I see many new freelancers ask this question either to myself, or on other freelancing websites. “What is the best way to get to know other freelancers?” Being a freelance writer and editor, I feel it’s my civic duty to other writers out there, be it that you’re brand new or you’ve been around the block as a writer, to provide you with some ways that I was able to get my writing career off the ground.
First off, I find it important to mention that these tips will come in handy for any type of freelancer, not just writers. If you’re a graphic designer, a software engineer, a computer programmer, et cetera. Think of the tips as starting points for anyone wanting to break into the freelancing world.
1.) RUB ELBOWS: Ahhh….the old elbow rub. This is either super easy or super intimidating for some. Those people that are extroverts such as myself, have no problem getting their name out there. But those that are introverts, well, you tend to be shy and want to hide in your shell. You’re going to have to get over that, and fast. Granted, a lot, if not all, of your freelancing career can and will be done online, but that doesn’t mean that you can hide behind your ergonomic chair forever.
Rubbing elbows means just that. Getting yourself known. Attend writers conferences, photography workshops, library events, etc. Just because you want to be a freelance writer and not a graphic designer doesn’t mean that you should ignore the designer market. If a client calls up their friend, Mr. Graphic Designer, and tells him that they need an awesome six hundred word article to accompany that breathtaking picture of Niagara Falls that he took last weekend, who do you think Mr. Designer is going to turn to? Yep, you guessed it, his freelance writing friends. So don’t dismiss fellow freelancers just because they may not be in your niche. Think of your elbows as the paint brushes that should be spread across the ENTIRE freelancing community canvas. And don’t forget to pick bright colors, for they attract more attention.
2.) Social Networking: I’m sure most of you are already members of some of the social networking sites. But if you’re not, then you need to be, and fast. No one has the ability to deny that sites like LinkedIn and Twitter can take your business to new heights. I’ve seen it personally with Twitter. The more I tweet my blog and website, the more hits it gets. Simple move right? Right. Now go sign up for all the social networking sites that you can click your mouse on. And hurry. Some other freelancer is doing just that right now, and taking your could-be customers. So get a move on.
3.) Business cards: I’m sure some of you are thinking, “Why do I need business cards, I never leave my house. I find all of my work online.” And others are thinking “Geesh, how can you NOT have business cards?”
Business cards are your key to any lock. Remember that. Put them up at your local bank, library, convention centers, super markets, ANYWHERE. You never know when a fellow publisher, writer, or photographer will see that you are a freelance writer and need your services. If you don’t have business cards, then as soon as you are done reading this post, Google business cards and get to work. It’s going to take you some time to pick out the appropriate colors, fonts, and designs, so allow room to play in your schedule. Make sure that, if you’re a first time business card buyer, that you also purchase a card holder so that you can carry your business cards in a professional fashion rather than wrapping them in a rubber band and throwing them in your back pocket. Don’t laugh, I know many a people that do just that. Then they give me their business card with dog eared edges and the half bend that only a back pocket can make. “No thanks, keep your card” is what I want to say. But I take it and toss it in the nearest trash receptacle because I can’t take you seriously if you don’t take yourself seriously.
Remember my fellow freelancers, you are your biggest fan. If you don’t think your awesome, then no one else will. So be an extrovert and let yourself shake a few hands and hand out a few cards. Make friends with fellow freelancers. And don’t forget to let me know how you make out on your road to stardom. I’m here to help if you need it. Also, if you’ve found other ways that have helped your freelance career, please comment on this post so that everyone can reap the benefits of more clients.