It’s not what you know; it’s who you know that counts. This modern adage applies not only in business but also in your freelancing career. After all, to succeed in freelancing, you should treat it as an enterprise.
The question is, how do you widen your professional network? You don’t even go out of the house anymore!
Worry not! Here are 5 tips for building a professional network online to grow your freelancing career.
The first tip is to be confident. Most online freelancers might be afraid to meet new people (even online) because they are shy. Or maybe they feel that they are not worthy enough.
That is not true. Convince yourself that you can give value to every person you meet. Know that your expertise (although you may not be the best) can upskill someone you professionally talk to.
Be confident in your capabilities. And people will be more attracted to connect with you.
Start With People You Know
You may have friends who know people. Or you might have happy clients you are servicing already. Why not ask them for referrals?
Statistically speaking, referrals result in higher closing rates because there is trust from the referrer. If you really did a good job, don’t be afraid. Put yourself out there.
The worst case that can happen is that they don’t refer you to anyone. That’s it! But remember, it will always be a NO unless you ask.
Be Active in Facebook Groups
Facebook is truly a game-changer for both social and business networking. You can now find FB groups that comprise of like-minded people in your field of interest. One example is the “Filipino Freelancer with Australian Clients” community.
The best freelancing communities offer opportunities such as free training and discussions. If you want to meet new people, better participate in most of the threads and polls. In this way, people will likely know you and connect with you.
Build a LinkedIn Profile
In the area of professional networking, there’s LinkedIn with a reported 590 million members in 200 countries.
You too can build your professional network online while you’re working in your chosen field or career. LinkedIn offers many options for you to connect with people in your industry.
Don’t just build a resume-type LinkedIn profile. Aim to add value by sharing articles relevant in your field. Actively participate in communities under your niche so that you can professionally connect with people you like after.
Reach Out to Someone You Look Up to
Do you have people you respect as thought leaders in your field? It may be daunting. But you can try reaching out to people you look up to.
You’ll never know. You might end up with an influential mentor for your career.
Attend Freelancing Seminars and Networking Events (!)
It may not be online. But you should go out of your house from time to time, especially if it’s for a freelancing seminar or a networking event. Nothing beats face-to-face interaction.
One example is the Working Remote Conference last September. There are countless of like-minded individuals in one room. You can even chat with the speakers and connect with them on social media!
It’s important to note. Do not link to people just because you want to sell something to them or you just want their connections. Your new friends are smart.
Yes, referrals may come incidentally. But genuinely think of connecting with them to be a friend. Creating these real lasting relationships will go a long way, not only in your freelancing business but also in your life.