Useful Networking Tips for Freelance Artists

You’ve probably heard this far too often, but networking is essential for an artist and freelancer’s career. Unfortunately, we don’t spend much time learning how to network within the Arts and Culture. It’s often assumed that you will just figure it out along the way. And yes, for some, networking comes naturally. But for others, networking can be very awkward… So let us help you with some useful networking tips for freelance artists!

How do you make a good first impression? How do you make networking less awkward? How do you reduce your networking anxiety? In this article, we’ll dive into all things networking and share some great tips that will make networking a lot easier! Especially if you’re struggling with it.

Why is networking important for freelance artists?

Why is networking important for freelance artists? At Lanced, we believe in the so-called Powers of Networking. It sounds all very Marvel-like but trust us, they really are powers! So what are the Powers of Networking?

Opportunities

The first power is ‘Opportunities’, a network that can lead you to find more/new work. Whether that’s through word of mouth, people actively referring you, or you simply hearing of a job opening that wasn’t posted online. Actually, many freelancers find most of their projects through their networks!

Knowledge

You are not reinventing the wheel as a freelancer. There have been many before you. That means that there is an infinite amount of knowledge available to access in your network. You just simply have to ask. You would be surprised to find out how many people will want to help someone else out. Side note: your network should be inclusive and diverse so that you can learn from others and access even more knowledge.

Community

The final power is ‘Community’. Networks can be solely professional, but they can also turn into your own little family of like-minded professionals. When that happens, a community is born. A community is a place where you feel safe, welcomed, and appreciated. We are all for community building and encourage you to build your own!

Want to learn more about the ‘Powers of Networking’? Check out this ‘Freelancer Talk’ below from our founder Wouter Vertogen during one of our network events in Amsterdam!

5 Networking Tips for Freelance Artists:

Now that we have understood why networking is important for freelancers. Let’s dive into our 5 networking tips for freelancers! When reading these tips, it’s important to understand that you have to make them your own. There is no one way to become a network genius. Everybody is different and you just have to find out what works for you.

1. Be You

Networking is another word for relationship building. And just as in any other relationship, you want to be able to be yourself. You want people to like you for who you are. So don’t go and start catfishing your new connections. Just be you. Be chill. Anybody who doesn’t connect with you for the way you are doesn’t deserve your time anyway 😉

2. Be Prepared

When you go to a networking event such as Freelancer Talk, it is wise to be a little prepared. You should always be ready to describe yourself and your freelance business in a few sentences. But don’t start going into full pitching mode. You want others to get to know you without overselling yourself. Remember, you are building a relationship and not selling products.

3. Listen

When you do end up having a conversation with someone you don’t know, make sure you give them space to speak. Actively listen to what they have to say. Make them feel comfortable when speaking to you by showing you are listening. A little nod or “yes” will do just fine.

4. Be Sincere

Can you tell when someone is faking it? Chances are that in most cases your answer is going to be yes. Stay true to who you are as mentioned in the first tip but also make sure that your attempt to network comes from a sincere place. If you want to work with someone, sometimes it’s better to just be direct and let them know that you admire their work. There’s no need to slimeball.

5. Don’t be so serious!

Networking is like playing a game. And games are fun! Using a fun joke to break the ice is definitely a good way to start a conversation. Don’t take every conversation too seriously. Okay, business is business but as a freelancer, you also want to be able to connect with others on a more personal level.

Side note: always read the room. Know when it’s time to have fun and when it’s time to be serious.

Alright, these were our 5 networking tips for freelancers. Undoubtedly, there are many more tips for networking as a freelancer. In the end, it’s also a trial-and-error kind of thing. Not every conversation will lead you to make a new network connection. That is fine though! When that happens just reset your mind and move on.

Do you have any networking tips? Share them in the comments!

After reading this blog, we challenge you to get yourself out there and start expanding your freelance network. As your network grows you will see that your freelance career will do the same. Find out which tips work for you best when networking.

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