Today’s post is from Kelli White, who’s a regular reader of Horkey HandBook and a fellow freelance writer. She recently received her first paid freelance contract by submitting a guest post. Lucky for her, the blog liked her submission so much that they signed her on for a trial period. Congrats, Kelli!
Many freelance writers spend hours working independently at home.
For many of us, the thought of going out to a big social event can be a bit daunting. Although these types of opportunities may seem overwhelming at first, they can pay huge dividends in the long run.
The people you interact with and events you attend can have a big impact on your freelance career and your success. If you work up the courage to put yourself out into the community, you will reap the rewards and benefits of making valuable connections. Here are a four events you should get involved with to grow your freelance business.
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Online events have become very popular for the freelance community. Anytime you can interact on social media, it provides another chance to build a relationship with potential readers and clients.
They are a fabulous way to interact with people all over the world in your industry or niche. Virtual events are also nice for writers who are more introverted, because while they provide interaction, most often is from the comfort of your own home and not a traditional face-to-face meeting.
1. Twitter Chats
A good example is Twitter chats. They are very easy to attend because they take place right on your Twitter timeline. The moderator or leader of the chat tweets out questions and you respond with answers or ideas. All of the tweets are linked together using a unique #hashtag, allowing you the ability to follow along with the chat and see other people’s responses and ideas.
Attending Twitter chats are a great way to increase your twitter followers, but also should help drive traffic to your site, provide a marketing opportunity and potentially increase your business flow.
2. Groups and Hangouts
LinkedIn, Facebook and Meetup have a number of groups you can join as a freelance writer, blogger or entrepreneur. These groups offer an online place where you can connect with like-minded people.
Depending on the group you join, they may also have local face-to-face meet up events or Google+ Hangouts you can attend. If you can find a quality group in your market or area, you should request to join and take part in their next event!
When you are participating in online events you want to be sure that you are providing valuable responses. While your underlying purpose might be to drive business or website traffic, you should be somewhat subtle in your promotion.
As long as you have a link to your site in your profile, other people will be able to find you. If you are providing valuable responses or ideas, they will be more inclined to check you out. While you may not know them personally, the relationships you build online as a blogger or writer can be some of the most beneficial connections you can make – increasing your success of your freelance career.
In Person Events
Face-to-face meetings can be a great way to break out of your shell and get some quality interaction. For those of us who spend the day staring at a computer, this route is highly valuable and can lead to wonderful career opportunities. Here are two types of in person events that can help to fuel your freelance business.
3. Local Events
Depending on your location you may be able to find some wonderful local events to broaden your reach in the community. Outings such a networking events, local writing groups and chamber of commerce meetings are all great ways to connect with others and spread the word about your business. While you may not be meeting directly with clients, you could still be making valuable connections with other bloggers or entrepreneurs who can help you to promote and expand your enterprise.
Depending on where you live, this could prove to be a challenge. If you are in a major metro area, I promise there are some wonderful local opportunities for you to reach out and get more involved. If you are more rural, start your own group or seek out a local rotary club-type meeting to start connecting with local business owners. Even if you don’t all run the same type of businesses, you can learn from each other and expand upon your networking skills.
Throughout the year thousands of conferences take place around the world. There are conferences for bloggers, artists, writers, designers – the list goes on. To be honest, the sheer volume of conference choices is enough to overwhelm you, let alone the pressure of trying to decide on which one you should attend. Conferences can be expensive, require travel and take up a significant time commitment, but they can definitely expand your business and professional knowledge.
The key to having success with conferences is to find the best one for your business, and to go in with an open mind and positive attitude. Conference events are a good way to learn more about your subject, your industry and yourself. They can lead to lifelong relationships, business partners and clients.
Seek out specific conferences for your target market. If you are a travel blogger, seek out travel conferences or travel blogging conferences. The good news is that with the abundance of conferences, come a large number of targeted topics. Find one that best suits your needs and spend your hard earned money on this option.
If you have a fairly unique niche that doesn’t yet have a dedicated conference, start out by attending a general blogging, business or creative conference. There are a number of really great conferences to choose from, so seek out the best fit for your personality or point of view and register to be a part of the fun.
When you are onsite at a conference, be sure to take advantage of as many sessions as possible and also attend networking events (aka happy hours) throughout the week. No matter your personality, try your best to be approachable and open to new ideas. Find a way to come out of your shell – it will benefit both you and your business!
No matter which events you choose to attend, remember to keep your eyes open to the opportunities presented and have fun while you’re at it! Take advantage of every chance you have to network and build relationships.
Although freelance writing can be a fairly lonely task, the people you meet and relationships you build are integral to your overall success. Continue to foster these relationships and you will continue to improve upon your business and find increased happiness in your career.
Which of these have you tried in the past? Any that you’re going to look into for 2015?
Kelli White is an event coordinator, blogger and freelance writer with 10 years of experience in event management, creative marketing, volunteer coordination and nonprofit fundraising. She takes pride in helping clients produce sensational special events and effective marketing. You can follow her @kellimwhite or learn more on her blog, Cleverly Planned.