Networking!! Every creative freelancer’s all-time favorite activity. Going to events, shaking hands, suffering paper cuts from handing out hundreds of business cards, and more.
Or maybe you’re an online networker, stalking individuals on Social media, filling their inbox with ideas, services, and links to your portfolio. Does any of this sound familiar?
Recently I read that I had been doing things wrong. If you are also like me who was doing the above mentions activities. Many designers believe that there is just one method to network, however this is not the case.
Today, I’m going to show you a far easier and more successful method to network as a freelancer, as well as explain why you should never, ever approach networking in the manner stated above.
Why your Networking Technique is not working?
Why is it bad to network in the “traditional” manner? In regard to the work you’ve received, how effective have your networking efforts been? Are potential clients banging on your door, waiting to work with you, providing high-paying work tailored only for you? The odds are, if you’re reading this, they’re not.
The old method of networking is ineffective since it is used by everyone. At every event, contacts are thrown with offers from freelancers like you. If you simply follow the crowd and do what everyone else is doing, you will most likely get what everyone else is getting: ignored.
The primary issue with conventional networking is the mentality that most individuals have when they begin. What is the most important reason you network? To increase the number of clients.
You do the above-mentioned things when you need clients. However, there is another way to look at networking that can benefit you far more in the long term. That approach entails viewing networking as something to accomplish before you need work. That’s exactly what I stated.
Build a connection
Relationships are the foundation of networking. It is about continual back-and-forth contact with someone with whom you have a mutually beneficial connection. Most individuals do not give vital information to strangers who contact them once a year when they want assistance. That would be a waste of their time and effort because there is no way for them to obtain good validation from that individual.
Put yourself in their shoes: how would you feel if you were approached once by a freelancer searching for work and took the time to answer, only to never hear from them again? Dealing with those sorts of networkers might be frustrating since it’s apparent that they’re just interested in what you can provide them.
To stand out, you must become the type of networker that does not beg for anything from your contacts and instead strives to give them with some form of value.
A celebratory email, along with a link to material that they might find interesting or useful. Keeping in touch with individuals in your network does not have to be difficult, but it is critical that they understand your primary goal is not to suck them dry and then vanish.
Another important component of good networking is being at the center of people’s minds. If you meet someone in person but do not follow up with them by phone or email, you are passing up an opportunity to develop a meaningful connection.
Your contact will just assume you are one of the “masses,” and when you contact them again (perhaps many months to a year later), they will not only forget who you are, but they may also be annoyed by your abrupt intrusion into their busy schedule. That is not what you desire.
Instead, try following up with someone right away after an in-person encounter. Email them at regular intervals – not enough to spam them, but enough to let them know you’re still alive and to express your gratitude for the time they took to speak with you and give you with whatever assistance you may have gotten.
Your work is an excellent strategy to be at the forefront of people’s minds. Many designers do not consider informing prospective clients about new projects, yet this may be one of the most efficient methods to market your brilliance without coming off as a bother.
Everyone is interested in hearing about exciting new creative initiatives; here is your opportunity to showcase your most recent personal work and distinguish yourself as a forward-thinking creative professional.
Practice Makes Perfect
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. You should ask questions and take notes the great majority of the time, enabling the other person to talk freely. But it’s not a huge deal if you make a mistake and say the incorrect thing.
The more you practice, the more effective you will become. Perfection is not the goal here but building a great network with the client.