Networking For Freelancers: How To Build Strong Relationships

People often talk about the importance of networking, but what does that really mean? It’s not just a list of tips and tricks; it’s an ongoing process. 

Networking helps you build strong relationships with other people in your industry, which can lead to new opportunities and connections. 

The more time you spend building these relationships, the stronger they’ll become and the more connected you’ll be to the people who matter most in your field.

Business Networking: How to Build Professional Relationships
Key Takeaways
Network with other freelancers and industry professionals to expand your reach.
Attend relevant events to meet new people and build connections
Offer value and build authentic relationships to gain new clients and job opportunities
Use online resources like social media, webinars, and forums to connect with professionals
Maintain regular communication with your contacts and regularly update your professional profiles
Measure the effectiveness of your networking efforts by tracking your progress over time

1. Always Be Mindful

The first step to building strong relationships is being conscious of your surroundings, the people around you, and how you are presenting yourself. 

Being mindful of your body language can help you make a positive impression on others, which will open up opportunities for networking down the road. 

For example, if someone gives you their business card while they are shaking your hand firmly with an open palm (a sign of respect), it’s best to follow suit by also offering a firm handshake with an open palm but don’t get too carried away here! 

Some people prefer light hugs or cheek kisses depending on their culture so be sure not to offend anyone by going above and beyond what’s expected based on cultural norms in which case it could turn into an awkward situation where everyone feels uncomfortable (including yourself).

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2. Stand Out By Following Up

After a meeting or phone call, send an email thanking the person for their time and mentioning something you learned from them.

After you send an email, follow up by sending links to related articles that may be of interest to them.After you send a resume to an employer, follow up with a thank-you note in which you mention something specific about how they helped out at one point in your career.

Follow up after applying for a job position by sending another application package detailing why you’re different than anyone else who applied (you might even want to submit this as soon as it’s clear someone has left their job; follow up with references).

When submitting proposals or ideas for projects or partnerships, always include some kind of “close” like “It would be great if we could get together sometime next week so I can walk through my proposal with you.”

Follow-Up Tools to Stand Out

Follow-Up ToolDescription
BoomerangA popular email scheduling tool that allows you to schedule emails to be sent later, set reminders to follow up, and receive notifications when someone doesn’t respond.
HubSpotA customer relationship management (CRM) tool that helps you keep track of your contacts and when to follow up with them.
TrelloA visual collaboration tool that allows you to create cards for each potential client, set deadlines, and assign team members to follow up on tasks.
CalendlyA scheduling tool that allows you to set your availability and send a link to clients so they can pick a time that works for them to schedule a call or meeting.
LinkedIn Sales NavigatorA social selling tool that allows you to track potential leads, set reminders to follow up, and get insights about potential clients.

3. Build Relationships On Your Personal Interests

The third way to build relationships is by finding common interests with other people. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t a sports fan, for example. 

You can have a conversation about sports if you are interested in them, and if not, there are plenty of other topics that you can discuss.

When starting a conversation with someone new, go into it knowing what kind of person they are. If they’re an outgoing type who loves talking about themselves and their experiences, that’s great! Take advantage of this opportunity by asking them questions and learning more about them.

If the person seems shy or introverted though; try asking how their day has been so far instead of jumping right into small talk (unless they seem like they want to).

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4. Ask Questions

Asking questions is one of the most powerful ways to build trust and rapport with others. It gives you a chance to get to know them better, learn more about what they do and how they do it, and connect on a personal level.

Ask questions that are relevant to the conversation. If you’re talking about people’s hobbies or interests, then great! Ask them what makes them happy in their free time or what their favorite activities are. 

If you’re discussing their work experience or projects, ask for more details about those experiences—what were some specific challenges? What did they enjoy most about working on those projects?

Ask questions that will help you understand the other person better. If your coworker talks about how she came from another country as a child and now lives here as an adult, ask her why she decided to settle down in this city over any others available around the world (and why not elsewhere). 

This helps answer any lingering curiosity while also giving insight into who this person is outside of work life—maybe it’ll lead into another topic down the line too!

Ask questions that will help you learn more about what they do out of sheer curiosity! For example: “How’d this idea come together?” or “What made us decide against doing X instead of Y?” These types of queries allow coworkers who aren’t directly involved in a project but still want input into its development; they also give freelancers who aren’t directly involved in something themselves but would like some insight into how things worked out anyway–why not ask?!

