Many freelance writers get into the rut of doing nothing more than sending query letters in hopes of obtaining new clients. While there is nothing wrong with this, at some point you need to leave your office and get into the “real world.” Over the past few months I have spent a lot of time networking with other professionals in person and over the phone. While this does not always payoff, and can often times feel like a waste of time, when it yields a new project there is no better feeling.
But how do I network with others if I have never done so in the past? This is easier than you may think. In some cases it is as simple as being willing to talk to others about what you do and how you can help.
For example, one of my newest clients is a real estate agent. But she isn’t just any agent – she is the one that sold my house last year. By staying in touch with her and letting her know about the services I offer, once a project came up she thought of me on the spot. Can you believe that she also passed my name along to three other agents in her office. One of them has already contacted me about writing a sales letter in the month of December.
I have never attended “formal” networking meetings, but know many freelancers who have. If you can find these types of meet-ups close to home you may want to consider joining in on the fun the next chance you get. I know I plan on doing so in 2011.
Even if you spend a lot of time networking and continue to get shutout, stick with things for the time being. It may take several months of meeting people and talking about your services before it pays off. But as you meet new people and they pass your name along to others, your network will grow. Soon enough the numbers work in your favor and new work comes in.