You will hear this again and again, but it is some of the best advice you can get. Network like you life depends on it because your business does.
Networking can take on many forms, talking to people at seminars, leaving business cards at offices, or even a 30-second elevator chat. If you don’t tell people about your company you won’t get any business. My business has marketed and cold called for weeks with no results, but just two lucky business cards from a bit of networking carried us financially for the entire summer.
Networking scares a lot of people but at the end of the day you jus thave to go and do it. By waiting, you make it worse. Sometimes you can target your networking, choose targets you have a better chance with. But don’t use that as an excuse to stall, or only call your friends and family. The point is to grow the number of people who know about you.
If you’re talking to someone then this is free marketing. You don’t have to pay for an add, just mention your business. If you’re lucky they will find that legitimately interesting, that’s when you tell them what you do and how well you do it. Make sure you always have a business card on hand. It gives them your contact without the pain of getting your phones out, and it feels REALLY awesome. You don’t need a huge setup for this either if you have the card ready you can pass it off as you leave the conversation, after only a brief mention of your company, or really any other time. Once they have your card they can reach you, but you also need to follow up with them. That’s why you should try to get the card of whoever you are talking to as a potential client. By following up you keep yourself (and your business) in their mind, and you show good initiative making them want to work with you more. Remember, you have to work for your business. As a self-employed individual, you are on a constant job hunt, and everyone is a potential employer.