Manchester has been named the best city in the UK to freelance by moneysupermarket.com. Research shows it has plenty of coffee shops and Wi-Fi hotspots that make it easy to work from a remote location. Also, there are many start-ups and it offers the highest number of freelancers advertising outside of the British capital. But, with such good conditions, the competition is also higher. To get your business to grow and to make sure you have enough work as a freelancer, it is all about who you know. Creating a large network of contacts is indispensible.
To make new contacts or to strengthen current ones, networking is important. Although it sounds easy, networking requires people skills, a professional attitude and some planning. You need to invest if you want to profit from your network of contacts. We would like to offer you some golden rules to get the most out of networking.
Key to success: come prepared
When visiting an event in Manchester, an industry meeting or even going for a Friday afternoon drink, it is important to come well prepared. Always carry enough business cards with your contact details with you to hand out to interested parties. Online printers like https://www.helloprint.co.uk/ can help you design and print offline networking tools. Just keep in mind that networking takes time, so pick the right people to speak with and hand over your card. It is more productive to speak to a couple of people who remember you and can really mean something for you in the future, than to as many people as you can without leaving a lasting impression.
Keep a sincere professional attitude
Interest in other people while speaking to them is another golden rule to keep in mind. It is not done to look at your phone during a conversation or for example start staring into space. This will be received as disinterest by potential contacts and leave a negative impression. Also if you only want to get a business card from people for their contact information without having a real conversation, people will smell disinterest. This can get you to lose possible valuable contacts. Try to have a sincere interest in the persons you speak with and their activities. You can show this by asking questions and respond to what your conversation partner is saying.
Follow-up after networking
Once you have handed out your card, it is up to the other party to take action. We would like to point out that it is always better to have your expectations set low, so it will be a positive feeling if a real probability comes from a networking meeting. Just don´t expect all kinds of opportunities to just fall in your lap. Networking should be evaluated on the long term. Maybe the person you gave your business card doesn´t need your service right now, but in a future moment he will think of you when he is looking for a freelancer. Try to exchange cards when you give yours, so you can always contact the other party to remind them you are there if they need you.
Networking offers many opportunities for freelancers to make new contacts. It may seem scary in the beginning to get out there and promote yourself, but the more you do it, the better you become at it. Keep the tips mentioned above in mind; they will certainly contribute to reaching potential customers.