For somebody who is new to freelancing, finding paying clients can be one of the most difficult things to do.
Sending marketing emails to random people in the hope they’ll be interested in your freelance services is almost futile, especially in the early days when you haven’t got much experience behind you.
Attending business networking events can be a great way to get in front of the people who might become your clients or help you grow your freelancing business.
Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of attending business networking events.
Don’t be shy
The idea of talking to a room full of strangers is daunting to most people, but don’t let that put you off. Remember that everyone who attends a networking event is there for the same reason, to talk to other business people. The whole event is set up to allow strangers to just be able to walk up to each other and start up a conversation.
What do you really do?
If you’ve decided to become a freelancer, you probably already have a good idea of what it is you do. But how often have you tried to explain what you do to your family and they don’t have a clue?
You need to work out a way to clearly and succinctly explain what it is you do to people you meet at business networking events.
But don’t just talk about yourself
Everybody who attends a networking event wants to talk about how great their business is, but most networking events these days are pretty informal affairs. That means the hard sell isn’t going to work.
If you want people to listen to you about your business, you’ll need to show that you care enough to listen to them. Listening also means asking them questions about themselves and their business. And you never know, you might find that somebody provides a services which could be of benefit to you.
Become an expert and help people
The knowledge you need to run your particular service as a freelancer probably came from lots of hard work and experience, and you’re right in thinking that this will be valuable to certain people.
But that doesn’t mean you should hold everything back. Other business people will see you as an expert if you give advice when talking to them at business networking events. Then they’ll be more likely to hire you, or tell their friends or colleagues about you.
Find the right networking groups
There are lots and lots of different networking events you can attend, and most of them are free. Take a look at Meetup.com to see the huge choice you have. Shop around and find groups that suit you. It could be a group specific to your tastes or industry, or it could be that a certain group is particularly supportive of each other.
Shoaib Aslam is the co-founder of Pearl Chartered Accountants, a UK-based chartered accountancy firm that has multiple locations across London. They are experts in helping startups and established businesses with all aspects of growth, strategy, scaling up, accounting and tax planning.