Tell everyone you know what you’re doing
I know that title sounds obvious, but if you don’t tell your contacts what you’re currently up to, how will they know?
When I first went freelance, I told all my friends, relations, previous work colleagues and my network of contacts what I was now doing. I also made sure I let them know the kind of freelance work I was looking for. This very quickly led to two projects that each lasted several months. You can read more about how I embarked on my freelance career in My Freelance Story.
I’ve received considerable amounts of freelance work through word of mouth, so make sure you devise a plan that lets everyone in your network know:
a) what you’re up to
b) the kind of work you’re looking to do
c) the type of people/companies your want to be introduced to
You’d be surprised how many of your contacts will be more than happy to recommend you.
Keep in regular touch
But it doesn’t stop there. You’ve got to keep in regular touch with your network – otherwise they may think you’ve gone back to permanent employment. Or they might forget about you altogether.
I send all my work contacts an email every few months with a mini list showing who I’ve been writing for recently and the kind of project I undertook for them. I then have a link to each piece of work so they can take a look at it, if they feel so inclined.
The last time I did this, one of my design agency contacts (whom I hadn’t heard from in ages) phoned me the same day and asked if I was available to write a new website for one of his clients. If I hadn’t sent the email, I wouldn’t have been in his mind and he’d no doubt have contacted another copywriter. These emails don’t take long to write and they don’t cost anything to send out, so they are well worth doing.
What kind of projects have you won as a result of telling your network what you’re up to?