Q&A Tools to Improve Networking

Q&A ToolDescription
MentimeterAn interactive presentation tool that allows you to create live polls and Q&A sessions to engage your audience and gather feedback.
SlidoA Q&A and polling platform that allows you to conduct live polls, surveys and Q&A sessions during webinars, meetings, and events.
Poll EverywhereAn audience response system that allows you to create polls, quizzes, and open-ended questions for real-time audience engagement and feedback.
Google FormsA free survey tool that allows you to create custom surveys and questionnaires to gather feedback, opinions, suggestions and ideas from your network.
TypeformAn online survey tool that allows you to create interactive and engaging surveys, quizzes, and feedback forms to gather valuable insights from your audience.

5. Listen

One of the best ways to build relationships is by listening. People will feel valued if you pay attention to what they say, both verbally and non-verbally (for example, in terms of tone of voice or body language). 

The truth is that people are more likely to trust you if they feel like you’re actually there with them. It’s important not just because it helps build trust but also because it gives you a chance to show off some personality traits of your own and demonstrate that you care about what they have to say.

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6. Hold Yourself Accountable For Goals And Plans You Make With Others

Hold yourself accountable for goals and plans you make with others. If you say you’re going to do something, then do it. Don’t promise things if you can’t deliver on them. If someone asks for your help and your schedule is too busy, tell them so they can plan their time accordingly (and not be disappointed).

If the person who has asked for help doesn’t get back to you in a reasonable amount of time (like within 24 hours), send a follow-up email to check in on the status of their request. 

This one is especially important if this person was reluctant or hesitant about asking for assistance in the first place—it shows that they were right to trust your abilities as an expert networker!

Accountability Tools for Goal Setting and Networking

Accountability ToolDescription
ClickUpA productivity tool that can help freelancers keep track of their daily tasks and long-term goals. You can create custom task lists and set reminders and deadlines for yourself and share with others for collaboration.
AsanaA task management tool that allows you to create and delegate tasks to team members, set due dates, track progress, and communicate about the tasks on a single platform.
SlackA collaboration tool that allows you to create channels for different projects or topics and communicate with clients and collaborators in real time. Channels can be used to track and communicate about individual tasks and deadlines.
TrelloA visual card-based tool that allows you to organize your tasks or projects on boards and separate them into different stages. All parties can have visibility into how the work is progressing and what needs to be done next.
ZoomA video-conferencing tool that allows freelancers to connect with team members, clients, or peers for meetings and collaboration purposes. You can share screens, chat, and record meetings which can be used as a reference later.

7. Add Value To Conversations

One of the easiest ways to make people like you is by building a reputation as someone who is helpful and generous. 

In your networking efforts, try to find ways to add value without being asked or at least without asking in return. 

If a conversation starts to slip into small talk territory, ask questions that will lead it in a more productive direction. For example: “What do you think about [topic]?” or “How did [person] get started doing [job]?” or “Have you heard about this [piece of news]?” Or offer something concrete that’s relevant to the person’s interests a book recommendation or an article with useful information on their topic of interest. 

You can also share knowledge and expertise where appropriate; if someone mentions their blog post on how they started freelancing, ask them how it’s going so far and what advice they’d give other aspiring writers/artists?

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8. Help People Out Without Expecting Anything In Return

When you’re a freelancer, it’s easy to get caught up in the idea that your success is all about what you can do for others. 

While this does play a role in the world of business and networking, helping those around you is just as important.

This isn’t just about being nice helping out also shows people that you’re capable of making connections and cultivating relationships with others. 

Plus, it lets them know that they can trust you with anything from advice on topics within your industry to referrals for jobs or projects. 

With this approach, not only will people be more willing when it comes time for them to ask favors of their own; but they’ll also start thinking of ways they could help out themselves!

9. Stay Active On Social Media

Social media is a wonderful way to connect with people who share your interests. If you’re looking for new opportunities, it’s the perfect place to network and find them!

Promote yourself on social media. Social media is a great way to get your name out there—and it can help you build your personal brand too. 

Many freelancers use Twitter or Facebook as part of their marketing strategy. Make sure that these profiles are professional-looking so that anyone who stumbles across them will have confidence in hiring someone from them!

Find new clients on social media. If you’re having trouble finding clients for your freelance business, try using social networks like Twitter or Facebook to find some potential candidates by advertising what services you offer or letting others know about the kinds of projects that interest you most (e.g., those where there might be an opportunity for collaboration).

Freelancers need to manage their time effectively to achieve maximum productivity. Check out our guide on time management strategies for tips and tricks on how to make the most of your time and increase your productivity.

10. Ask To Interview Someone For Their Thoughts And Insight

You’re not the first person to be looking for guidance. And, chances are, there’s someone you respect who has already walked their path and knows what they’re talking about. Ask them if they’d be willing to share a few tips with you. 

You can even ask if they would be willing to discuss their journey publicly via an interview or blog post! 

