You’ve committed to your new freelance career. Congratulations! It’s an exciting venture. Whether you’ve decided to freelance full-time or part-time, your next steps are to get training, build a portfolio, and start pitching potential clients. But make sure you don’t forget to tell your network you’re freelancing!
Are you intimidated by this step? Many people are. It makes sense because our brains try to protect us when stepping outside our comfort zones. You might have a few fears.
- I’m not ready since my website isn’t perfect!
- My colleagues will think I’m a fraud!
- I’m still learning and people will know I’m not an expert!
- If this goes south, everyone will find out I’m a failure!
While imposter syndrome is a natural reaction to embarking on something new, it’s far more likely that your network will support you. Most of us love watching our friends and acquaintances pursue their dreams! When you tell your network you’re freelancing, you’re likely to discover at least three major benefits to your career.
1. Kick Imposter Syndrome to the Curb
The quicker your brain can accept that you’re in this for the long haul, the better equipped you’ll be to make real progress on your business goals. Speak openly about your freelance career to increase your own confidence in yourself and your skills.
2. Tell Your Network You’re Freelancing for Extra Support
Let’s be real, here: Things won’t always go your way. And it’s much easier to push through the hard stuff when we have people to lean on, confide in, and troubleshoot with.
3. Make New Connections
The people you know and work with already understand your character, work ethic, and the (superior!) quality of your work. They’ll be thrilled to spread the word about your services! Your network is the #1 place for referrals when you’re starting out. (Plus, they may even want to hire you themselves!)
Okay, so now you know why it’s important to tell your network you’re freelancing. Let’s talk about some ways to do it.
First: Share With Friends and Family
Starting with the people closest to you gives you a safe space to practice talking about your new business.
As a bonus, you might find out that they know someone you could collaborate with. Your friends and family might even want to use your services!
Next: Get Social
LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter… You don’t have to use all of these channels. But if you already have social media accounts, it’s a great place to spread the word about your business.
You may want to create a business account and invite your contacts to Like, Share, or Follow. Just be careful you don’t put an unnecessary amount of time or energy into the process of deciding. Make progress without worrying about the “perfect” place to share.
Caveat: The Only Reason Not Tell Your Network You’re Freelancing
If you’re currently employed, make sure you iron out the details with your manager or HR before going public.
It is vitally important to avoid burning bridges throughout your career. As a freelancer, your reputation is a major part of your business. Transparency, honesty, and reliability are the things that grow in your business, so don’t start out on the wrong foot.
Read More>>> 6 Traits of a Successful Freelancer
Networking and the Power of Word-of-Mouth Marketing
Colleagues (past and present), friends, and family are the building blocks of word-of-mouth marketing. According to the Global Trust in Advertising survey conducted by Nielsen in 2021, 88% of people trust the recommendations of people they know. (Read some of the finding here.)
We all know intuitively that people spend more when they have a higher level of trust.
Leverage the power of recommendations referrals! Tell your network you’re freelancing!
Your network can help you land your first clients. And they can help you find subsequent clients, too. That’s why it’s important to nurture your network, keep getting your name out there, and be extra good to the people who help you.
- Ask for help spreading the word since people may to think of it on their own.
- Make sure to thank the person who referred you to a new contact.
- Be prepared to do excellent work—always.
- Continue adding value (to both the referrer and the referred!) beyond the project end date by re-connecting whenever you can.
Telling Your Network You’re Freelancing Makes Mathematical Sense
If you’re still unsure about the value of spreading the word among your friends, family, and colleagues, consider the snowball effect.
The more clients you land, the more money you can make. And the more clients you retain, the less time you need to invest in finding new clients. (Although, we think you should never stop pitching!)
Start by telling just 10 people about your freelance services. And ask them to each tell 5 people in their networks.
Investing your time in just 10 initial networking conversations could result in your business being recommended to 60 people right off the bat.
If one of those people hires you and they have an amazing client experience, they are even more likely to recommend you to people in their network.
Tell your network you’re freelancing for low-cost, medium-effort, exponential growth. You’ve got this!
Your turn! How have you benefitted from word-of-mouth marketing? Do you have any tips for getting the word out about your business?