One of the hottest topics right now involves ways to use professional networking to help increase your business contacts. While discussing this very topic with Chris Kenworthy, marketing manager for Escalate Media, I asked (okay, I may have begged a little) if he would consider putting together an article for the V7 Network members. He was kind enough to do it! Thanks Chris!
Freelancing In a Recession
With the United States in a recession, being a freelancer is becoming harder and harder. You’re probably already seeing a drop in clients and an increase in late payments. You’re going to have to work even harder to find new clients, but there are a few things you can do to make things easier on yourself.
Focus on building your professional network. If you don’t already have a professional network of friends and acquaintances, stop everything you’re doing and go setup a profile at LinkedIn right now! Take the time to fill out your entire LinkedIn profile with all your skills and jobs you’ve done. Think of it as your online resume. When you’re done filling out your profile, import all of your contacts from over the years and add them as connections. Now start talking to those people you haven’t talked to in ages and start rebuilding those relationships. Let people know you’re available for freelance projects.
After you’ve reconnected with all your old friends and business acquaintances, start joining some professional groups. Start with the V7 Network LinkedIn group to leverage the existing community and relationships here! Then find other groups that match your skillset. Participate in those groups by asking questions and offering advice. Everytime you participate in a group, your name will be broadcast to all the group members furthering your exposure and your professional network.
You’ll soon see the power of LinkedIn as you meet new people and find people contacting you for jobs they need done.
Don’t stop with LinkedIn though. Other social networking sites like Twitter (follow V7 Network on Twitter) and Facebook can help you gain exposure and build your professional network. If you’re looking for local contacts, go to search.twitter.com and follow people in your area. Then reply to them and build a professional relationship with those who can help send business your way.
Think of LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook like personal branding. They are completely free (except for your time) and the marketing power is incredible. Stop doing things the hard way and let your friends and acquaintances work for you.
Marketing Manager Escalate Media