If so, this is an excellent opportunity for you to showcase your writing skills while also sharing valuable information with your audience and learning from someone who’s already been through what you’re experiencing now.

11. Start A Podcast Or Webinar Series That Features Industry Pros

If you’re a freelancer who lives and breathes your industry, why not create a podcast series? It can be as simple as sharing your experiences in the space (i.e., what you learned from working with such-and-such client) or inviting other professionals in the field to join you for an interview. 

If you don’t have any experience creating podcasts, there are plenty of resources out there that can help get you started:

How To Podcast: An Introduction – This website has everything you need to know about starting your own podcast series, including how much equipment is needed and how much it costs.

TechRadar goes through all the steps of how to create a podcast from start to finish on their website. 

They cover everything from choosing a topic for your show all the way down to recording audio and editing it later on! This article also covers some great tips for promoting yourself once your show is up and running too!

12. Use Your Network To Reach Out To Potential Customers And Clients

The best way to make your network work for you is to use it as a resource. You can do this by asking your contacts for introductions, advice, feedback or recommendations. 

As long as you’re not asking for something specific (more about that in section 13), there’s no harm in reaching out and asking other people if they know anyone who might be interested in what you have to offer.

13. Offer Opportunities For Others To Help You Out, Too

In addition to asking for help from others, you should be willing to offer help when it is possible. Offer specific things like sharing leads or making introductions and don’t forget to ask your contacts if they’d like help with anything in the future. 

Just make sure that your offer isn’t too burdensome for example, if you’re running out of time on a project or are swamped with other work, keep it simple by saying something like: “Hey! I was wondering if there were any tips on how I could improve my writing skills? If so, I’d love to hear them.”

Your colleagues will appreciate being asked for their opinion and advice. They’ll also remember how generous you were by offering assistance in return! 

You may also want to consider asking for feedback on projects that are coming up soon; this will give both parties an opportunity for collaboration and build camaraderie between everyone involved in these projects (which can be helpful down the road).

14. Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Something Specific When You Send An Email

The fact is that asking for what you want is important, especially when it comes to your career. You’re not doing yourself any favors by avoiding a conversation with clients or customers because you’re worried they won’t like what you have to say. 

Take the initiative and ask for things that are within your control if there’s something specific about their project that needs addressing, make sure it’s addressed before sending off the final draft of your invoice. 

We’ve all been on the receiving end of poorly worded emails in which our client asks us for something vague like “more work” or “a better rate.” If you need more money from them (for example), ask them directly! 

Don’t leave anything up in the air where someone else could misconstrue an email as an unclear request. 

Similarly, if there’s something specific about your relationship with this person/company/client that needs addressing, don’t be afraid to reach out directly and ask how we can work together better even if it seems scary at first!


If you want to be a successful freelancer, you need to build strong relationships that will help you grow your business. 

That’s why it’s so important to make sure that every email and phone call counts. You should always keep in mind what your goals are and how these interactions can benefit those around you as well as yourself. The more time spent networking with others, the stronger those ties become!

Further Reading

Here are a few more resources to help you build strong relationships and improve your networking skills as a freelancer:

Networking Tips for Freelancers: Grow Your Career and Gain Clients: This article provides tips and advice on how freelancers can network effectively to grow their careers and gain clients.

Networking Tips to Help You Gain More Freelance Clients: This article offers practical networking tips to help freelancers gain more clients and grow their business.

Networking Tips for Freelancers: Build Your Communication Skills and Grow Your Network: This resource provides tips for freelancers on how to improve their communication skills and build a strong network to succeed in their career.


What is networking, and why is it important for freelancers?

Networking involves establishing and maintaining relationships with people who can potentially help you with your career goals. It’s essential for freelancers to network because it’s an effective way to gain new clients, find job opportunities, and build a professional support system.

How can a freelancer begin networking?

A freelancer can start networking by attending events, both online and in-person, that are relevant to their industry. They could also join social media groups, attend webinars, or participate in online forums to connect with industry professionals.

What are some effective strategies for building strong relationships through networking?

Some effective strategies for building strong relationships through networking include being authentic, showing genuine interest in the other person, offering value, and following up with them after initial contact.

How can a freelancer measure the effectiveness of their networking efforts?

A freelancer can measure the effectiveness of their networking efforts by tracking the number of new clients they gain, the number of job opportunities they receive, and the strength of their professional relationships.

How can a freelancer maintain their networking effort?

A freelancer can maintain their networking effort by staying in touch with their contacts regularly, showing appreciation for their help or advice, and continuing to attend relevant events. They should also regularly update their professional profiles and be active on social media platforms.