How to Use Networking to Find Freelance Clients

December 12, 2010 by  
Filed under Technology

Freelancers are always seeking new clients. It’s the very nature of the business. Without clients, the business flounders, so there is always a push for marketing and new development – even when the freelancer has a full schedule. One of the simplest ways to get new freelance clients, however, doesn’t require more than just chattering with friends – so long as they are the right friends.

Networking

A professional network is a collection of friends and peers who all overlap within an industry usually, although they don’t have to. Think about the beauty of a professional network. When you need to sell your house, you ask your friend who happens to be a realtor to help you out. She lists the house and then gives you the name of her favorite inspector to help find problems. He refers you to the best HVAC or plumbing guy in town when it’s time for a quick repair. You might even get a discount since you’re a “friend of a friend.”

Why should this kind of networking just be online? You can use professional networking to find freelance jobs as well.

Make the Right Friends

The first step to effective networking is to find the right friends. While presumably everyone can help you find clients, the best choices are the people who work with the individuals you’re seeking. For example, the owner of a web design company is going to work with the same people who need website content written. Sometimes the web design firm offers to write the content for the individual, but if it’s not the designer’s strong suit, he might just outsource it to someone who can – that would be you, the freelance writer. This works just as well for a coder, flash designer, or other online professional.

Stay Current in the Circle

Once you have a relationship established, you’ll need to stay current and in a favorable light with your new friends. Make it a point to chat with your friends once a week or so. Add something of value to a community where everyone gathers. Keep your name out there so that when it’s time for a recommendation, you’re the first one everyone thinks of for the particular job that you do. This is true for all levels of professionals – developers, designers, SEO experts and content or coding services.

Protect Your Reputation

Within your circle, you have a rep to protect. The way you conduct business tells others how reliable you’re going to be should they choose to hire you – or recommend you. There’s nothing worse than to recommend someone who turns out to be a total flake or worse – a thief. When you provide a service, you have to stay squeaky clean if you’re hoping for referrals. You can run a business without being practically angelic, but if you expect others to pitch your services for you, you’ll have to toe the line. Being a bad boy or girl is only cool in the movies – not on the bottom line.

Easy Step By Step Instructions for Using Networking

  • Make the right friends
  • Stay current and fresh in the minds of your peers.
  • Establish and then protect your reputation online.

Warnings, Advice and Suggestions for Finding Jobs Using Networking

For your best luck with referrals consider bundling your services with another provider. Combining services, especially if done as part of a partnership, can be very lucrative for both individuals involved, although tricky to establish and maintain at times.

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