Networking is important when working as a freelancer. Personal connections have an impact in many situations, such as sharing information and acquiring projects. Freelancers usually work alone, but they still need connections.
It is generally believed that “useful personal connections” are necessary for freelancers to be active. To be active as a freelancer, I will explain specific methods and points to make useful connections.
Freelancers should build useful connections
There are many situations where connections are important for freelancing, and you should make useful connections. It is important not to blindly expand your network, but to be useful in an emergency. First, let’s see why we need connections.
There are many situations where personal connections are useful
When working as a freelancer, there are many situations in which connections are useful. For example, by making personal connections, you can deal with the following situations.
- Looking for a client with no deals
- I can’t order by myself and I’m looking for support
- I want to gain industry knowledge
Personal connections tend to be considered important when you want to win a project. If there are no projects, there is no income for freelancers, so there are many situations where people use personal connections to search for projects. It is often saved by finding a client who will place an order.
Also, personal connections are useful when there is a limit to information gathering by yourself. For example, if you want to know the client’s way of thinking or the industry you want to challenge, you can ask your acquaintances for guidance. If you can collect information, you can place an order with confidence.
This is just an example, and there are situations where personal connections are useful. That’s why it’s generally thought that freelancers should have useful connections.
Considering that freelancers with few connections are active
If you explain it like the above, some people think that “freelance is an obligation to make connections”. However, some freelancers are active regardless of personal connections, so let’s not have a biased idea.
For example, among freelancers, some people acquire projects only with freelance agents without using personal connections. Even if you don’t have any connections with the business, there is no problem because the agent will introduce you to the project. Contract processing is also handled by the agent, so it is possible to reduce paperwork.
Some people steadily acquire projects through crowdsourcing services. Since the client is also recruiting here, if you apply there, you can get a project without any personal connections.
There is nothing better than having a freelance network. However, keep in mind that there are people who are active with few connections.
How freelancers can get useful connections
Here are some examples of how freelancers can make useful connections.
Utilization of SNS
In recent years, many freelancers are using SNS. It is an indispensable existence for information dissemination and collection, and it is no exaggeration to say that no freelancer not uses SNS.
SNS tends to be used to exchange information, but it is also used to develop personal connections from there. You can deepen exchanges with people who send out useful information, and reach out to people who are interested in your activities. By using it one step ahead, you can acquire useful connections on SNS.
As a point to be aware of, some users may contact you with malicious intent. Since it is a system that makes it easy to interact with an unspecified number of people, it is necessary to have the skill to determine whether it will become a useful network.
Participation in workshops and seminars
Many workshops and seminars are held for freelancers. By participating in workshops and seminars, it is possible to strengthen personal connections between freelancers.
Freelancers who participate in such events have the same aspirations and goals. Many people would like to build a network of useful connections, so interact with them. The other person is often thinking about expanding their network, so you can proceed with the exchange smoothly.
It’s a good event to expand your network, and if you participate in several events, the number of people you interact with will naturally increase. However, it is also true that many people just exchange contact information and do not interact from there. You have to take advantage of the opportunity, not just exchange contact information.
Belong to an organization
If you belong to an organization for freelancers, your network will expand at once. Depending on the organization, many freelancers belong to it, so the connection between freelancers will expand greatly. You can also find groups with hundreds of people.
Participating in such communities will help you find people who provide useful information. Such people can be very beneficial in your freelance career, so be sure to have positive interactions with them. It is necessary to consider not be a nuisance to the other party, but it should be a useful network.
In addition, if you belong to an organization too much, it will take time to make connections, and you will not be able to use your connections. Pay particular attention to balance.
Referrals from friends and acquaintances
There are many cases where personal connections spread through word of mouth. If you already have a useful network of contacts, you may be able to create a useful network of contacts by getting a new introduction from that network.
Of course, referrals aren’t easy, and not everyone will provide useful connections. The referrer also takes responsibility to some extent, so they do not introduce themselves carelessly. You can’t build a useful network of contacts if you don’t trust them.
In other words, if you can build trusting relationships, new connections may be born. Use the methods described above to build helpful connections, build trust, and grow your network even further.
