Do you occasionally long for the opportunity to hash things out with a group of colleagues? Whether it’s an upcoming sports game or a great new iphone app, that casual back-and-forth banter is usually absent when you’re a solo worker.
Joining in a twitter chat is one way that freelancers can replicate this. A Twitter chat – also called a party - is when a group of individuals meet on Twitter at a set time to discuss a planned topic. A moderator usually organizes the event. They’ll start things off, welcome the attendees, and keep the conversation going.
Aside from enjoying some interaction with your peers, attending a chat is a great way to grow your Twitter presence. Continue Reading
Years ago, the idea of networking brought to mind stuffy business suits, too many cocktails, lots of artificial smiles and polite nodding. Then came the internet, allowing people to network from safety, tucked away behind their keyboard. With a sigh of relief, networkers gained newfound confidence and began mingling with almost anyone. The pressure to get out and attend face-to-face events diminished.
But there’s still something to be said for personal connections, and today, successful entrepreneurs are realizing that good, old fashioned meetings are still an important part of the recipe.
If you’ve spent years cultivating a strong presence on social media, don’t panic – social networking is, and will continue to be, an important part of your overall marketing campaign. But if it’s been a while since you’ve gone out and actively met with your prospects, it might be time to see what’s out there. Continue Reading
You can find thousands of guides full of recommendations on how to excel on different online networking platforms. But to succeed as a freelancer, you need to have some old school skills as well.
Being able to network effectively in person can bring you great clients, some of whom may even be easier to work with because you know them better than someone who hired you online.
Make a Plan to Get Out
It’s easy to spend every hour of your day glued to your computer. In order to successfully network in person, however, you actually have to go out and meet people.
Try setting minimum expectations for yourself: attending one event each month or introducing yourself to a new person each week.
If networking events aren’t your thing, that’s fine. You can meet with people one on one or create other situations you’re more comfortable with. The important thing is to make a habit of regularly meeting new people, even if you’re just chatting up the person sitting next to you in the coffee shop.
Try setting minimum expectations for yourself: attending one event each month or introducing yourself to a new person each week. Start small, because it’s important to handle each new connection carefully — you want to build relationships with these individuals, rather than just collect a huge stack of business cards. You can always go out of your way to meet more people if you feel that you’re not moving fast enough. Continue Reading
There are a million freelancers out there. The question is, how are you going to get noticed and help people remember you and the type of freelance work you do?
The answer is branding yourself. As a freelancer, you need to create a memorable way for prospects to easily recall who you are and your freelancing specialty. I’ve reviewed hundreds of freelancers’ websites, and most of them don’t do a good job of presenting a memorable brand. But the good news is, it isn’t hard to improve your branding and gain a higher profile as a freelancer.
There are two basic ways to approach branding as a freelancer:
- Create a business name that tells people what you do in a snappy, artful way
- Use your own name but develop a concise motto or tagline that fills prospects in on your specialty
I know freelancers who’ve had great success using both of these strategies, so it’s not that one approach is always better than the other. It’s a question of which approach appeals to you and works best for the message you’re trying to get across.
Let’s look at how these branding approaches play out as you develop all the building blocks of your marketing toolkit as a freelancer. These are the steps to building a brand each freelancer needs to go through. It’s important to develop a clear brand message for your business.
Your goal is to present a consistent, unified message in all your marketing — at in-person networking events, on your website, on your business cards and other printed marketing materials, and in social media. Repeating one brand message will also help make you easier to remember. Let’s look at key branding tips to consider when creating your freelance brand. Continue Reading
Love them or hate them, elevator speeches are here to stay. They’re those self-introductions that people give at networking mixers and other venues.
The best ones stick with you for a lifetime.
When the late film director Alfred Hitchcock was asked what he produced, he said “Gooseflesh.” Or how about the government employee who was asked what he did? Answer: “I work for you.”
The trouble with these short, clever introductions is that they can easily become too clever. And awkward.
How many times has a colleague done something that turns widely profitable, or landed a great gig, and instead of being happy for their success, all you can think is, “Why didn’t I think of that?”
Jealousy is a common emotion in freelancing.It’s easy to view a colleague’s gain as your loss. But instead of wasting time beating yourself up about it, try to put this energy to work for you.
Here are some tips on how to move forward after you’re bitten by the green-eyed-monster.
- See it as an example. If your colleague can land a great job, why can’t you? Let their good luck propel you forward, and remind yourself that your goals are achievable, too.
- Learn from it. Pay closer attention to what your colleague did to land this spot. It may look like a pure luck, but there’s usually more to it than that. Is he more active on social media, or more diligent about going to conferences and networking events?
What is your goal at a networking event?
Are you looking to land new clients, make industry specific connections, or just mingle with fellow freelancers?
As you prepare to attend a networking mixer, choose a specific goal, such as writing web copy for nonprofits. Networking expert Kelly Jan says: “Save time by ensuring that you’re going to an event that either has people that need your services, or people who sell to those people.” Continue Reading
I make a point of getting on the phone, going out to lunch, even traveling to see other freelancers. It’s a good business habit to get into and it pays off well. There are a lot of reasons why you should spend your time with other freelancers — doing so is making an investment in your freelance career.
