Diane Hall - The Frazzled Freelancer

Freelancer, Entrepreneur and mother of two...

Collaboration – do you do it? Or avoid it?

If someone approaches you to collaborate, do you flock to them eagerly?  Or do you take their request with a pinch of salt?

I’m still finding my feet when it comes to drumming up new business.  I’ve tried a few avenues to raise my profile but time and money have stopped me from going all-out to try everything available. 

I also think that there’s no particular rush – a strategy should be in place and an attempt to measure the results of any promotional drive, therefore to shout from the rooftops or run around like a headless chicken in the hope someone commissions my services is madness.

What works for me…

I have found plenty of ways to promote my business that have worked for me and some that haven’t.  I believe self-promotion is an individual issue – each business will have a unique USP (or, at least, it should have) and may belong to different sectors or markets than their neighbours – therefore a strategy should ideally be personal and tailored.

That said, common ways of promotion tend to work for most companies – like face-to-face networking; you never know who’s going to attend these events or what their needs are, making them a useful avenue to explore. 

Take the Brookson Enterprise Freelance Fair in Manchester on the 16th February.  The organisers have gone one step further than the norm and plan to match attendees with fellow businesses and freelancers that may have a need for your services, and vice versa – a novel, and very welcome enhancement, to traditional networking events of this kind. 

(BTW, for those attending on 16th Feb – I’m looking forward to meeting you!!)

For me, I find that Linkedin is a great tool.  For some people it doesn’t make much difference, but I’ve found many clients on there – or better still, they’ve found me.  I also get a lot of other LI users approaching me asking for more details about my services, or in response to a post I’ve left in some group or other.

“We should collaborate!”  (I won’t hold my breath…)

80% of these LinkedIn response will say ‘we should collaborate’…that my services could compliment their offerings or that they have a project we could work on together.  They suggest we meet and discuss.

When I first started freelancing full-time I met most of these potential collaborators.  I would get quite excited at the thought that not only would there be some work on the horizon but that I could be involved with something far larger than I would be offered on my own.

The majority of those I met did not research what I did before our appointment.  Within the first few minutes it was apparent in my mind that our liaison would just become a nice cuppa and a jaunt from the office.  My potential collaborator would tell me all about their business and their plans but when pressed as to where they thought I could help them or how I’d fit in with their strategy they’d quote services I either didn’t provide or they’d be at a loss for something to say.

“Tell me…what do you want?”

I’ve recently begun to question anyone who comes to me with a proposal; about their expectations of me and their plans before I even mention meeting – simply because I don’t have the time to waste. 

Don’t get me wrong – not all meetings have been a waste; I’ve met some lovely people and also found a few collaborations in this manner, so I’m not asking that fellow freelancers or entrepreneurs don’t contact me – all I expect nowadays is that they know WHY they’re coming to me and WHAT for.  It saves both our time.

I’d be interested to know if this just happens to me.  Do other freelancers have this problem?  How do you ‘filter’ your appointments?  Or am I being too harsh?

The Brookson Enterprise Freelance Fair has the right idea – meaningful collaborations and leads for the utmost effect.  So NOT a waste of time….

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Written by Editor on February 4, 2011 and filed in Featured, Frazzled Freelancer, Freelancers, News, Opinion , , ,

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