One big thing I have realized as a part time freelancer is how critical networking is. I’ve gotten all my clients except the very first one through referrals from friends.
But it’s not enough to just know a lot of people. Building a relationship with a high quality contact is better than having many low quality ones. Go for quality over quantity.
I was fortunate because my very first client was well networked. He knew a lot of people and was able to refer me to other high quality clients.
If you want to build relationships that lead to new clients, you can try blogging.
Here’s an example of how blogging can be used to build to profitable business relationships.
Some of the best contacts to network with are the popular bloggers in your niche.
Aaron Wall, one of the most popular SEO bloggers, wrote:
About 5 people a day ask me to recommend an SEO or link builder or site designer…
If you do freelance services in any of those three fields, you could get a lot of work by networking with Aaron.
You could email him, “Hi, I’m an awesome web designer. Can you recommend me to the people that ask you daily for web designer recommendations?” However, if Aaron doesn’t know you, he’ll be hesitant to recommend you.
But what if you had a blog with design content like Photoshop tutorials, CSS tips, and even links and screenshots of your previous work.
Your blog shows that you are serious about providing value to your industry. It is a dynamic, “living” resume that people can read to learn more about you. It increases your credibility with other bloggers because you’re one of them. They can empathize with you about the hard work of consistently producing free quality content.
If you’ve got a great blog, you could write something that connects web design with SEO. Maybe something like “The 10 Most Common SEO Mistakes Web Designers Make”. Then, email high profile SEO bloggers like Aaron and point them to your article.
This method is much more effective than “cold-emailing” them because you’ve created something interesting their readers will enjoy.
When they get asked to give recommendations for web designers, you’ll be on their radar.
Also, there’s a chance the bloggers will link to you. If you get links, you’ll get a lot of high quality, pre-qualified traffic. And your reputation will improve since links are the social currency of the web.