If you are wondering how to win work via your network as a freelancer, then read on for 6 networking tips for freelancers…
Networking tips for Freelancers
This time last week I was delivering a workshop for the National Film and Television School. I had been hired to help their students on the TV broadcast diploma course prepare to start their life as a freelancer in six months time. The TV and film world is mostly staffed by freelancers. It is also incredibly difficult to break into. Let me explain why:
1. You need to be seen as ‘favourite crew’
The TV and film world is high stress and typically high risk. You don’t get another chance to redo a ‘live’ shot! Studio and set time costs money – and it is often budget that the director or producer just doesn’t have. Consequently when a camera or sound supervisor is picking crew for an assignment, they will always aim to choose to work with their ‘favourite crew’. If you are not part of their favourite crew, then you are already at a disadvantage.
Whilst you may not be in the TV or film world, you need to build up a group of people who consider you as ‘favourite crew’ i.e. people they will recommend and use often. In Part 3 of the award-winning and best-selling FT Guide To Business Networking, we talk about ‘A-listers’. These are people who can help short-cut your way to achieving your goals. People who consider you as ‘favourite crew’ will be your most important A-listers.
2. Build up strong and positive relationships with other freelancers like you
What happens when a director or sound operator can’t book their ‘favourite crew’? They will ask their ‘favourite crew’ who they would recommend. That is why as a freelancer it pays to stay close to your competition and build strong and positive relationships. After all, if you can’t do a ‘gig’, then you will always want to recommend a friend who you know would do the same for you.
Therefore, what can you do to seek out other people who do what you do? (Answer – you will probably find them at professional association events)
3. Attend your professional association events
A great way to find decision makers and potential bookers for your services is normally to attend your professional association’s events. It also doubles as great CPD time.
4. Get confident at ‘working the room’
One of things you need to do to drum up work as a freelancer is ‘get out there’ (both physically and virtually). Your time as a freelancer really does equal money and if you are networking, you are not chargeable. Therefore, you need to make every networking event count to build and deepen the relationships in your network.
If you are not confident working the room, or circulating at conferences, then download from our Joined Up Networking toolkit, our free guide to confidently working a room.
5. Build a highly credible on-line footprint
Now what happens when you get recommended to a potential bookers for your services? Do they call you directly? Normally, no. They will check you out online first. Regardless of whether you are a new camera operator or an experienced seasoned professional, you need your own website presence. For avoidance of doubt, when I talk about website I am meaning a web presence which will allow you to easily blog within the website. You can’t afford to only rely on a LinkedIn profile as you don’t control this platform. Just this week I heard that two of my good friends had had their LinkedIn account severely restricted. Quite embarrassing as one of them was a networking expert…
In chapter 4 and 5 of The Go-To Expert we give you detailed and simple guidance on how to make sure you are presenting your best side on the web.
6. Build your own personal marketing toolkit
In chapter 4 of The Go-To Expert, I talk about having your own personal marketing toolkit. This is vital for any freelancer who wants to win work via their network. In chapter 4 there is a full list of what should be included in your marketing toolkit and how to build each element of it.