By now you may have gotten a good grasp why getting into freelancing is much like starting your own business. Even if you're working steadily to make a name for yourself, you need other people's help and input as well.
So I would like to start this week by rounding off this five-part article series. Here's the fifth benefit networking can bring you:
(5.) Your network can serve as a source of free advice and opportunities for mentoring.
You can have every detail of your transaction with your client written out in your Contract, you may be charging a reasonable flat fee and require a down payment first before getting started on a project, and you may be turning in exemplary work and meeting deadlines.
Let me just warn you, though, freelancing, just like any careers, is not free from pitfalls, in a sense that something could still go wrong along the way. Sometimes, even the most experienced freelancers have yet to grow accustomed to these "emergencies."
This is where your network can serve as a "cushion" to the harsh realities of your career, and give you much-needed moral support as well as practical advice.
To illustrate, let's say a client attempts to rip you off by refusing to cough up the balance you're asking for the finished project. If there's a fellow freelancer within your network that has dealt with "problem clients" before, well, guess what? He should be your first "go-to guy."
And you must not limit yourselves to the aspect of interacting and negotiating effectively with clients. You may have a better way of collecting freelancer's fees, or your system of keeping books may be less complicated, therefore less tedious to handle. Other freelancers would be dying to hear from you.
Also, mentoring each other is like hitting two birds with one stone. Teaching or training someone to acquire a skill you may already have improves the way you communicate, instills patience and discipline, and allows camaraderie to develop within your network. A fellow freelancer who receives training from you will get better and better, too.
In conclusion, networking creates plenty of win-win situations. So go out there and team up with a network and discover the many benefits it will give you.