When you take a step back from permanent employment, you realise just how many relationships you’ve developed over the years. Perhaps you’ve always attended specialist conferences or events, mingling with new people in the coffee breaks. Maybe you’ve attended speed networking sessions in the city. Or maybe you enjoyed those water cooler chats with the office newbies more than you ever intended to.
Even if we enjoy flying solo on new projects, one of the first lessons that we learn as freelancers is that we can’t do it alone. It’s all about connecting with people. That goes for finding your first clients, building your team or connecting with other people who get it. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs shows us that we need to add relationships into the mix to feel at our happiest.
Here are five ways that finding your freelance community can benefit you – both personally and professionally:
Here at Dweet, we believe in the power of a strong network – especially within fashion and luxury. Once you’ve started working in the industry, you’ll soon find that it’s tight-knit and so interconnected. Especially when you’re working with brands in the fashion capitals. You’ll often discover that many of your previous colleagues are interconnected through shared professional experiences. Whatever stage you are at in your career, networking is a great way to discover interesting resources in your field. It’s also perfect for building your reputation in the industry and share potential opportunities with each other. So, join as many networking groups that you can feasibly invest your time in. Expand your social circle whenever you get the opportunity to do so. Don’t be afraid of striking up conversations with new people. We’re not in competition with each other and you never know where those conversations might lead you.
The beauty of consultancy is that there are so many paths into it. No two people have had exactly the same experiences. This means that we all have something that we can learn from each other. Try to connect with other independent workers who are in the same niche as you, co-mentoring each other in a collaborative effort to improve. It’s also a great way to gain valuable insights into how other parts of the fashion industry work together. This means you can gain clarity on how you’d like to move forward in your own career.
When you become a consultant, you’re effectively setting up your own business. Not only do you need the skills to do your own job, you also become the marketing, finance and sales departments all at the same time. It’s at this point that most people enter uncharted territory, seeking to absorb as much business knowledge and information as they can. What’s more, your questions will continue to grow as your business evolves and adapts. The best way to get those answers is through talking to other experienced freelancers in the same field. Your peers will also be able to connect you with relevant luxury and fashion events, shows, presentations and conferences. Endless opportunities to grow and learn together.
As professional consultants, it’s our job to stay at the cutting edge of what’s happening in our industry. Trending topics in fashion design can have an impact on the way we approach writing copy for e-commerce. The latest research into consumer buying habits will have an impact on the way we merchandise our stores and boutiques. When we connect with other freelancers working in the field and freely share our knowledge, we can make sure we’re servicing our clients effectively with relevant ideas that will boost their businesses in turn.
Perhaps you’re working on a project and need more than tips and advice, you need to bring in an expert with a strong grounding in fashion and luxury. Maybe your client has even asked you if you can recommend anyone to help them out. When you have a professional network to draw on, you can add value to your own services by recommending or referring contacts with complimentary services. Clients will appreciate the time that you’ve saved them, and you’ll strengthen your reputation in the meantime too. It’s a win-win situation!
Have you recently started freelancing and you’re searching for your own community? Or perhaps you’re looking to make more connections within the fashion & luxury industry? Sign up for your free Dweet profile to chat with over 3,000 specialised professionals just like you and gain access to mentoring opportunities to help you thrive in your career.
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