Freelance In 40 Days [Day 32]: Networking, Or Schmoozing With Your Fellow Freelancers

Posted: November 26th, 2009

Photo by Kengo (Flickr)

Photo by Kengo (Flickr)

This is Day 32 of the Freelance in 40 Days series where you’ll learn to freelance just by taking it one day and one task at a time. Today you’ll learn the basics of networking to promote your freelance business and website/blog.

Freelancers are very lucky to live in a day and age where we can network with others from all over the world without even leaving our homes. And that means an opportunity to make a new client from Australia while working on a project for a client in Canada.

It all starts with getting your name out there in cyberland. By schmoozing.

But it is quite similar to moving to a new town 5,000 miles away from where you live. You start from zero and take it from there. This also takes some hard work which, unfortunately, you don’t get paid for.

The reward in the end, however, is you gain a great support base of other freelancers, exposure to your website and business and maybe even client lined up for you 8,000 miles away.

So let’s get started at zero and look at ways you can network yourself, website and business in the process.

Twitter

While Twitter is generally geared toward socializing and sharing informative links, rather than promoting your business, it is by far the easiest way to meet other freelancers who do what you do. It’s also good to generate some traffic to your blog.

Twitter is very simple to use, but it is essential to know the “rules” and general etiquette before you start tweeting away. Break the rules of etiquette and you could find yourself having to deal with a backlash from your followers.

So if you’re new to Twitter, have a look at these resources:

Commenting On Other Blogs

Its a lesser known method of generating traffic to your website, but when you leave a comment in a popular blog in your field of freelance, you can also include a link to your website with it. Those comments get read, and not just by the casual reader, but by other freelancers leaving comments.

While only a small percentage of those reading a blog post you comment on will click to your site, from your comment, there are still those few that will.

Comment enough and these few add up.

Here are a few tips when commenting on other blog posts:

  • Leave thoughtful and meaningful comments or questions that relate to the post. A quick, two-second “Hey, loved the post, nice tips” is considered blog spamming and will do more harm than good.
  • Get a gravatar, so your logo or picture will show up next to the comment in the blogs that support it (and a lot do). After signing up, use the same email address you used to sign up for the gravatar when leaving a blog comment for the gravatar to appear.
  • Try to be the first to comment on a blog post which tends to get read (and clicked on to your website) more. It helps to know the tendencies of what time bloggers post articles so you don’t have to check every minute.

Contact Other Experts In Your Field of Freelance

Don’t be afraid to send an email to other freelance bloggers for mentoring… especially the real popular ones who you may think are too busy to acknowledge you. Don’t just email any question, though. Follow these few tips when sending a contact email:

  • Prior to sending a contact email, it goes a long way to leave comments on his or her blog.
  • Say who you are and what you do. My name is Johnny and I’m a freelance web programmer and a part-time blogger.
  • Flatter. Mention that you’re a fan of his or her blog and that article on XXX really helped you out.
  • Then politely ask a question or if they have 15 minutes for a quick Skype session.

Note that some people you contact may be just too busy to help you or even answer your email.

Don’t take it as an insult. It happens, so find someone else to mentor you.

Freelancers are generally more than willing to help other freelancers. All you have to do is ask.

More on the author, Johnny Spence
Johnny is the founder of The Freelance Rant and a freelance web programmer with 8 years in the business. Have a visit at his company Oscarrr!web or see what he's up to on Twitter.

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