Networking is and always will be the most important thing for your entrepreneurial journey and success. And if you give enough time to look around at people and the job that they have, you would notice that majority of them has been through referrals by friends or even a friend of a friend.
The importance of networking and collaboration cannot be over stressed. Long gone are the days of putting an ad in the local newspaper in hopes someone will see it and call you on their rotary phone to hire you. Or even looking newspaper to see ads that requires your services.
The best way to land new business and sustain being your own boss is through word of mouth and building personal relationships. Networking gets you jobs.
It is only possible to make people know who you are, what you do and that you are available through networking and word of the mouth.
There is no moment to overlook making a connection or networking. Every time you step out of your door, be prepared at all time and be opened to talking to as many people as possible. For a freelancer, especially, you are your brand, you have no visible product aside yourself that you want to promote. So, you’ve got to place yourself out there.
Tell everyone you meet what you do. Have a stack of business cards in your wallet. It’s a missed business opportunity if you don’t have them on you.
Aside this, always ensure to have around you like minded freelancers. You all want to succeed, so there is the place of support and help for one another. Much collaboration comes from having these people in your circle. Listen and learn from them. You need to know people who can refer work your way. Connect your contacts. Introduce your circle to your friends. Make your circle bigger.
Also pass work to those in your circle. Most people want to hire people they trust and word of mouth is the most reliable. Then when they land work through your referral, they refer you. So on and so forth.
And finally, stay in touch with those you have networked with. Don’t let these relationships dry up. Usually when you network with people you don’t necessarily get work right away. Reach out to them every so often to stay on top of mind. A quick email checking in is a perfect way to remind them about you. Ask them to coffee. Continue conversation. Ask what they are working on and offer help. Strengthen your relationship with them. Expand your connections through them. The more people you can reach the more opportunities there will be.