Two days after I parted ways with my job, I had my first client as a solopreneur. How? Because of networking. Networking has been one of the biggest power boosts to my career as a Portland freelance writer. In fact, my current active client list is composed largely of referrals from my networking group, the Portland-based Northwest Networking Professionals.
So, if you’re a freelancer, how do you find a networking group? My advice is to get in touch with your local chamber of commerce. Another option is to poll businesses and vendors, especially financial planners, insurance agents, bank managers, Realtors, and any other businesspeople who rely heavily on referrals.
Keep in mind that once you find a networking group, it may take some time to build a good client base. I had a good start with my group, and I stayed steadily engaged with local and non-local gigs, but the bonanza really occurred this summer. Members of the group had the first part of the year to understand my skill set and how it could apply to people they knew.
If you’re a freelance writer, you’ll have an edge because many of these groups don’t have members who are writers or editors. This allows you to tap into a rich vein of clients.
Another benefit is that you will have several trustworthy service providers that you can retain for yourself. I found a better insurance agent and a reliable construction contractor through my group.
So, what are you waiting for?! Go forth and network!