In our recent blog, we explored how the contractor market is currently thriving, with no shortage of opportunities available. However, with the rise of contracting opportunities, comes the rise to competition in the industry too.
That’s why it has never been so important to focus on networking. Making the effort to network with individuals in your industry can be a game-changer! It allows you to build mutually beneficial connections in your industry, enhance your credibility, and supports you in acquiring and expanding your business.
Regardless of your industry or profession, the concept of networking will not be new to you - the advice is passed from generation to generation on how vital it will be for professional development and success.
For contractors, it can be challenging to work solely on your own 24/7, therefore having a strong network is important to lean on. Whilst working with thousands of contractors, we’ve seen how it can help first time contractors getting a greater grasp of their industries and business, and also help experienced contractors increase their services to their market too.
It allows our clients to expand their thinking, learning from others and discussing the tricks of the trade can lead to better practices and strong business relationships. Good business advice can be worth its weight in gold, therefore it pays off to listen to those with more experience in the market.
The overall goal of networking is to build long-lasting relationships and a solid reputation. Both of which are essential for business growth.
Advantages of Networking
There is an abundance of advantages to networking. We will dive into a few examples below
Increased Job Opportunities
Access to more opportunities is one of the main advantages of networking. While networking you might meet a potential customer, receive a recommendation, or learn about career opportunities available. Remember networking opens doors, so being open to networking can lead to increased possibilities down the line.
Confidence is key in contracting. You may not think it at first, but a lot of the job is putting yourself out there. As a contractor, you are essentially selling yourself. If talking about yourself or your business isn’t a key skill, it should be something to work on. The more you network, the more this will come naturally to you, and the simpler it will be for you to establish long-lasting relationships.
You may excel at what you do as a contractor. But managing a business involves more than simply expertise and experience in your industry. Whether you're working alone or own a limited company, you may build your firm by using networking to uncover business solutions. Networking can be a great way to meet a multitude of different professionals, all of who could be beneficial to your business at some point.
The Power of the Company you Keep
Have you heard the saying ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know?’ Well, that is generally the case in business. You have the opportunity to meet a lot of intriguing people who would be hard to meet or connect otherwise through networking. These important, powerful individuals can give you access to excellent opportunities and help to put you in touch with other like-minded individuals.
Our Top 4 Tips for Networking
1. Keep in Touch with colleagues and past clients
Be sure to stay in touch with both your coworkers and clients even after you leave your contract role. They are aware of your abilities and the value you can bring to teams because they have known and worked with you over a long period of time. This could come in handy down the line when you are looking for future work, referrals are a great source of work within the contractor community.
2. Connect with Others in Co-working Spaces
A co-working space has a much larger concentration of independent workers than any other type of workplace. That's a fantastic chance for you to mix it up and meet people from other sectors.
3. Make the Most of Online Networking Tools
Linkedin is your best friend. Connecting with other professionals, whether they are ex-colleagues, freelancers or even clients has never been so easy. Online networks are one of the easiest ways to manage and build your connections. Platforms such as Linkedin allow you to send direct messages, as well as give or ask for recommendations from other professionals within your chosen industry. Utilising this is a great way to build and maintain strong connections.
Did you know you can also find consultant groups on other platforms such as Twitter, Slack and even on Facebook? These groups make it quite easy to connect to people and start up conversations. Contributing to these groups can be a great way to meet new people and bounce ideas off each other.
4. Don’t Skip Relevant Events
Another way to grow your network even further is to make sure to also attend offline meetings or events in your industry.
One step further is to be a speaker at an event, as it gives you additional networking opportunities and visibility. Giving you the opportunity to show your expertise and make a lasting impression on your audience.
Now that you are armed with all of our expertise, it’s time to get out there and start networking. Best of luck!