Good day and welcome to freelancing week. I'll have to pretend to be professional for the next week or so. I'll try to still keep it fun too though. Well the first topic on the list was networking so let's get right on to it.
Networking is no doubt one of the most important parts of freelancing. It's important that you build up a base of regular clients. It's great if you can build up further connections and have these clients recommend you to other people but that can be a little tough. To be honest I think some people are unwilling to share some freelancers and may not want to recommend you to other people. I've actually had people ask if I could work for them exclusively a number of times. I've always had to turn them down because I would rather have a network of regular clients.
Networking is almost impossible to do on your own when you're getting started. You could introduce yourself to people and try and send them your business card but do you know what I do when people do that? I ignore them. I have also had people try and network with me. They send me messages saying that they will do work for me. I do all my own work thanks. I've considered hiring people and trying to go into more of a business for myself but I'm respected for my quality. If it wasn't me doing the work I know that I would lose clients.
When you just start out you should really use a service like Fiverr or Upwork. I'd recommend oDesk but they were bought out by UpWork. So they're off the map. Going with a bigger service lets you connect and network with clients to your hearts content. People come to you with work or you can approach them and say that you can do the work for them. What matters is that everyone is in on the game. If you're on those services then you're either looking for work or looking for workers. No one will complain if you try and network with them.
So how did I build up my network? I did hard work. (Almost) everyone I've worked with has been so impressed with my quality of work that they come back for more. I have two negative reviews. Two. And I can say I earned them too. I mess up a little sometimes. Everyone does.
Manners go a long way too! When you do a job it's always good to thank the person for the work and tell them that you look forward to working together in the future. Try and make things personal too. When you deliver your work mention something they asked you to do and tell them that you did it. Or use their name.
Networking is as simple as delivering quality work and connecting with people. When you connect with people like this you, well, you make connections. You establish a stream of steady work.
Don't give up hope if it takes a while either. I'm not kidding when I say that it took me about two years to begin supporting myself through freelancing. Even now I'm still only earning about as much as if I had a part time job. It'll likely be another year or so until I'm earning enough to completely support myself.
It takes time and it takes work but a good network is essential to surviving as a freelancer.
Coming up on Thursday: Managing Finances and Self-Motivation!