Networking Archives
Managing and Maintaining My Contact List as a Freelancer

Managing and Maintaining My Contact List as a Freelancer

While most freelancers would love to simply wake up each day and have new work waiting for them, the reality is that half of a freelancer’s job is tracking down great well-paying clients that understand the value you’re providing. Freelancers often face dry spells as well as times of great abundance, but the nature of freelancing is tough. It’s important to make the most out of each and every client relationship. Luckily, there are several things you can do to facilitate this process and make your business relationships blossom. Managing my contact list and freelance work: Break It Down Our contact lists today are overwhelming, to say the least. When attempting to manage your contact list and make sense of it all, it’s ideal to break them down into manageable chunks that our brains can process more easily. You may choose to sort your clients by the amount of money they have spent on projects in the past, the type of work they request, the location that they are in, or even how easy they are to work with. There are many ways to sort your list, but the main point is that it should be logical to you. By doing so, you will be much more likely to remember who each person is, while tactfully avoiding information overload. Automate Your Marketing A smart marketing automation plan is much more than simply maintaining an email list and sending updates. A marketing automation plan is personable and specific and will have a solid goal in mind: getting more business. You’ll be able to create automated emails based on a client’s...
How I Manage My Contact List… Kinda

How I Manage My Contact List… Kinda

The most important part of networking is showing up. The second most important part is following up. I advocate for people to follow up with new contacts soon after they first meet, so each person is still fresh in each other’s minds. I talk a lot about the importance of following up on my blog at NetworkingForNicePeople.com. Following up well should help you keep your contact list organized but the truth is mine is a hot mess. I have never been able to get into the habit of creating a single Gmail contact for each person I exchange emails with. The steps to add a contact in Gmail are a little clunky and end up taking too much time. And so I neglect keeping my contact list up to snuff. I used to stress about this but I found a solution you can use too. Contact Management Solution… My solution is to rely heavily on search within my inbox. I am thankful I use Gmail, which of course is owned by Google – everyone’s favorite search engine. They know a thing or two about search. Searching within Gmail is actually quite powerful beyond a simple keyword search. Here are a few examples of ways I use email search to manage my contact list. These results may vary based on your email service provider or software but all should have a decent search function built in so give this a try. Search By Date & Keyword I usually mark my calendar to follow-up with new contacts about six months after a conference. Of course this is excluding the immediate follow-up...
Understanding Who’s in Your Sphere of Influence

Understanding Who’s in Your Sphere of Influence

Did you see the title and scratch your head wondering what the heck a sphere of influence is…and if you have one? That’s okay, you’re certainly not alone and yes you definitely have one, even if you don’t realize it! If we’re going by the definition below (that’s the second bulleted one) then you can think of your sphere of influence as the folks in your network with whom your opinion holds some weight. This can be anyone from your peers, friends, co-workers and beyond, and once you identify this layer of your network, you can begin to improve your communication with them and engage in a more meaningful way with them. Don’t think you’ve got a sphere or not sure why you should prioritize them? Think again, they might be hiding right in plain sight in your network and you’ll want to keep them top of mind because these are the people who are your biggest supporters, advocates and can often provide a boost to your business. We’ll help you to run through your network and better identify the very important SOI so you can best nurture them. Who’s in my sphere of influence? Know thy network Where do you start? We suggest going ahead and taking stock of your network on social media. No mean feat, we know, but a little work upfront will be worth it when you’ve identified those key folks in your network. So go ahead, get on social media and start scrolling through your friends, followers, and connections. If your first inclination is to check on LinkedIn, you may want to think again. Assess...
Top 10 Reasons Online Networking is More Effective Than In-Person Networking

Top 10 Reasons Online Networking is More Effective Than In-Person Networking

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on the Huffington Post and can be found here. Meeting people in real life, face-to-face is important for building professional relationships, but I’d be willing to bet that most of us — whether introverted or extroverted — do not enjoy the awkward interactions that are common when meeting strangers face-to-face for the first time. Networking events can feel like high school dances. Some packs of people who know each other stick together in cliques, never truly reaching out of their comfort zone. Others sit on the sidelines like wallflowers, waiting to go home to their pajamas and The Tonight Show. A scarce few may end up networking with someone they end up having a fruitful business relationship with, but most of us are lucky to leave with a few pleasant exchanges and business cards. Networking online, however, provides a much greater chance of success. It allows for a more thoughtful approach. 10 Reasons to start networking online: Here are 10 Reasons Online Networking is Better Than In-Person Networking, followed by steps to begin networking online like a champ. 10. Unlike networking events, networking online does not require suffering through a glass of bad chardonnay and a rubber chicken dinner. 9. Networking online has the potential to reach almost anyone in the world. It’s not just limited to whoever is in the room. 8. You can be strategic and prepare before networking with someone online, as opposed to flying by the seat of your pants with whoever happens to be at a networking event. 7. Online, you don’t have to worry about someone...
Networking Tips to Get the Most out of In-Person Meetings

Networking Tips to Get the Most out of In-Person Meetings

Editor’s Note: This blog post was originally published on Ray Access’ blog. You can see it here.  We believe in the power of networking. For local marketing, face-to-face networking has provided us with a local web of clients and partners. These connections serve several business purposes. They’ve: Created professional relationships that we continually nurture Effectively spread word-of-mouth brand awareness for us Delivered projects and referrals that directly add to our bottom line Provided opportunities for us to give back to the business community In short, networking is a valuable tool for increasing your local business. We [Ray Access] think so highly of networking that we’ve written about it before: How to Work a Networking Room, which discusses how to approach a room full of people 10 Tips for More Effective Networking, which provides networking tips to help you make a great first impression But There’s More to Say… Networking tips don’t end there. While these two articles offer valuable advice for any businessperson, you may want to know more. There’s certainly plenty of other questions you may have when it comes to networking. For example: What about when you finally sidle up to a prospect? How can you give that person (or group of people) your undivided attention while making a positive first impression? Sometimes, it’s difficult enough not to say the wrong thing, let alone trying to say the right thing. How can you leave a conversation confident that others you’ve met will remember you? Questions and Answers It’s a tall order, especially if you’re an introvert given to mumbling in a one-on-one conversation. It’s OK. If you...
The Best Networking Advice from 2016

The Best Networking Advice from 2016

Each year, we publish countless blog posts here on the Contactually blog full of advice, actionable tips and strategies for improving and implementing networking into your personal and professional life. By the end of the year, it’s easy to forget exactly what we wrote about back at the beginning of the year….but we do know there’s some great advice buried back there in January! That’s why we put together this handy roundup of all the best advice and tips we shared throughout the year that could be helpful for everyone from the folks looking to build up their network for the first time to seasoned pros who may need to get back in touch with contacts in their network that they haven’t spoken to in a while. No matter what your networking experience is, it never hurts to get a little refresher, right? And if you’re looking for a little more, head directly to the original article and soak it all in! Read on for the best networking advice of the year! Get to Know Your Network in 5 Minutes Utilize LinkedIn fully to get a better grasp on a potentially overwhelming amount of contacts in your network. It’s possible to better get to know exactly who you’re in touch with, simply by scrolling through your list of connections. Spend just 5 minutes a day on LinkedIn and you’ll very quickly find simple ways to not only get to know your network, but find more ways to keep in touch with them. Often, you’re prompted by the platform to congratulate your connections on new jobs or work anniversaries, giving...