It’s easy to dismiss networking as a corporate buzz-word that only applied to CEO’s or those who work in Marketing. But networking isn’t just crucial to Freelancers but for Developers, Designers and anyone who works within the creative industry.
I can’t stress this enough to my fellow freelancers and developers, attend Conferences, meet face-to-face whenever possible and keep an active social appearance. Developers usually prefer a quiet night in front of a computer to one spent meeting people and socialising, but it’s crucial (and not just as a freelancer) to meet new people who might value your skill.
So why is networking so important?
Word of Mouth: over half or more of my incoming work is through word of mouth. I meet someone, I make an impression and tell them what to do and a month down the line they tell someone that they know someone who can get their job done. Next thing you know that person has spread your name to other contacts that has lead to all sorts of opportunities that might have been missed if you never met that first contact. Word of Mouth is crucial and you can’t do it without networking in some way.
Keeping up to date: As a developer, it’s important that you know the needs of your clients, if you don’t attend events with potential clients you wont find out what it is they need and what it is that you need to do to keep up. You might even find other developers that you can create a community with and find out the technologies they are using and improve yourself whilst also networking with clients, Win Win!
Boosting your confidence: If you’re not naturally outgoing like me, familiarising yourself with those that know how can really boost your confidence and help whenever you attend that next job interview or client meeting.
Keeping up Appearances: Forming bonds and making sure that you’re at the forefront of their mind is another crucial part of networking. You’re more likely to get the job if they trust and know you and regular appearances at meetings or conferences is a great way to do that.
So what is the best way to network? Well the first thing you probably want to do is check out your local conferences. To check if you have any local conferences coming up that you might be interested, check out sites like Eventbrite. It’s also important to follow up on these conferences by keeping in touch with the people you meet on social media so that they have a point of contact in case they want to contact you.
I also mentioned earlier how you should meet face-to-face with clients whenever possible, Skype calls, emails and over the phone discussions are great but they can never beat a face-to-face with the client and it can really help build a bond. Finally, maintain a website if possible and update it with blogs, projects and updates and post it socially; Not only will this help you with networking but it will also help you bring visitors to your site and help with your rankings.
Here’s a list of upcoming conferences that I might be attending if you live nearby!
Going to a conference soon? Let me know and I might just see you there!