I am a millennial and I believe in the power of old-fashioned networking.
A year ago, I got caught up in using social media to promote my work. Because I’m shy and also didn’t think it was necessary, I used to not tell people, “I am a freelance writer.” My Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are clogged with people saying that they are writers, and I thought that’s where I should be, too.
I jumped from website to website, saying, “I can write!” I’d get an inquiry every now and then but the money I paid to bill collectors was not enough to feed their wolves.
Last September, I went to a BBQ with my husband. I immediately got the “And, what do you do question?” from a woman I’d never met before. I gathered my courage, smiled genuinely, and responded, “I’m a writer.” Ten minutes later, I got a job. The woman who asked is the founder of a content marketing website but needed another part-time writer. I’ve been working with her for the past nine months. The writing takes creativity, research, and gives me confidence to continue proclaiming, “I am a writer.”
The world is so noisy with people clamoring to be heard. I want my voice to be genuine and I’m learning that being heard means not standing where everyone else is yelling. As I proclaim, “I am a writer,”more jobs continue to come through simple word-of-mouth networking. I’ve joined Junior League, Toastmasters, and a local group called the Professional Women’s Network. I’m joining any group where I can have a face-to-face conversation with someone, and say, “I am a freelance writer.”
I write handwritten follow-up notes along with emails and I always ask for referrals. Through these connections, my husband and I have found $26,000 of freelance work in under a year. I still go online to “follow, friend, or like” something, and occasionally promote our work, but now, I would rather social network the old-fashioned way and connect with people in person.
Rachel and her husband Matt are freelancer writers with their company, Agern – http://www.agern.org/.