Freelancers, developers, copywriters, designers etc should not always be seen as competition! It’s very easy for them to seem threatening to your work when in fact, they can help boost your work and give you clients through referrals.
I went to a Meetup yesterday and it was so refreshing! I met people who were in the same boat as me. They had digital businesses, some were freelancers, some were unemployed looking for their next gig (one of whom got a call from a recruiter to be told that he got the job). He was working in retail for the time being all the while looking for work as a business Intelligence developer – I don’t know what that is and I should have asked him! Anyway, after the Meetup I pondered about how good this felt and that going made me refocus on my goals and what I wanted. A few things that I want to share with you that came to mind…
Get Support from people who understand
How often do you just remain in your quiet bubble? Coding like there is no tomorrow, getting frustrated over problems you just can’t seem to figure out…You just want to smash something. So, take a step back and change it up. A change of scene can do wonders and talking to people – not just through WhatsApp but in the physical sense can bring relief. You find out you are not alone at all. This ‘block’ you’re going through is temporary, there’s nothing like bouncing off problems and ideas with someone else because you just might get that breakthrough you are looking for.
Build up your network of professionals, be part of a community
On Medium one thing that constantly keeps coming up from authors I read are “have a network, find a mentor, search for people with more experience than you…” I was casual about this because after all, what professional with 20 years experience would look twice at me?? The truth is people love to help once you express interest in them or what they do. Any opportunity you give them to share their experiences and offer guidance will be of benefit to you. At my tech Meetup yesterday this could not have been more true. We all introduced ourselves individually (my heart always beats fast when it’s my turn to speak) and spoke about what we do or trying to get into doing. After this, I started up a conversation with a person sat next to me and said “oh so you’re a web designer?” he then proceeded to tell me all about it!
Do you like coding?..
Errr, yes I do. I thought to myself I would not have driven 15 miles to be here if I was meh about it. I was asked this question by a group member at the Meetup, maybe he was just making sure I did?! Anyway, what I took from this was always be engaging, bring enthusiasm, shine, ask questions and pick everyone’s brains. Make people remember you. Look good.
Get your work on display ASAP
This is definitely a reminder for me, I dabble in a lot of things…On occasion, too many things at the same time. I want to keep tweaking, deleting, rewording, redesigning and keep perfecting. Yes I am guilty of this – we all are. Redoing and executing all of my ideas and edits at the same time is just not practical. What’s shocking is that the real important stuff you need to do just keeps getting replaced. It goes further down the list until you have lots of work you have started but have not completed (so guilty). Therefore I am going back to the beginning of my list to finish what I abandoned to keep refining it, namely my portfolio. I have projects but haven’t plucked up the courage to display them. I want to constantly make them better which now I know is a joke – it will never be perfect enough so I might as well show it.
Get your social media in order
Someone I spoke to at the event, lets call him Paul mentioned that in the beginning he got clients through Facebook. More clients then he could handle actually. I don’t have a facebook page so I’m loosing out already. He just posted an image that said he is a freelancer web designer and is open for more clients. That’s all it took.
Another thing worth mentioning is consistency and being active on social media not passive (scrolling for days). I currently post one post a week since it’s what I can commit to, regularly. I most probably could do a lot more but there’s no need to if it’s not consistent.
Do not be the person that watches be the person who engages. Actively be social by commenting/liking posts/tweets/likes/retweets/gifs, you name it. I’ll admit it’s something I am working on, but by doing it people take notice and ‘check you out’. Yes, they might even follow you.
Follow up if desired
Around 12 people turned up out of the expected 16 which was a good turn out. I spoke to a few people and they were all really friendly. A few of them had business cards at the ready for exchanging, literally a whole block of them. I didn’t come with them because I didn’t feel experienced enough and It was my first time so I thought best to play it safe and not look like a fool. However, I asked for their business cards and they were more than happy to give me one.
After a Meetup has been attended the next day you receive an email with a headline of “Stay in touch with the people you meet”. You are given the option to click on a button that says “good to see you”. It’s an easy way to re-familiarise yourself with who came and to have an interaction that could lead to email/social/number exchanges.
Going to this event made me remember that I can collaborate with like minded people, it does not have to be me myself and I. It does not have to be like this for you either. I challenge you to step outside of your comfort zone and have fun meeting people in your similar field – or in a completely different one and see where it takes you!