Network freelancing can seem like it is a lot of work and that is true, networking while being a freelancer can make anyone feel like they never signed up for two jobs. However, networking and freelancing go together for several reasons.
“Network freelancing” refers to the practice of using online platforms and networks to connect with clients and other freelancers. The benefits of network freelancing include access to a larger pool of potential clients, the ability to collaborate with other freelancers on projects, and the ability to work remotely. Additionally, these platforms often provide tools and resources to help freelancers manage their workload and finances. By leveraging these online networks, freelancers can gain exposure, build their brand, and grow their business in a way that may not have been possible otherwise.
This article is going to expatiate on the dos and don’ts of network freelancing, to help freelancers understand networking properly and scale up their business.
Dos of Network Freelancers
Here are some things freelancers need to consider doing to be able to successfully network.
1. Building a strong online presence
Building a strong online presence is crucial for freelancers, as it allows them to market their skills and services to a wider audience and attract new clients. A strong online presence can be built by creating a professional website, maintaining an active social media presence, and building a personal brand.
A professional website allows freelancers to showcase their portfolios, list their services, and provide information about their experience and qualifications. A website is also a great place to include testimonials from previous clients and to include a contact form for potential clients to reach out to them.
Social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram can also be used by freelancers to market their services and connect with potential clients. By consistently creating and sharing high-quality content that showcases their expertise, freelancers can establish themselves as thought leaders in their field and attract new clients.
In addition to a website and social media, freelancers should also focus on building a personal brand. This includes crafting a unique and memorable brand message, choosing a consistent visual style, and staying true to their brand values. Having a strong personal brand can help freelancers stand out in a crowded market and attract clients who are looking for specific expertise.
In conclusion, having a professional website, an active social media presence, and a strong personal brand are key factors in building a strong online presence for freelancers to attract new clients and grow their businesses.
2. Building real-life relationships
Building relationships is an essential part of being a successful freelancer. When you have strong, positive relationships with your clients, they are more likely to be satisfied with the work you do for them and to come back to you for additional projects in the future. Additionally, having a good reputation and a strong network of contacts can help you find new clients and opportunities.
One way to build relationships with clients is to consistently deliver high-quality work on time and within budget. This will help establish trust and demonstrate your competence. You should also be responsive and easy to communicate with, as this can help foster a good working relationship.
Another way to build relationships is to actively network and connect with other professionals in your field. This can include attending industry events, joining professional organizations, and participating in online forums or groups related to your work. These connections can be a valuable source of information and may lead to new clients and opportunities.
Ultimately, building relationships takes time and effort, but it is an essential part of growing a successful freelance business. Consistently providing value to clients, being easy to work with, and networking to create a reputation in the field will open doors for many more opportunities and a sustainable career.
3. Providing value
Providing value is a crucial aspect of being a successful freelancer. It refers to the benefit or utility that a freelancer offers to their clients through their work. This can include things like delivering high-quality work on time, offering expertise in a particular field, or providing excellent customer service.
One way freelancers can provide value is by understanding their client’s needs and goals and then tailoring their work to meet those needs. This could involve going above and beyond what is expected in the scope of the project or being proactive in identifying potential issues and addressing them before they become problems.
Another way to provide value is to continuously strive to improve one’s skills and knowledge. This not only makes freelancers more capable of handling more complex or demanding projects, but it also makes them more valuable to potential clients as it demonstrates that they are invested in their work and stay up to date with the latest developments in their field.
Additionally, freelancers should be able to communicate effectively with their clients and be transparent, honest, and timely in their communication. This helps build trust and ensure clients are satisfied with the work delivered.
Overall, providing value is not only important for building strong client relationships but also for gaining a reputation as a reliable and trustworthy freelancer, which is essential for long-term success in the industry.
4. Following up and maintaining relationships in network freelancing
For freelancers, following up and maintaining relationships with clients is essential for securing repeat business and building a positive reputation in the industry. This can be achieved through various methods, such as promptly responding to client inquiries and delivering projects on time, as well as proactively reaching out to clients to check in on their satisfaction with completed work. Additionally, freelancers can maintain relationships by building a professional online presence through networking platforms and social media, which can help attract new clients and showcase a freelancer’s skills and past work. By being responsive, reliable, and professional, freelancers can establish long-lasting relationships with clients and grow their businesses.
