By Mitali Roy
The freelance workforce in US alone is projected to cross the 79.6 million mark by 2025, from the current, 64.8 million in 2020, according to various estimates.
As Covid-19 pandemic shows no signs of abating and with companies small and large closing shop or filing bankruptcy, an increasing number of highly skilled workers can be expected to join the swelling ranks of freelance workers.
Given this scenario, it’s evident that competition for freelance work will get fiercer by the day.
Though a parallel increase in the number of freelance assignments from buyers can be anticipated, every freelancer would have to adopt newer strategies to stay in business.
Excellent networking is one of the main elements that can help every freelancer survive in a market where competition is getting hotter almost daily.
Therefore, if you’re a freelancer, it’s definitely high time to view networking as one of the essential elements of your work. Here’re some tips and tweaks that could help you network better while bagging more assignments.
A Networking Guide for Freelancers in 2020
A veteran freelancer would already know while a budding one needs to understand that freelancers are independent contractors or self-employed persons.
They need to bid for work contracts unlike regular employment where you’re expected to complete the day’s work only. Skills and experience are mainstays to sustain a freelance lifestyle.
These networking tips could help you fare better in the ever warming freelance market.
- Join Professional Networking Forums
There’s no shortage of professional forums- both offline and online- that any freelancer can join, depending upon their field of expertise. Joining these professional forums lend a distinct advantage: you meet a lot of peers and seniors in the field without exerting much effort.
Furthermore, these forums provide excellent networking opportunities with other professionals from the same region, the country and even the entire world.
Since freelancing is generally online, your location doesn’t really matter. After all, you’d be working from home.
Hence, such networking with foreign and local professionals opens up several vistas to get higher number of freelance assignments compared over traditional freelancer platforms, where you need to vie with countless rivals to bag an assignment.
2. Focus on LinkedIn Profile Building
LinkedIn is an indispensable resource for every freelancer, regardless they’re veteran or fresher. In fact, most buyers will view the LinkedIn profile of a freelancer before shortlisting whom to assign the work. This renders it imperative for every freelancer to focus on building and maintaining their LinkedIn profile.
One of the best ways to build that killer LinkedIn profile is by connecting with almost everyone you know.
Start with faculty of your school, college and university and include peers, though they could be in altogether different field.
There’s a chance that your faculty member could have also trained a buyer. Also connect with people from your professional forums since these might prove valuable when a buyer eyes your profile.
And create interesting, engaging content about your freelance field to post on LinkedIn frequently.
Create at least three to four short posts every week on subjects that concern your area of expertise in freelancing. This invariably attracts lots of attention and helps you expand the number of connections on your LinkedIn.
3. Start Blogging about Your Expertise
Blogging is an excellent way to boost your network as a freelancer. In fact, blogging is something complex or requires specialized training. In fact, just about anyone with superb knowledge and expertise in a specific profession can become a blogger. However, you’ll require excellent writing skills to express your ideas and thoughts about anything.
Start by reading a superb blogpost from any successful blogger in the world about the various elements of blogging. There’re also countless videos on the topic. Buy a good domain name, hosting and start posting your blogs.
A blog can be promoted through social media channels such as Facebook. When people follow your blogs and start positing comments, you’ve already begun networking.
Because these followers would most likely come from your field, it’s possible to select a few and creating a niche group or add them on your LinkedIn.
4. Attend Trade Shows and Other Event
Trade shows that concern your expertise and area of freelancing provide superb networking opportunities.
You’ll get opportunities to meet junior to senior staff at these trade shows. And usually, there’re also foreign participants who might be looking for a good freelancer to work for them at your location for any reasons.
Also, trade shows help you get valuable insights into latest happenings in your industry. These contribute towards upgrading skills.
Understandably, participation at some of these trade events can cost a lot. Therefore, you’ll need to be very choosy about the ones you wish to attend.
Attending trade shows and other events also means lesser time to work on assignments at hand, therefore, select these events carefully and in a manner that doesn’t really disrupt your work.
5. Form an Interest Group on Facebook
There’re countless interest groups on Facebook. I suggest you choose the best ones and join them. Some of these groups may ask you three or five questions to gauge your expertise and knowledge in that field. At the same time, you can launch own interest group about your field of expertise.
Get members of this interest group to post interesting news and articles and share knowledge online. This attracts more and more members and you’ll soon have a large network of professionals on a Facebook group.
Having a Facebook group also enables you to promote own blog and increase the network. In fact, the two work synergistically to help you create a superb network of freelancers and professionals.
Before concluding, I also suggest that freelancers should consider taking membership of Freelancers Union and other similar organisations.
They lobby for rights of freelancers and also help find work, if necessary. Leveraging your network of professionals, references and freelancers to a buyer works wonders for bagging more assignments. And the network can ensure sustainability of your career as freelancer.
Mitali Roy is passionate about blogging and writing. She fondly calls it “the art of words”. She is unique and so is her content. Blogging about education and ideas to grow is something that she loves doing.