Freelancing During Coronavirus? Here’s How to Network While Social Distancing
Life and business as we know it have dramatically changed in the last few weeks, and now, more than ever is the time to adapt to new circumstances and start innovating. In fact, it’s times like these that often lead to creative breakthroughs!
As a freelancer during the coronavirus pandemic, new assignments or opportunities from clients might have quickly come to a halt, and you’re wondering where your next paycheck is going to come from. You’re not alone as many freelancers worldwide are currently trying to navigate uncertainty.
However, don’t throw your hands up just yet – now is the time to adapt and create.
Why Networking is Important for Your Career
Networking, whether it’s face-to-face or done remotely, is a crucial part of any career. Many experts agree that the most connected people are often the most successful, as investing in professional and personal relationships can eventually pay you back in dividends during your career.
In fact, 80% of professionals consider networking to be important to career success and 35% said that a casual conversation via social platforms like LinkedIn has led to a new career opportunity. From new business deals to an increase in self-confidence, professionals in any field should make networking one of their top priorities.
So how can freelance professionals go about networking during this new era of social distancing? Remotely, of course. Strengthening professional ties and seeking out new ones could help you out in the long term once the pandemic is over. In order to survive, it’s more important than ever to stay in touch with your clients, reconnect with old colleagues and pursue new connections.
Here are our tips on how to network online and position yourself during the coronavirus pandemic, the right way.
1. Update Your LinkedIn Profile
Most professionals use social media platforms such as LinkedIn to connect with professionals and seek new career opportunities. Now’s the time to make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date with all the latest projects you worked on, who you worked for and the new skills you’ve gained up until today. It’s also worthwhile to update your profile picture if you’re going to give your profile a revamp!
Be as visible as you can, as many companies are still seeking freelance workers for additional projects. Engage with your connections and make yourself noticeable to them – whether it be sharing their posts, sending an InMail to see how they’re doing or asking for recommendations.
Interested in learning more about utilizing LinkedIn to grow your business? See our 10 Steps to Building a Powerful Freelancer Brand on LinkedIn. For additional information on freelancing, check out our Resource Center.
2. Join Groups on Social Media
Both Facebook and LinkedIn are filled with professional groups. These social media hubs not only provide a place for professionals in the same industry to share content, but they also provide new career opportunities. By joining these groups, freelancers can connect with peers and check out which companies are hiring freelancers.
Many companies who outsource their projects post job descriptions so if you fit the description, you can go ahead and introduce yourself to the person who posted the job – in a formal matter of course. Given the situation we are currently in, you have to be quick and proactive! Freelancers worldwide are chasing after clients in these groups, so it’s important to be prepared to introduce yourself once you spot an interesting job post.
3. Reach out to Existing Clients
Take a few minutes a day to reach out and connect with existing clients who you haven’t heard from in a while. Send them a short email and check up on their well-being and how they’ve been holding up these days – they’ll appreciate the thought. Don’t make it all about business at first, as that could potentially turn them off. Do let them know that you’re here to help if they need anything and that you’re available to make their lives easier. Once this pandemic is over, your clients will remember your kind gestures.
4. Launch an Online Networking Event
Have you always wanted to be a thought leader? Now’s the time to get creative and leverage every online resource you have. Turn webinars, podcasts and workshops into networking events with tools such as YouTube or GoToWebinar and become an authority in your niche. Online networking events can really help promote your services as your business is showcased front and center to your audience.
Invite existing clients, former colleagues and peers to join and exchange ideas. In addition, you should create a private LinkedIn group and extend the invitation to only those who register for your webinar. By joining this group, attendees can benefit from networking, collaborating and sharing ideas. Make sure to also leave some time open for Q&As with your audience, as it’s a great opportunity to take certain ideas offline and remain connected.
To continue thriving as a freelancer, it’s going to take a lot of creativity and willingness, but don’t let the COVID-19 crisis stop you from seeking new opportunities. Right now, more than ever, many business owners, companies and fellow freelancers are looking for new ideas and recommendations, which means you need to remain proactive.
Now’s the time to create content or come up with service offerings that are straight from the heart. Keep an open mind and be there for your clients and audience.