We are living in some strange times and for freelancers, this period has been both challenging and rewarding. Where others have struggled to modify their work environments or transition to remote work, the freelance community is built on evolving circumstances.
One aspect of contract work that has drastically changed is the frequency and volume of non-traditional freelancers entering the market. Because of this unprecedented shift, networking and relying on established connections in various industries is pivotal for success.
Networking has taken a huge hit. Gone are the days of post-work events with handwritten name badges, coffee meetings or happy hours. While we look forward to their triumphant return, all of that has gone digital. For now, the networking options are floating in cyberspace, ready for us to grab them.
Here’s how to make the most out of networking online.
Get comfortable with using technology
Technology is the only way we can connect and grow our networks these days. LinkedIn was always a nice complement to the in-person networking you were already doing, but now there’s a world of applications, software and platforms to learn for both networking and work.
The growth of these platforms has been monumental and almost overnight. There’s a lot to keep track of, but the key is getting comfortable with the handful of platforms that work for you. It can be overwhelming, but remember: Everyone is going through the same thing, and people are generally forgiving when it comes to tech.
Update your LinkedIn profile
Make sure that your LinkedIn profile is always up to date because any updates you make to your LinkedIn profile go out to your entire network, opening the door for your current connections to see what you are up to.
LinkedIn is a powerful tool for your networking success. Now is the time to make sure it’s optimized to work best for you. Remember that your profile is a reflection of your brand. You are functioning as your marketing department and appealing to your audience. The important thing with LinkedIn and all your networking efforts is what’s coming next.
Set up virtual meetings
The pandemic has given us all a great excuse to cancel meetings. While understandable, this can be a wrong move for a freelancer. The natural inclination we have when we connect with someone in sync with our goals in real life is to keep that connection going, meeting up for coffee or something to that effect. The same logic and principles continue to apply now. Of course, you won’t be able to go out for a coffee, but setting up a digital meeting will certainly help cement that professional connection and help you with networking.