Make Money Freelancing — Through Networking

No matter what your field, if you want to become a freelancer, you can’t just wait for the jobs to come to you. You’ve got to market yourself and get on potential clients’ radars. How will they know you have a skill that may be of use to them if you don’t?

It’s all about networking. Making connections with other professionals in your field is the best way to get clients who offer paying gigs. They can also offer professional advice and point new freelancers who need a little help in the right direction.

In this world, image is everything. There are a few things that freelancers can do to make themselves more marketable.

1. Get on Twitter and LinkedIn. Thanks to social media network Twitter, I was able to hook up with someone who could use my services. Communicating in 140-character increments graduated to e-mails, and we’ve established a good working relationship. It all started with one assignment, and now, I’m asked to do other freelance work. Don’t underestimate the power of social media, which is becoming quite a popular way to communicate with others. Join up and possibly find paying gigs.

2. Start a website. This is a no-brainer. The Internet is where it’s at nowadays. And what better way to show off your talents than on a page that could potentially be seen by hundreds of thousands of people? Be sure to have a portfolio on the website in order to show off your best work. If potential clients see what they like, they’ll be more apt to contact you than if they have to ask for samples of your work.

3. Get a dedicated phone number, e-mail address and business cards. Decide if you need a new cell phone or landline number for your freelance business. A separate phone numbers and e-mail address can help keep business separate from pleasure. Business cards are also great to have, as they can be passed to potential clients that you meet while networking — or in the event that you meet a potential client while out and about.

4. Become familiar with industry websites. For writing, there are a number of websites out there that offer tips and information about how to find paying freelance jobs. It helps to know where to look. Some even have job boards where clients post ads for freelancers to fulfill their needs.

5. Join a professional organization. Find out which are well-regarded in your field and add yourself to their membership rolls — but only join groups if you’ll have time to participate in them. These organizations tend to have meet-and-greets with other freelancers and professionals. For example, if you’re a writer (I have to go with what I know here), you can meet other writers and editors who may be able to point you in the direction of a potential client.

6. Attend professional events. Bloggers and social media professionals have conferences such as BlogHer and South by Southwest (SXSW), and there are similar conferences, lectures and networking events for others. You don’t have to be a full-time worker to get into these events, but often you do need to be a part of the organization sponsoring them, or have to sign up and pay a fee. But the chance to make connections within your industry — and meet potential clients — is usually well worth the cost.

7. Talk to people at other events. If you’re attending at a wedding or at a business dinner, keep those business cards on you — you may just strike up a conversation with someone who needs your services after the usual “What do you do for a living” banter.

15 comments to Make Money Freelancing — Through Networking

  • Great post and very informative. It’s helpful to have an idea of what is involved in networking.

  • Thanks for the tips! I’m just starting up so I should try to get as much networking as I can.

  • I concur on Linkedin. It’s the preeminent professional networking site, and it’s a great place to look for contacts as well as place to be found. I have been contacted by a number of recruiters over the last few years, who have found me through linkedin. While my opportunities were full time in nature for the most part, a couple of the calls were short term contract work.

    Very much agree with what you’re saying throughout your post.

  • This is very true in all senses. Weirdly I never fully marketed myself online and I still have about the amount of client work that I want.

    I had given up graphic design and decided I would blog instead…. Then someone asked me where I got my website and I said it was my own creation…. Then they asked me to do some work and I reluctantly said yes… This happened a few times and through referrals and the odd bit of tiny marketing I found a solid set of clients.

    I can imagine if I went all out and networked fully that I would have a never ending string of work, I’m not looking for that right now but it’s nice to know it’s probably there.

    • Nicole

      @Forest: That’s great that you have clients coming to you. I don’t market myself too much because I can only handle (and only want) so much freelance work at a time, since I do have a full-time job.

  • Yeah, this freelancing thing is quite fun!

    Do you work on your blog at your regular job?

    I’m excited for the Yakezie “next step” too, Sam!

    • Nicole

      @Y&T: No, I do everything at home or on my off time. I have much more inspiration in the evenings.

  • Nicole:

    VERY well said.


  • Love this post – great tips, thanks!

    Does your day job mind you moonlighting? How many hours would you say you work during an average week, all up?

    • Nicole

      @eemusings: It really depends on how many writing assignments I have. In addition to my FT job, I probably “work” an additional 10-15 hours between blogging and writing pieces for clients. But some weeks I don’t do anything except the blog stuff. I’ve been juggling a FT job with freelance for more than a decade now. As long as it doesn’t interfere with my day job, it’s all good. I do all my writing on my own time, nights and weekends and days off.

  • I agree that networking is crucial. It’s one of the reasons I love the Yakezie group so much. I blog anonymously so I can’t network with the crowd I hang out with.

  • Great points…the business cards are important. I never really paid attention to them in college, but now most small businesses that get my business are the ones that I meet the people elsewhere and they give me their card when I mention a small problem around the house or whatever. Networking is possible all the time…I just met a handyman while volunteering at a church…

  • I think the Yakezie group is going to kill it with the new project I’m working on. May take a bit of time, but we are heading in the right direction!

    Looking forward to your contribution and your Member Post!

    Best, Sam

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