It’s also important for freelancers to be responsive, willing to communicate effectively with clients, and ready to address any issues that may arise during a project. Building trust is key, and it can be achieved by showing a clear understanding of the client’s needs and expectations, which is possible with a clear contract and timeline. This can help establish a positive working relationship and ensure that the client is satisfied with the final product. Furthermore, freelancers should also be willing to go above and beyond to meet client needs and expectations; this can be achieved by providing exceptional customer service and being open to feedback and suggestions.
In summary, freelancers need to be proactive and responsive in maintaining relationships with clients, be reliable and professional, establish trust, build a professional online presence, and provide exceptional customer service. This can help them secure repeat business and build a positive reputation in the industry.
Don’ts of Network Freelancing
We have learned about what freelancers should do when it comes to networking. However, knowing what to not do is also as important. Here are the don’ts of freelance networking.
1. Being too pushy or aggressive
Being too pushy or aggressive is a major “don’t” for freelancers, as it can alienate potential clients and damage a freelancer’s reputation in the industry. Being pushy means applying too much pressure on clients to make a decision or take a particular course of action, and it can make clients feel uncomfortable and resentful. Clients want to feel in control and respected, and if they sense that a freelancer is being pushy, they may choose to work with someone else.
Furthermore, freelancers should avoid being aggressive in their communication and behavior, which can also be off-putting to clients. Aggressiveness can be defined as being harsh or intimidating in one’s approach, and it can create a hostile or unfriendly environment. Clients want to feel comfortable and at ease when working with a freelancer, and if they sense that the freelancer is being aggressive, they may choose to work with someone else.
It’s also essential for freelancers to be aware that this type of behavior may not only damage their relationship with current clients but also cause them to get negative feedback or be blacklisted from future opportunities.
Therefore, freelancers should strive to be professional, respectful, and understanding in all interactions with clients. This can be achieved by actively listening to clients’ needs and concerns, responding to client inquiries promptly, and being responsive and adaptable to client feedback. Additionally, freelancers should avoid being too pushy in promoting their services and instead focus on building long-term relationships based on trust and mutual respect. By taking a more measured and professional approach, freelancers can build strong, lasting relationships with clients and establish a positive reputation in the industry.
2. Neglecting online presence
Neglecting one’s online presence is a common mistake that freelancers should avoid when trying to network and build their business. An online presence is essentially the image and reputation that a freelancer has on the internet, and it can have a significant impact on the success of a freelancer’s business.
Neglecting an online presence, on the other hand, is an important no-no when it comes to network freelancing. It can make it harder for freelancers to be found and make new contacts. For instance, if a freelancer doesn’t have a website or a professional profile on LinkedIn, it can be more difficult for potential clients to learn about their services and qualifications.
3. Lack of authenticity
Being authentic is crucial for freelancers who want to network, as it helps build trust and establish credibility with potential clients and collaborators. When freelancers are not authentic, they risk damaging their reputation and losing potential opportunities. For example, if a freelancer exaggerates their skills or experience, they may land a job they are not qualified to complete, which can lead to poor performance and negative feedback. Additionally, if a freelancer is not authentic in their communication with potential clients or collaborators, they may struggle to establish strong relationships, as trust and transparency are key components of successful partnerships.
Furthermore, not being authentic can also make freelancers appear inauthentic and untrustworthy in front of their peers, which could lead them to miss out on future collaboration or partnership opportunities. It may also cause them to lose existing professional relationships as well as potential new connections.
In short, being authentic is critical for freelancers, as it allows them to establish credibility, build trust, and create strong relationships—all of which are essential for success in the competitive world of freelance work. Not being authentic can not only hurt a freelancer’s chances of getting a job but also their reputation and long-term career prospects.
Be genuine and authentic in your interactions, and focus on building relationships rather than immediately trying to sell your services. Create a strong online presence, and make an effort to stay connected with your network. By doing so, freelancers will be able to establish credibility and trust, which will help them find new opportunities and build sustainable careers. Network freelancing will work just fine.
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