or provide mentoring programs to people who need it. If you are a freelancer and find yourself inexperienced or have no idea of certain fields, networking can help you find the right contact that can help you train for the job. In this way, a better perspective of the job is understood and attained.
How you should enhance your networking skills effectively?
You need to know certain ways to improve your networking skills. This will prove helpful as you need to establish contacts for your business to work. Having an effective networking skill drives you the thrill to gain more contacts with possible clients and people who can help you carry out your freelancing job.
1) Practice positive networking
Positive networking is discovering what you can do for someone else – take for instance meeting a possible business partner or client. Somebody gets to introduce him to you about what he has to offer and how you can benefit from it. You get to share similar views and opinions as he also introduces you to few of his colleagues who can possibly work closely with you. This could start a new business for you; hence a possible partnership may be infused.
2) Handing out business cards
If you have existing business cards with you, it is suggested to disseminate it to people you have met in networking groups. It is a way of showing them that you are offering services they just might be interested. In the same way, it also provides you with pertinent information of people you need and want to work closely with.
3) Saying yes to invitations
When people in the networking group invite you to certain events or functions, just immediately say yes. In this way, you welcome meeting other people who can be possible people you can work with. It is also in this way that you meet people who share similar views with you and get to receive feedbacks on how to improve your craft.
Take for instance a possible client who invites you to attend his business gatherings. One way to know what he has in store for you to do is by mingling with his staff and associates. In this way can your services come in and how it can benefit his company.
Another way is by joining social networking sites. These people tend to show their products and services so you know how they work. It is also in this way that they know what you can do them.
4) Make people feel comfortable with you
Most people seem uncomfortable during networking situations. This is because you are unfamiliar with the people around you need to find a topic that will perfectly suit their interest. If you have that host mentality or the talent to start a skillful conversation, it could be an advantage to provide ease and comfort to these people. They can begin find relevance and enjoy the discussion you just started.
5) Make follow-ups short and fast
Whenever business has began and is being transacted, you will be writing several correspondences periodically. It is important that you should reply to these communications the fastest way and in a concise manner. In this way there is mutual interest from both parties. Also start to make it a habit.
6) Cure networking nervousness
Build your confidence by joining social networking groups. In this way you can meet people that have similar traits like you do. Similar views and opinions are shared and rapport is easily established. When you have met quite a number of people that share similar sentiments like you, you tend to overcome nervousness.
When you have built an efficient business network, you tend to be successful with your career as a freelancer and with life in general. Study shows people who stay close with other people in the networking business live healthily and happily. So besides doing it for your career, try to apply it to your personal life for guaranteed fulfillment.