Utilization of agents
By using a freelance agent, you may have a useful network of contacts. Agents aren’t for making connections, but they can serve as a starting point for making connections.
For example, when an agent introduces you to a case that is suitable for you, the exchange with the client begins. If you can produce sufficient results in the project, you will gain the trust of the client. Not only the agent but also the relationship with the client will improve, and you will be able to use it as a useful network later.
If you have a good relationship with your client, you can expand your network from there. You may even be able to establish relationships with new clients.
In addition, although it is not possible to directly create useful personal connections, agents may hold seminars that are useful for networking. It is a good idea to take advantage of such services as needed.
Points for freelancers to keep making good connections
Freelancers can skillfully increase their connections and connect them to project acquisition. And it is important not to blindly expand your network, but to maintain a network of useful connections. Next, I will explain the points to keep making useful connections.
Keep a certain distance even if you are close
Being close is important to building a good relationship, but try to keep a certain distance. It is especially important to build good personal connections as a business, especially for those who only have a business relationship. A close relationship is not bad, but if you end up like a friend, you may get into unexpected trouble.
For example, if you get too close, you might be encouraged to buy a product. The other party may be expanding their connections to solicit multiplayer. You may be forced to take advantage of something you are familiar with.
Also, you may be looked down upon for becoming friendly. Ideally, the business should be dealt with on an equal footing but is looked down on as a bad deal.
Emphasize one’s strengths
If you want to build a useful network of contacts, regularly highlight your strengths. If you don’t know about yourself, you won’t be able to win a project.
The important thing in self-appeal is the interest of the other party. If you don’t show interest, your connections won’t help you win deals. Jobs are requested when the demand for skills matches, so if you do not show interest in your skills, it is unlikely that you will be requested.
If it is a personal network to acquire a project, it is fatal not to respond to the appeal. Keeping in touch is unlikely to be of any use. It is important to reconsider your relationship when necessary.
Know about the other
What is surprisingly often forgotten is knowing about the other person. Many people promote themselves, but there are cases where the other party also wants to appeal. If you don’t try to get to know the other person, you won’t build a good relationship or a useful network.
First, if the other person is trying to tell you something, be curious about it. As a result, if you are not interested, it is an unnecessary connection, and if you are interested, it is considered a necessary connection from now on. It would be a good idea to input information such as the case that the person handles and the background.
Also, it is important to record even the smallest details to get to know the other person. It is time-consuming and rude for the other party to ask again about the content that has been exchanged once. If you want to use it as a network, you should organize the information you collect so that you can easily check it.
Act from oneself
If you want to get new and useful connections, let’s take action on your own. If you don’t promote yourself and get interested, you can’t build a good network of people.
Truly people help create a system that allows others to contact them, not themselves. Therefore, if you do not act by yourself, you can think that it is almost impossible for the other party to act. This is because the benefits of spending time on business etc. are greater than the benefits of acquiring personal connections on the other side.
If you think, “I want a good person to talk to me,” you will never be able to build a network. Start by taking action and getting yourself interested.
Sometimes cut ties with incompatible people
Networking is important for freelancing, but what you need is a useful network. You don’t have to value all your connections, and it’s practically impossible to maintain them.
With that kind of thinking on the premise, sometimes it’s important to cut ties. Continuing to associate with incompatible people can be emotionally taxing. Freelancers should prioritize the connections that are useful to them, so there is no need to forcefully use the connections that are not useful.
That said, if you cut ties with them unnecessarily, you may end up being labeled as “a person with no meaning even if you get close to them.” It’s important to be selective about your useful connections, but be careful not to overdo it.
I explained how to build a network of freelancers. In many cases, freelancing is important for personal connections, and depending on the personal connections you have, the deals you can acquire will be affected. If you have a network of contacts that can mediate projects and work with you, you can be more active yourself.
It is important to narrow down and expand your connections to some extent, rather than blindly expanding your connections. It is a good idea to make a wide range of connections at first, and leave those connections that will be useful in the future.
Some people may think that it is a waste not to make use of the connections they have made once. But socializing can be exhausting, and not all connections are useful in the first place. Cut out your connections from time to time and keep only the useful ones.