The Value of Networking as a Freelancer
Your ability to build a network of professional contacts is a huge advantage as a freelancer. A strong network of target market contacts and industry peers provides an array of direct and indirect benefits to help grow your business.
The following is an overview of some of the key benefits of networking for freelancers, which demonstrate the value it provides.
Build a Credible Presence
A strong reputation for expertise in your field helps attract and retain clients over time. By creating and communicating with a professional network, you have an audience through which to build your expertise and credibility.
On LinkedIn, for instance, you can post blog articles and resources that showcase your knowledge and areas of specialization. Your connections may share your work in addition to reviewing it themselves.
Attract New Clients
Building awareness is the first goal of advertising for a new business or brand. In much the same way, building a network of people familiar with your work is an important step in attracting new clients.
Not all of your professional connections will need your services right away. However, since you have a connection with them, you have a top-of-mind-awareness advantage when they need your help. This point is especially true if you consistently keep your work and message in front of them.
Quickly Source Referrals and Recommendations
Professional referrals and recommendations are a significant advantage to your client pitches. Despite the economic benefits, there are some risks to companies that attain work from freelancers. They don’t have the employment relationship to leverage, and therefore, it can be difficult for them to determine the quality of work that a freelancer will provide. A strong network of people familiar with your work is a great pool from which to quickly solicit endorsements proving that you are trustworthy and dependable.
Ask established clients to share short reference statements that you can use on new proposals. On LinkedIn, clients can even endorse you for particular skills and make recommendation statements that are attached to your profile. These things are viewable by anyone who checks out your profile.
Grow Your Skill Set and Knowledge Base
Growing your talents is another way to grow your freelance business. A well-developed professional network is a good source of increased knowledge and abilities. You can learn about the concerns, motives and interests of professionals that make up your target audience. Keep up with industry trends by identifying the things that people in your network discuss and share.
Peers are another great source of specialized knowledge. Connect with others performing similar type of work. Follow their social profiles to see what they do and how they promote. Invite feedback and critiques from various people within your network to identify areas for improvement.
As you can see, freelancers gain numerous compelling advantages when building a strong professional network. Tools like LinkedIn are excellent resources when face-to-face interactions are a challenge. Schedule time during your week to prioritize network development and maintenance activities.