Last week I had an email from someone who really wanted to set up as a freelance trainer. The one thing that was getting in the way was the feeling that he didn’t have enough contacts or people in his network to make a go of it.
I know exactly how that feels. When I first started out I’d just moved into a completely new area, I’d left all my contacts behind and the situation wasn’t really as ideal as I would have liked. I really had so start building my network again from scratch.
So here’s some of the things I did:
1. Sent my CV off to as many training companies as I could to see if I could get work as an associate. Some never replied, some said thanks but no and others said yes we’d like to meet you – I managed to get some work from some of them I met – not all of them came through but it was good initially in terms of making contacts.
2. Used my existing network ( most of them in London) to see if they had any contacts in my new area of the Midlands – and it was amazing how many did – and how many new contacts I made that way
3. Started a Trainer Network in my new area – as nothing seemed to exist – it started out as a few of us in a pub and grew to more formal events with speakers
4. Went to as many networking events as possible to make new contacts and then followed up with individual meetings
5. Joined my local Women In Management group and then ended up taking over as Chair for 2 years – I made loads of contacts and got loads of work that way
And here are 5 other ways of increasing your network:
1. Make a list of everyone you know, and I mean everyone
– friends, colleagues, past colleagues, family, Mums and Dads of your kids friends, doctor, dentist, hairdresser
Prioritise into the most useful and contact them to let them know what you do. You’ll be amazed at what comes out of this exercise!
2. Connect with people on Linked In and make a point of meeting up with people face to face or phoning at least one person every day.
3. Choose one Linked In Group to join.Actively participate. Connect with as many people as you can in the Group and follow up with face to face contact.
4. Connect other people to each other who you think may benefit from the connection.
This encourages other people to do the same and is a great way of bringing people into your network.
5. If you are going to an Event invite someone else to come along with you.
People are generally much happier to go to events with other people particularly if they feel a bit anxious about going on their own and it will really be appreciated!