Networking Offline for Freelancers
If you are a freelance writer for hire, most likely you do most of your job on a computer at home or in an office by yourself. While this may be ideal for your regular day-to-day operations, it is not the best way to meet people. Freelance writers have many opportunities to network with some writers and customers online; however networking offline can be just as or even more valuable in terms of finding more work. Like many business ventures, writing for a living ebbs and flows with the times. Businesses come and go, and even your favorite customer may eventually go out of business or reduce the need for your writing talent. Sometimes businesses choose to bring writing in-house or they just need a change. These situations can happen even if you have provided them with excellent work over the last several years.
Networking to Stay Fresh
Networking and meeting new potential clients on a regular basis can help you stay fresh, keep yourself in the marketplace for future business. You can connect with local business owners at Chamber of Commerce meetings, industry meetings or educational sessions. It really is not important which type of networking you do, as long as you continue to let people know what you do and that you are available for work. At the very least, it will give you a reason to get out of the house and put on your grown-up clothes.
It is a best practice to stay prepared for your circumstances to change, although many people are surprised when change comes. A freelance writer should have more than one source of income in the event that one income stream suddenly dries up. Even with preparation, change is difficult most especially when it affects your livelihood. However, if you are prepared, you are ready to take the next step to move forward when change comes knocking on your door.
There are tips that can help you even if you are not an outgoing person when you network.
- Carry business cards with you to give out when you meet someone
- Practice a brief “elevator pitch” to introduce what you do
- Go to each meeting with the goal to meet five new people
- Create a system to record contact information and follow up with them
- Ask each person you meet if they know anyone who might need your writing services
One of the keys to networking in person is to understand that each person you meet is not a potential customer. Instead, they are a potential source of referrals.
Writer Bio: Paula A is a freelance writer available for projects at WriterAccess.