Monday, 25 July 2016

Freelancing Week Part One: Networking

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!

7 comments:

  1. "what I do when people do that? I ignore them."
    That's the thing though, handing out business cards to people who do not have a need you can fill (or will have such a need in the near future) is a waste of paper. The connection is much more likely to work if the supply-demand pair is there.

    Also, question: have you ever (especially in the early days) taken on unpaid work for friends or whoever, just so you had something to grow your portfolio with?

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  2. I admire anyone who can work without a boss. I'd love to do some illustration freelancing (and I've done a few small projects) but having a full time job and a family kind of gets in the way.

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  3. Thanks for sharing this useful information, and of course it sounds like hard work!

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  4. Networking or reputation is essential in a lot of jobs!

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  5. You make excellent points about the importance of manners, the value of doing good work and the necessity to have patience while building a network and reputation. These qualities are needed in any career or profession. No one starts right at the top and all too often, people expect to and quit in frustration when that does not (LOL) happen.

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  6. Impressive! Yes, manners definitely do go a long way. Great post on the most effective ways to network.

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  7. You always come up with the best site on the interwebs to recommend. I may consider getting into something like freelancing one day to earn extra cash but it does seem like it takes quite a commitment.

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