by Joe Wallace
An espresso machine as a business resource? Not directly, but yes. I can think of two recent examples of how sitting down with people over coffee has resulted in long-term value for my freelance work-even though those people have never paid me for my services. In fact, I did some work for at least one of my coffeeshop meetups for free just because they needed the help at a crucial time.
Let’s examine this idea in a different way–one that seems totally obvious to some, but will come as a revelation to others simply because it’s easy to lose sight of this stuff in the frenzy to get things done day-in and day out on the freelance front lines.
Everybody loves social media for freelance work. You can find jobs, make new connections, catch up with old friends and even old clients via Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, you name it. Social media is awesome.
But the key word in the phrase “social media” is the word SOCIAL.
With that in mind, my secret freelance business resources include the in-person meetup, the phone call followup to e-mail discussions about freelance projects, ad sales for FZ, planning for the future, you name it.
When I think about making connections with people, I try to find ways to use my tried-and-true social media resources in ways that bring me in actual personal contact with people. Facebook is great for this–the local writer’s group is an obvious resource for the freelance writer. But what about using Facebook Marketplace to advertise your services? Or your latest e-book? It’s currently an under-utilized tool for freelancers.
Twitter can be used to spur impromptu meetups in the local area if you’ve got a circle of followers in your zip code. What could be better than a freelance writing group that formed spontaneously through existing social media connections?
One thing I’ve been meaning to do for some time now, but haven’t quite gotten it together to do? Take a stroll down the street in my neighborhood to the local Chamber of Commerce and introduce myself. As a business and finance writer (just one of my specialties) it makes perfect sense to get involved at the Chamber, even if it’s just to drop by and say hello every once in a while and see what events are coming up.
The idea of social media is wonderful, as long as there’s some social interaction to go along with the online discussions. Every time I leave the house to be social, without the media, I find it has lasting benefits–sometimes they’re financial, other times they’re about PR, and some are just about meeting good people…but they all have a positive effect on what I do for a living.
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