When it comes to business, and even life in general, I’ve never believed in competition; that is, in the sense that I can’t ever look to partner with other people that are pursuing the same things as me. That includes other writers in the blogging and freelancing world. This belief has proven to work in my favor… three times!
1. The first time was when I’d received a particularly heartfelt newsletter from a business blogger/freelance writer I’d been following for a while. I sent a reply, and told her how I’d understood everything she was going through as a freelancer and that I was rooting for her. To my surprise, she replied back instantly! Eventually, our heart to heart via email led to her explaining she had a client that happened to be employed at a business I’d been planning to cold pitch. I asked her quickly if she knew if they were looking to work with more freelance writers, and who would be best to contact. She confirmed that they did, and said she’d be delighted to send me their info. About a week and a half later, I was officially signed onto a project with the company! I was in shock at how a friendly letter of encouragement led to me getting a gig!
2. The second instance was when I sent a congratulations to a fellow blogger in a Facebook group. We had a brief conversation in the comments but I was very surprised to see a notification from her in my Facebook messenger app. She asked me about another post I’d published in the group about social media marketing strategies. She loved my ideas, and was impressed with my knowledge in the area – so much so that she hired me to handle her Facebook page content, and a few email newsletters for her blog. While it wasn’t long-term, it was great money right when I needed it. In my experience, I’ve found that Facebook groups are a great way to pick up clients without having to go through any grueling pitching process.
3. The last instance was when I got my first gig as an ebook writer. I’d previously collaborated with this blogger, and decided to reach out and see if they’d like to do another themed partnership for the upcoming holiday. She’d explained that, while she’d love to work together again, it wasn’t a good time since she was swamped with client work, including a big ebook writing project she wasn’t sure she could take on. She’d never written a book before, and didn’t like the idea of not having her name on it, although it paid good money. I let her know that, if she decided against it, I wouldn’t mind her passing my info along to the prospect. I was terrified at first because I thought it would’ve put her off for some reason. Instead, she was very happy and even relieved that I could help. Two weeks later, I had a new client, and a fully paid invoice.
Here are my best tips I have on how to leverage your connections with fellow creatives:
1. First, don’t be afraid to reach out and get to know other freelancers and bloggers, whether they’re in your industry or not. You never know how they’re connected with people that you might end up working with. Sign up for their newsletters. Follow them on social media. Leave thoughtful comments on their posts. They’ll notice you, and will appreciate the support. This kind of regular communication is how people remember your name, and become interested in more about you, too. Also, don’t be afraid to make the first move by sending a private message or email letting them know how much you admire the work they do, and briefly touching on what the both of you have in common. Get the ball rolling!
2. Second, share your knowledge in groups or forums with people who can use it. This makes you look trustworthy and professional. People want to work with someone who seem like they can be trusted and who are knowledgeable and experienced in their field. Answer people’s questions. Contribute to discussions and conversations. Shoot an email to other freelancers or bloggers you follow online. All of these suggestions can help boost your credibility, and build your network.
3. Third, see if you can find anyone that curates “databases,” or create one of your own! A database is where a bunch of freelancers and other online creatives share their information on one long spreadsheet, like in a Google sheet, or a page listed on a website. You’ll briefly list what it is you do (such as copywriting, graphic design, content marketing, etc.), your specialty or niche (fashion, women’s health, fitness, etc.), and your contact information. This is a great opportunity for you to potentially get gigs when a person needs to pass on work from a client, or would like to refer their network to other experts in their field. And, it’s a completely passive form of marketing.
4. Lastly, don’t forget to build real and honest relationships – first and foremost! Don’t expect to land a client every time you have something nice or informative to say to another fellow creative. Come from a place of service without trying to gain something in return and, eventually, you may reap the rewards.
In the end, we’re all human, and experience a lot of the same issues, triumphs, setbacks, and other things in our businesses. So ,working together only lightens the load and makes our jobs easier on everyone. It’s also a lot more fun!
- Networking and “Subtle Promotion” on LinkedIn! By Elizabeth Armenta (WriterLiz, LLC)
- A Local BBQ Leads To Freelance Work! Social Networking The Old Fashioned Way… By Rachel Gerner
- Tweet, Tweet: Using Social Media to Increase Sales By Lisa Tiffin
- I Think My Social Media Posts Might Be Hurting My Professional Reputation
- People Need People: The Power of Networking By Kate Wicker
Haneef Davenport is a freelance writer and blogger for hire who writes articles and blog posts about women’s topics such as beauty, fashion, crafts/DIY, women’s health and wellness, and pop culture. She also enjoys writing on topics such as blogging, entrepreneurship, social media, and local/regional attractions of the Washington DC metropolitan area. You can see examples of her work on sites like Writers Weekly, TheTalko, and her own blog, rosegoldpearls.com. Follow her on Instagram, @hellohaneef and Twitter @haneefiman.
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