1. Other Freelancers Earn You Money
Landing projects is probably the best reason for a freelancer to do anything. Your fellow freelancers are a great source of projects, for a variety of reasons:
- Clients ask the freelancers they trust for recommendations for help with other types of projects.
- Some freelancers subcontract out parts of the projects they take on.
- Freelancers often refer projects they pass on to other freelancers who are a better fit.
Honestly, it’s not as common as we think for freelancers to compete with one another for projects. Sure, if you and another freelancer do roughly the same thing, you may go head to head on a few proposals. But there are a lot of referrals passed around and a lot of work gets divided between multiple freelancers. Other freelancers can be a major source of income. Continue Reading
Networking events can be nerve-wracking.
You’re in a room with a bunch of people you don’t know and you have to make conversation or risk looking like a wallflower. But just because networking events can make you uncomfortable or nervous doesn’t mean you shouldn’t attend. On the contrary—it can be great practice!
Here are some tips on how to make your next networking event a success:
The worst networkers are those who attend events with their friends and then talk to only their friends all night. It’s one of my pet peeves—you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. So If I see a group of people off to the side of the room talking only to themselves for an hour, I get turned off. I want to talk to people who are open to making new connections, not people who are using the networking event as their own private social gathering.
Dress the Part
You want to look like you belong there, so leave the hoodie and sneakers at home.
You won’t make an impression (at least, not a good one) if you look dishevelled, disorganized, or overly casual. But also pick something that makes you feel good—a great dress or those new shoes you’ve been wanting to wear will help you exude confidence in what can be an uncomfortable setting.—TheDailyMuse
You don’t have to go out and buy a business suit, but be mindful of looking presentable. Dirty fingernails and smelly jeans are a turn off. You want to put your best foot forward, and the first thing people judge you on is your appearance. Continue Reading
Networking is more than just attending events and swapping business cards. Freelancers, in particular, can find fellow collaborators, future partners, prospective clients, and a tribe of fellow freelancers when they network. Networking is about building relationships and like all relationships it takes trust and personal contact built over time.
1. Do a head check first and look inward.
The first relationship to consider before you jump into networking is the one you have with yourself. Can you deliver commitments and handle setbacks in a professional way? Do you recover quickly when things don’t go your way? Do you truly enjoy your work? You’ll need to get comfortable with your lifestyle as a freelancer to have the right interactions with others. Learn how to lead a more relaxed freelance lifestyle and ask yourself if you should really be freelancing.
A more appropriate self-image for a freelancer is someone who is self-employed. Remember, you are, in fact, a business owner– with all the perks and headaches.
Establishing your self-identity (and confidence) as a freelancer sometimes takes time and practice. The term “freelancer” often has negative connotations that many people new to the business can’t shake. Leaving a well-established career and shifting into being a free agent can be both an ego boost and ego deflator.
A more appropriate self-image for a freelancer is someone who is self-employed. Remember, you are, in fact, a business owner– with all the perks and headaches. For one thing, you have to wear a lot of hats. Not only are you a professional in your field, but you are also a project manager, a customer service rep, a marketer, a sales agent, a secretary, and an accountant. Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking freelancing is an easy life.
So, the next time you present yourself to others, hold your head high, and remember that you are a professional. If you treat yourself with respect, the rule of karma will follow you into that room when you present yourself to others and network. Continue Reading
An expo or a conference is a great way to network with other people who work in your industry, as well as a great place to reach a target market.
I co-own and edit a wedding magazine, so I’ve been to my fair share of bridal expos. And I’ve learned a lot from being surrounded by other vendors as well as dealing with attendees.
I found some excellent blog posts written by professional who have great advice on how to make the most of your time at a conference or expo. I’ve used some of their tips to illustrate my thoughts. If you’ll be attending a conference soon, then these tips are assembled just for you.
Do Your Research Before You Go
You might have to sign up to attend sessions in advance, so make sure to look up the topics and speakers ahead of time. The most popular sessions will fill up fast, so don’t wait to decide on what you want to attend on the day of the event—you might not get a seat!
A good strategy before conferences once you’ve seen the speaker and attendee list is to select the people you’d like to connect with. If you’re well established in the topic, perhaps you want to focus on making a few really strong and solid connections. If you’re just getting started and want to use the conference to get to know people, aim for a higher number. —Inc.com
Think about what you want to learn and take away from the conference, and plan your agenda accordingly. You aren’t going to be able to go to every session and meet every speaker—so make sure to make a list of priorities. Continue Reading
We all know that we need to spend as much time as we can networking with prospective clients. But how much time should you spend networking with other freelancers?
Other Freelancers Aren’t Just Competition
As a freelancer, other freelancers have to seem like competition. But those other freelancers can also be resources. Most of us have had mentors that have helped us get our freelancing careers off the ground. We learn how to be better freelancers from the community, more than anything else. Networking makes it easier to learn how to keep growing your business.
Dealing with your competition as a part of your network can be tough. It’s more than just having a mindset that there’s enough work to go around. If you’ve got a good marketing plan and a clear idea of your client base, that’s not a problem. But you need to go a step beyond that: you have to be personally comfortable making nice with someone who may be pitching the exact same people you are. It takes some practice and plenty of self-confidence. Continue Reading