The Way We Work
December 5, 2011 by Jenna Weiner

As many experienced freelancers and entrepreneurs will tell you, networking is one of the most important things you can do to help your business thrive. But this tends to be easier said than done — networking can be intimidating for many people.

So what can you do to put aside your qualms and network like a pro? We asked our users to share their favorite tips for successful networking and got some great responses. Here are our favorites!

1. Tim Lytle, via Twitter:
Be helpful: connect people — recommend someone else if it’s something you don’t do, and answer questions — it may be a future client.

2. Randika Ratnayake, via Facebook:
Try to give out more than what you get, and more than what the client expects. It sounds odd and expensive, but later on it pays you back with interest, so it is an indirect investment for the long term. A happy client is always a free marketing strategy and a tool.

3. Ahaiwe Kelechi C., via Facebook:
Motivational speaking.

4. Maita Alvin Enzo Perez, via Facebook:
The best tip — always keep communication lines open. If you are looking for a job, include all possible ways to contact you. If you already have a job, don’t hesitate to ask questions and clarify if instructions are not clear. This way, you will build strong working relationships with your employers.

5. Jadi Val Akuti, via Facebook:
Article writing and forum posting are the best ways for me … for the forum posting, you can react and interact with people that have the same interests, and you can come up with some ideas and suggestions for your product.

6. Sky Aldovino, via Facebook:
My tip would be commitment and patience … when I got my first oDesk contract I committed myself to it and jobs just came pouring down on me. I still have my first clients up to now when I started 3 years ago and new ones are coming in, too. I have even been personally referred by my clients to their friends.

7. Vaibhav Kanwal, via Facebook:
Build a list by asking buyers to sign up for your mailing list after a successful contract. That way, you can reach out to them later and even offer discounts!

8. Hugh Ghouleh, via Facebook:
People don’t like to network with takers; it might work for a while, but eventually… acknowledging mutual interests can increase your network value substantially.

9. Sarah Jane Valdez, via Facebook:
One should have FUN; networking is one fun way of meeting people, sharing ideas and establishing possible business relationships.

10. Dennis A Deschamps, via Facebook:
Attend a local neighborhood meetup to network with those in the know to alleviate doing what you are not necessarily good at.

Have any of these strategies been successful for you? Do you have other tips to add to the list? Let us know in the comments section below!


Jenna Weiner

Content Marketer

Jenna Weiner is the former content marketing manager at oDesk and was the editor-in-chief of the oDesk blog. With a background in business and technology writing, she specializes in content marketing and strategy, public relations, and branding. Before joining oDesk, Jenna was a writer and editor for Monitor Group’s marketing department (now Monitor Deloitte) and was the Business & Technology Section Editor for Brafton Inc.… read more