There are many rewards to freelancing and working as a consultant. Besides the opportunity to reap financially, freelancing – when done correctly – allows great opportunity for self-development and establishing new relationships.
One of the challenges I hear from aspiring freelancers is not only how can they find clients but where can they access professional development tools to help them continue to hone their skills and learn new trends. What I have found to be beneficial is attending business networking functions and joining networking organizations and niche marketing groups. I have personally and professionally grown from the experiences and highly recommend for those seeking ways to expand their freelancing exposure.
Networking Really Does Work
At a recent networking event of The National Business Chamber (TNBC) in Gwinnett County, Georgia, I’ve had the opportunity to meet potential clients, learn about new products and services, and enrich my skills through training presentations. For example, I had never heard of Wildtree, an All-Natural and Organic Food Products company, but TNBC member Stephanie French hosted a lunch and learn session for the organization. Not only did she provide a beautiful luncheon spread featuring Wildtree products, sauces and grapeseed oils, she also shared information on healthy and clean eating and living and the difference it’s made in her family’s life.
One of my favorite people at TNBC is Ellie Peters and her mom, Jen. Ellie is a 12-year-old youth entrepreneur and owner of Cool2SweetSoap.com, a natural bath and body products company. Ellie makes face and bath soaps, bath fizzies, a dog shampoo, and shaving soap. What began as a family project to cure a relative’s dry skin, has morphed into a thriving soap business for Ellie. Her products are great for sensitive and dry skin, made with the finest organic ingredients and essential oils. Her products are great as gift items and can be purchased online and in select local retail businesses.
Finding Your Niche Group
There are many specialties to consider as a freelancer but to narrow your focus, you should staring with your niche. A niche group will give you specific tools and guidance for reaching your audience and offering professional development opportunities. I’ve joined several writing and author groups and have learned a lot of valuable information that I’ve been able to put into place, like marketing techniques, best ways to leverage social media, how to market an online business or service, to name a few.
Being actively involved and having a presence with networking organizations have been instrumental in growing my freelance and consulting business. While many believe that this is an easy opportunity to pursue, it requires a lot of work to get the right combination of resources and leads. Growing a freelance business is really about exposure and visibility. And sometimes the best opportunities become available just from being present.