5 Reasons Freelance Writers Should Consider Networking to Grow Their Business
Imagine you are a freelance writer, and let’s say you office from home. You have a stable of set clients that give you assignments so that you have deliverables due every week. You enjoy the work and are happy with your business, but you find yourself in front of your laptop all day every day.
Or, let’s say you don’t have a stable of clients because you are new to freelancing. You have one or two clients, but need to find more. Still, you find yourself on your computer most of the day working on the assignments you do have and trying to figure out a way to get more.
Or perhaps, you are somewhere in between.
Regardless if you are a seasoned freelancer or brand new to the business, networking should always be a part of your activities as a way to grow your business.
But wait. You are a writer and you don’t like to network. I get it; I used to feel the same way. But, I’m here to convince you to change your tune about networking. It’s an effective and vital activity for many reasons, not just for growing your business (although that’s one of them).
So without further ado, here are 5 reasons why you should consider networking to help grow your business:
1. It’s About Who You Know
Any job seeker will tell you it’s easier to get a job from someone they know than through cold outreach. And, when you are freelancing, you are, in essence, looking for a job. Granted, it’s not a full-time job but an assignment or a retainer or merely the opportunity to do some work.
Consider that, according to Hubspot, 85% of positions are filled by networking. And, 95% of professionals say that in-person communication is essential for long term business.
So what does that mean for you? It means you should be meeting with other professionals (i.e., networking) in person if you want your business to grow, and if you don’t, it’s going to be that much more challenging to grow your business.
2. Networking gets you out of your house
Let’s be real for a moment. Freelancing can be lonely.
Speaking from experience, it would be very easy for me to say good-bye to my husband and kids at the start of the day when they left for work and school and not talk to anyone (except the dog) until they came home at the end of the day. Day after day. As an introvert, this doesn’t sound so terrible, but as a human, it’s not that healthy. Regardless of how introverted one might be, we are social beings and thrive on human contact.
Going to a networking event or meeting one-to-one with a peer, client or potential client is a great reason to step away from your computer and get out of your house. But, it’s also a great way to collaborate, get fresh ideas or even different perspectives.
And, I can almost guarantee that when you do step away from the computer screen for some conversation, you will return refreshed and motivated.
3. Networking gets you comfortable talking about your business
This benefit should not be overlooked and is one of the biggest lessons I learned from networking. In fact, it forced me to think about my business and be able to articulate what I do clearly and concisely.
What kind of writing do I do, and for whom? How do I help my clients, and who are they?
The answers to these questions might change over time (and probably will), and that’s OK. Still, you need to be able to communicate what you do and who you do it for at the drop of a hat. This not only helps you when networking but also it helps you when talking with clients and prospects.
4. Networking grows your network
It makes sense that if you network, your network will grow, but here is a big mistake I made when I first started networking: I thought networking was only useful to find new clients. Not true. Networking is also a great way to find referral partners, those people who work with your ideal customer but in a different capacity.
An example of this for freelance writers is graphic designers, website designers and developers, directors of marketing, etc. While these folks aren’t potential clients, they might need someone with your skillset for their clients. Referral partners are as valuable, if not more so, that prospects.
5. Networking pays off
All the work you put into your networking efforts will pay off. According to a 2018 survey, 46% of freelances got work through networking. What’s more, that same survey says that 29% of freelancers want to sharpen their networking skills. That means that if you don’t network, you could potentially be losing out on business to other freelancers who do.
OK, I’ve convinced you that networking is a good thing, so now what? The answer to that depends on how you want to network. You have plenty of options and we will dive into those in the next post.
Wendy Jacobson is a freelance content writer living and working in Minneapolis, MN. You can learn more about her on her website, wendythepooh.com.