Contracting and freelancing can be a lonely game. It can feel like you’re in a bit of a bubble, isolated from the “real world”, and unable to build up collegial relationships. One valuable way to build up your profile, networks and client base is to get involved with a local business group. The broad benefit of joining a group like this is that ever-present business buzzword: “networking”. There are a wide variety of different relationships you might build and opportunities that you might discover. This blog looks at some of the key benefits to becoming part of a business network as a contractor or freelancer.
Meeting new clients
Every face in that biz group is a potential new client for your business. As people get to know you, they’ll have you in the forefront of their mind next time a relevant job comes up. Someone in that room might already be looking for a contractor with just your skills. Going along could be one of the cheapest bits of marketing you’ll ever do.
These people know people – and once they know you, they’ll be able to recommend you. Once again, cheap but totally effective marketing.
Having a mentor
If you are new to contracting, freelancing or if you are changing industries, having an experienced mentor can transform your prospects, confidence and mindset. Many biz groups will pair you up with someone who can impart wisdom, answer your questions and make all-important introductions. Sometimes just having a sounding-board for your ideas and questions can make all the difference.
If you’re an experienced contractor or freelancer, you could consider becoming a mentor yourself. It’s a great feeling to give something back and to share the enthusiasm of a new starter. It’s a chance to share your expertise, which again goes further to building your profile. It looks good on your CV, as potential clients can see that you are responsible, philanthropic and generous with your time and knowledge. Being a mentor will also teach you new things – about business and about yourself.
Getting your name out there
Exposure is more than just getting retweets on social media. Biz groups offer opportunities to boost your profile by sharing details about your business and platforms to promote your latest innovations. Perhaps you’ll be offered the chance to present on an interesting aspect of your business, or a new strategy you’ve employed. Perhaps the group publishes collective advertising materials and you can get your business featured in this at great rates compared to individual advertising.
Workshops and events
Many business networking groups will hold events where you can up-skill, refresh your knowledge or stay up-to-date on current legislation, technologies or issues that affect small businesses. It’s a great way to keep the CV fresh and your knowledge sharp.
By working together, local business groups often exert pressure on local councils and MPs to campaign for changes that will help small businesses flourish. These could be on a local or national level, but it’s a positive thing to be involved in and there’s power in numbers. A lone contractor voice might go unheard, but team up with 20 other business owners campaigning on the same issue and those in authority might just take notice.
At Kingsbridge, we’re big believers that no contractor should ever have to feel like they’re going it alone. That’s why we offer a simple, comprehensive, compliant insurance package tailored specifically to the needs of contractors and freelancers. For a quote, visit our website at www.kingsbridge.co.uk.