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As a young and possibly inexperienced entrepreneur, networking will be crucial to opening up opportunities for yourself. Even if you have years of experience, networking is still a critical aspect of the self-employed lifestyle. No matter what niche you are in, it is essential to make various connections in your field.

Volunteer in Your Community

Oftentimes, the areas in which you volunteer will allow you to use your specialized skills to serve others. For the self-employed, this poses a great opportunity to meet other like-minded individuals who may be in need of their services. When you’re self-employed, you should think of every event as a networking opportunity, volunteering being no exception. It is possible you may find a few clients at volunteer events or may hear of new opportunities in your community that you could thrive in with your business. 

Follow Up With Connections

Once you’ve met someone and made a potential business connection, it is important to follow up with them. If you’ve exchanged contact information, make sure you are actively reaching out to them. You cannot expect to grow your opportunities if you shy away from the hard work it takes to make measurable progress. With one step already out of the way, you can now connect with these new individuals again, set a time to meet up and design some business or project plans with them.

Ask Open-Ended Questions

Communication skills are crucial in your networking attempts. If you only ask questions that garner a yes or no answer, or if you yourself never elaborate on your own answers, it can be hard to make an impression on others or make it past icebreaker questions. Some of the best networkers understand the importance of asking open-ended questions, which are usually followed with complex answers leading to other conversational points. Having more intentional conversations like these will open up ample opportunities for you in your self-employment journey.

Decide What Your Ideal Client Looks Like

Ultimately, you will want to go into networking events with a clear goal. What does your ideal client look like? What kind of opportunities are you looking to pursue? What is your end goal with your conversations? This isn’t to say you should abandon ship when someone doesn’t check all your boxes. In fact, those individuals may have other contacts they can set you up with. Every conversation is important, but it will help you approach these exchanges more prepared and confidently if you define your goals ahead of time.

 

Joe Mcinerney Chicago

Joe McInerney Chicago