Network the Right Way
Updated: Oct 23, 2018
How many networking events will you go to before you throw in the towel? Sure, you might meet a potential customer, exchange business cards and hope for the best. But often it's a lot of effort for little return.
Here's how to network for a better return on your time and efforts:
Seek clients on social media. Follow potential clients on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. Interact with them when they post. Send them private messages to connect with them further. Also, join online groups. Hang out where your clients hang out.
Build genuine relationships. Meet the people you want to hire you for coffee and ask about their lives: "How did your child do in the geography bee?" "Is your grandfather doing any better?" You can get personal without crossing the boundaries of propriety. People who look at you as a "friend" will be more likely to hire you and refer you to other clients.
Start your own network. Create a safe place for freelancers in your field to interact. I started the Atlanta Copywriters Facebook group in 2017. We interacted online for about 9 months, primarily posting job leads. As word got out and the group grew, I added MeetUps. I ask members and other freelancers to present once a month.
At our first meeting, a member volunteered to create a freelance database. If one of us has to turn down a job, we can scan the database and recommend another writer to the client. It's a win-win for everyone!
Go to networking events for the food, wine and to make initial connections. Invest more time building personal and virtual relationships. You'll grow a larger client base with less effort.