Let’s get straight to the point. If you’re not already implementing some of these tips, then you need to up your game!
If you’re a freelancer, self-employed or a start-up business, give this quick guide a read and you could be finding yourself more work in no time.
Let’s get started…
1. The Web
First of all, it’s important that people know you’re around. Pretty much all the ideas we’ll discuss today can be linked back to this first tip, and as you’ll discover, networking comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. You’re doing it without even realising.
Imagine your friendships and connections, online and offline, as an intricate web of possibilities and opportunities that are all inter-connected. Everyone you meet is a part of this web and it’s entirely possible that, if you make the right impression, your name could be passed through it.
That’s why it’s important to make yourself known. I don’t mean you should introduce yourself like “hi, I’m Tom, a copywriter based in Manchester”. There’s no need to force it, and you don’t have to have a huge following to have a strong presence online, or in the real world, to let people know that you’re around (although it can help). You just have to ‘be there’.
How? Let’s find out…
2. Make A Home
Ideally, you’ll want to set up your own website AND use it in tandem with a variety of social media accounts, set up specifically for your business.
Why? Because I said so, damn it! But seriously, here’s why:
- Barely costs anything to set up a website
- Increases your credibility
- Promote your business and products for cheap, or nothing at all
- Use it to brand and market yourself like never before
- Gain access to a HUGE audience – aka potential customers
If you’re setting up a website yourself, you’ll also learn plenty of new skills along the way. At the very least you need a place online that you can direct people to, whether that’s a LinkedIn profile, a Facebook page or an online store on Big Cartel. If you’d like some professional help setting something up, check out the guys at Five Foot Pony.
3. Think Smart, Think Social
Whether you like it or not, Social Media is CRUCIAL in today’s working climate. Look at it like this…
If a fisherman has a bigger net then, the chances are, he or she is more likely to catch something. If this fisherman has a net made out of some sturdy material, then that also increases the chances of catching something. “What are we trying to catch?”, you ask. Your audience. We’re trying to catch your audience.
In other words, if you’re using a couple of social media platforms to share content, then you can increase the size of the audience you’re interacting with (bigger net, remember?). AND, if the content you’re putting out is good stuff, then you’re more likely to catch someone’s eye and get a nibble.
Use your social media wisely and you could increase your audience / following, create powerful marketing and branding and increase sales. The future is digital.
4. Sharing Is Caring
It can be hard to get people sharing your stuff around online without having to ‘beg’ for it first. Get together a group of people that you can always rely on to get the word out for you. A ‘share collective’, if you like.
Having a team you can rely on to share your work, and vice-versa, is an incredibly valuable tool. Your audience could quite easily quadruple, hell, even dectuple (that’s a real word, I promise) and will help boost the traffic to your site.
Woo, we’re half way there…
5. Groups, Pages and Communities
“What, you mean Facebook isn’t just for memes?”
Hard to believe, I know, but social media is an absolute goldmine full of ‘communities’ that you can use to find work, advice and even partnerships or friendships. You just need to know where to look.
Next time you’re on Facebook, instead of letting your friends know you’ve just eaten lunch, try searching for a few groups that cater to the field you work in.
You could also try finding groups for people working in a field or industry alongside your own. For example, if you’re a copywriter, you may often work in tandem with web designers – at least, you COULD be. At the very least, you’ll find some enlightening insights.
Agencies don’t just have a workforce made up of a regular 9-to-5 team. They also like to maintain a talent pool of freelance workers that can be called upon at any time, if need be.
Fire some emails over to agencies in your area and see what comes back. You’ll most likely get a reply letting you know they’ll keep your details or, if you’re lucky, you’ll find some work straight off the bat.
7. Cards Mean Business
Every time I think of business cards, I recall that scene from American Psycho where Patrick, everyone’s favourite lunatic, obsesses over the business cards of his Wall Street ‘pals’. Although everyone loves a snazzy bit of cardboard, they aren’t just for bragging rights.
As well as handing one over in person, saving the time to type in contact details to your phone (very handy at networking events), you can drop them in mail-boxes, stick them on bulletin boards or even leave them in hotspots for someone to find; at your own risk. They’re also an opportunity to market yourself. A good looking card is a good looking you. It might be sad but people care about this stuff, so you should too.
I bought some business cards from MOO not too long ago. They’re cheap (£12 for 50), well made and you can design yours through the site within 10 minutes. Perfect.
8. Keep It Coming
Producing regular content, regardless of what it is that you do, is key. It helps to keep your audience interested and engaged and, most importantly, helps reinforce all the other steps in this post.
The new content acts a reminder to everyone that you’re ‘still in the game’; working hard, learning, improving etc. All in all, it makes you look better. It also serves to keep traffic coming to where you want it, whether it’s your business page, YouTube channel or website.
9. How’s Your CV?
How’s your CV looking? Is it up to date? Is it short, concise and easy to read? If not, you need to sort it out as soon as possible.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re applying for a job behind a bar or a desk, employers HATE messy CVs. I’ve watched managers slide an application out of an envelope and shoot it a single glance, before throwing it towards the nearest bin. Unfortunately, it really can be over as soon as that, so be prepared.
There’s plenty of great guides on the web that will help you put together a winning CV. However, if you’re still not sure and you want some expert advice, you can get in touch with me here and I’ll whip your CV in to shape for you.
10. Let’s Re-cap
Okay, that may have been a lot to take in so let’s re-cap with these short points:
- Everything is a potential opportunity.
- Make friends, join groups.
- Social media is amazing. Use it.
- Not sure what good Social Media looks like? Have a search, you’ll soon find out.
- You’re a fisherman, and your net is anything you could use to get work.
- Bigger net = better chance of catching. Better net = catch more fish.
If you need a hand with anything, you’re more than welcome to contact me here.
Good luck, and have fun!