HOW I REALLY WORKED FREELANCE FULL TIME WITHOUT NEVER HAVE STARTED ONE CLIENT?
Pillar of the success of your freelance life, the network is built over time. The ingredients are simple and accessible to all: time, benevolence and passion, and a minimum of sociability.
Here is the recipe I use all around the world, every day, to build and maintain my network …
CREATE YOUR NETWORK AS A FREELANCER
You don't start from zero
You may not know it, but you already have a network, and surely the strongest of all: your friends and your family. Your professional network is not necessarily full of purely professional contact. See more! Everyone around you is a potential opportunity.
My first two contracts were the creation of the website of the study office that my father had bought, and the development of an application for my brother-in-law.
For me, the important thing that you are in the biggest Networking night of the world (#AlwaysMoreLoin) or the birthday of Grandma Janette, is to manage your relationships with sincerity and without a second thought. Be true, we’ll give it back to you, it’s promised!
Network, move, it's easy
Be sure of one thing: if you stay in your corner, no one will pick you up! It’s obvious, and yet many do not know how to go out, show themselves, and meet people! #GetUpAndWalk
To be as concrete as possible, I will tell you about my activities, but know that my example is transposable in all areas. Working freelance also means being open to others.
There are vents, it’s everywhere, all the time and often, stay well .. It’s free! Should I still know how to find them … For my part I use a lot theMeetup application (Meetup in France) which lists many events around me on many different themes. The advantage of these meetings (it has become a generic name) is that very often after the talks, there is a networking time.
I also like to participate in the TedX! These are moments dedicated to listening to more or less inspiring people (depending on your sensitivity) who tell you their experiences, each for 20 minutes. Beyond the exciting nature of this kind of intervention, I always take the opportunity to talk during breaks with the world, either I already know (well or only crossed), or with the speakers, or finally, with new people over a coffee. Know that you will often find the same people, in all events in your area. When one is passionate, one does not count;). There are tedX’s around the world, and for the info it’s happening here => Tedx
Shy? You can also create your network!
Are you shy or afraid to start a conversation with a stranger? My advice: Go with a friend! It’s much simpler to be two rather than alone and be afraid to be a “pillar of the bar”. Then listen and jump on the first opportunity you find: “Excuse me, I thought I heard you talking about [subject that interests you – or not], and that’s good because precisely [blah blah] “. There is a thousand and one ways to engage in a conversation, and not afraid to embed you, people are used to this kind of events and you will generally be very well received!
The Startup Weekends: Boost your network in 54 hours
The Startup Weekend, Hackathon, Service Jam and more, are events that I recommend and that I particularly like. If you do not know, these are often events from 24 to 54h or you have to answer, as a team to a problem (start a startup, create the new service of a company, develop an application for the transport of tomorrow, etc.). .). I wrote an article that details a little more this event: What is a Startup Weekend? This is the perfect time to create strong bonds (when you work for 48 hours on a subject, you have not taken a shower, you have not slept, believe me, it brings you closer!), to show you, to make a name for you, and to meet as many people as possible in a very short time and very simply!
One of my most memorable memories was following the victory of a hackathon sponsored by EDF. I had presented with my team an “IA” able to analyze the environmentof the user and predict some data. EDF then invited me to pitch the project several times with a final presentation in front of one of the N ° 2 group France. Beyond the contacts that it brought me, it is a true positive experience that I withdraw. I could tell you dozens and dozens of others of this type, but the most important thing is that each time it is an extraordinary human experience and I always come out with lots of good contacts. You can participate whatever your skills, it is open to all!
- Startup Weekend
- Jam Service
- Hackathon: On social networks, in tech groups in your area, in incubators etc.
Finally, find the groups (I mean by group, any concentration of passionate people and / or competent in a field, whether on the internet or in the local association) of your region, France or elsewhere who are influential in your field and again … incrust yourself! Beyond the opportunity to meet people, you will often have the opportunity to learn a lot of new things, and listen to great people. My advice here is not to be confined to your sector, but do not hesitate to expand as much as possible. For example, I am now a developer, but I participate in events on design, UX, management, workshops on drawing (if I swear), etc. Interested in everything, we will be interested in you!
Cream of the cream is also a great example. Very generalist, but focused on freelancing, it is a community that will allow you to meet many freelancers like you, who have lived through galleys and successes and who will be delighted to share them with you. And why not bring one another business. I joined the community there is little, and I already met with many people who allowed me to write this chapter!
The Tinder of the professionals
Last tips that I use from time to time is the Shapr app. If you know Tinder (do not be kind, everyone knows), it’s the same, but to make professional meetings. I’m not a big fan, because I much prefer relations in real life, but it still allowed me to meet a lot of people more or less interesting. A good way if you are looking for something concrete like a person in a particular field, an internship, or to integrate a specific sector. http://www.shapr.co/
I will not introduce you Linkedin, you certainly know (in case: The network pro). It’s a great network for finding professional opportunities, but it’s also great for building your reputation. I post from time to time my experiences or meetings that I could do. By doing this, I generate lead and I sometimes attract interesting people.
Old school but still as effective: business cards. It’s always good to be able to slip cards to people you’ve met. Personally, I always do mine on https://www.moo.com/fr/, but there are dozens of different sites.
BECOME AN ACTOR IN YOUR NETWORK
After being several times at the Meetup of an association in my area (Orleans Tech https://orleans-tech.com/) I sympathized with a lot of people of it. After a few months, they offered to join the office, which I obviously accepted without any hesitation. It is a boon to be able to integrate this kind of asso! The first reason I accepted is because the people who run it are basically nice, and because I like the subject. I insist, but I do not do things out of interest, it’s for me the best way to do wrong …
Still, today, it opens me full of doors, and again it allows me to meet many people.
Feel free to become a player in your network and take time to integrate. It will be beneficial to you both humanely and professionally.
It seemed important to me to make a small point about what a business provider (maybe you tomorrow).
A provider of business, as its name suggests, someone who will bring you on a silver platter a beautiful case ready to be charged. It is an “ephemeral” intermediary between you and your future client. It is often people in your network who trust you and challenge their credibility. When this happens to me (and it’s often when your network is strong and trust you) I respect some codes:
– I tear myself twice more, not to disappoint neither my client nor the business contributor
– Nothing is free! I always commission my business contributors, even when it is not explicitly requested.
– I can’t look back It is an active person in my network on whom I will focus more effort.
– I am grateful If I can return the favor tomorrow, I do not hesitate.
Conversely, when I bring the business, I still require a rebate on the contract (usually between 10 and 15%)
Create and maintain your network
You built your network? He is active, starts to bring you business, you are recognized in your industry and people trust you? GOOD JOB, you are on the right road to work freelance !! But that’s not it…
From experience, know that a network deconstructs much faster than it is built. And if you rest on your laurels because you have a beautiful network you will quickly be disappointed … Take the time to maintain contact, to show your presence on the vents and on social networks, to respond to requests, to continue to meet new people, etc.
I hear you already … “You’re cute, but one, time I have none, I’m already cart on my projects, and two, time is money.”
OK, but it’s poles apart from my thoughts. Time has never been more profitable since I used it to network. Today I work freelance, and I never needed to solicit a single client.
Go Go! Prepare your zygomatic and arm yourself with your most beautiful smile, your network is waiting for you!