If there’s one thing we know, it’s that networking close to home with people you know is the absolute best way to discover new gigs out there and get hired. On the flip side, it’s also a way that you can help your clients discover new, trusted talent (aka, your freelancing buddies) while you might be busy with other projects. But how do you find and keep your network going? We’ve got some ideas…
Find Your People
Perhaps the hardest part is finding your people. Again, we think starting with your immediate friend group is probably the best, but you can reach out on social media sites like Linkedin or Alignable to find self-employed business owners in your neighborhood. Even if you’re only three members to start, you’ll grow exponentially as the group gathers momentum.Use an easily accessible platform for everyone.
First thing’s first, decide on a platform you’ll use to host your forum. One of the easiest platforms that many people use is GoogleGroups. You do not need a Google email address to use Google groups, but you will need to create a Google account and connect your email. Users of the group can decide how often they want updates from groups, which also makes this platform great for those who don’t want too many emails. And since most people check their email more often than their social media accounts, Google Groups are even better for quicker communication. But you do you, of course! A closed Reddit forum or private Facebook group might suit you just fine.Decide who will moderate your group.
Hot tip, have at least three founders who will run the group tag-team style. Google Groups tend to run themselves with minor questions that need to be answered. This step is even more important if you’re running a more public forum where discussions are held and might need more frequent input from a moderator.
Create a unique name.
This doesn’t have to be anything special—just a consistent way for people to find you. Simply using your location + industry + freelance group as a guide is fine!
Create rules of operation.
We’re betting that you’re creating a strong group of freelancers who are kind and considerate. But we all have bad days and it’s nice to have a couple of standard rules around what’s acceptable and not in any group setting. And there’s no need to write them from scratch! Check out groups you’re already a part of, borrow their code of conduct, and adjust based on what the group decides is fair.
Voilà, you have started your own local freelance group!
Create a single recurring meet-up.
The nice thing about being nearby to one another is that you can create a consistent meet-up opportunity. Don’t make it mandatory, but do encourage people to bring their freelancing friends and co-workers to your mixer. Getting in person with one another once a month (if everyone feels safe) will help facilitate better communication for your digital space and might even foster new friendships for the future.
Keep up with ongoing communication.
The other important job of moderators is to keep at least one point of constant communication going monthly. You don’t want to lose momentum with your newfound group! A typical piece of communication could be a newsletter on what everyone’s up to (job-wise) or questions answered recently in the forum. But if you really don’t have time for that, simply copy/paste all your recent job postings into an email and send it out weekly, biweekly or monthly.
TLDR; these days, no one should go it alone when it comes to searching for jobs and getting hired. If you are able to create your own local hub of freelancers, go for it! If, on the other hand, you need help from a recruiter, do reach out to us.