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HOW DO YOU NETWORK?

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I live in the north east and all of the blogs I read and success stories are mainly from people who have made it down south. Everyone keeps saying you must network, have good contacts and links. But where do you network? Are there particualr events I should be looking out for? How do I find out if there's a demand for freelance trainers up north? Finally, is it worth joining up with an agency to begin with? Any advice, anything at all much appreciated. Ria

10 Responses

  1. Networking
    Hi
    I found local networks through LinkedIn, then followed them to their public website to investigate. I then did some more internet research – took a little while, but found “The Business Club” in my area. It is a franchise and I don’t think there’s one in your area (yet) and I have no idea of the resources required to set it up, or any other club or networking event.
    I settled on this particular network as there is a variety of members and events and the timing suits me (evenings, not the same day each week, every two weeks). I’m very new, so not yet seen results, but found a few people independently who’ve recommended it. I’ve also joined a trainers network and have joined discussion groups, but not yet been to “face to face” events. This is more about mutual support and potentially associate work, rather than networking to drive new business.
    Sue

  2. Networking
    Hi Ria

    Key to effective networking in my experience is to go where your target client group will be.

    It is easy to just go to events randomly which I did when I started out but these days I tend to go to targetted networking events. For example, I work with professionals, including accountants so I go along to CPD events of accounting institutes.

    Hope that helps.

    Duncan Brodie
    Goals and Achievements
    http://www.goalsandachievements.co.uk/

  3. Networking
    Hi Ria
    I threw myself into networking when I started out, but quickly found that some groups were totally unsuitable in that the likelihood of “my sort of customers” (10 employees upwards) being there was sometimes non-existent. Some groups seemed to entirely consist of one man bands (I’m not knocking that), but they were most unlikely to want the training I was offering. Some groups were very expensive to join and operated in a way I didn’t feel comfortable with, or believed would really work.

    So my message is when you visit various networking groups, keep asking yourself “Are my sort of customers here?”.

    I have also had quite a number of referrals through Business Link. Make sure you register with them as a supplier. Customers have also been great at referring me. Also try to find out if there are any industrial estate networking groups in your area. Down here they seem to be called Forums. I’ve also provided a lot of training through these, which were subsidised by the local council.

    To find out if there is a need for freelance trainers in your area, why don’t you send out an eflyer marketing a workshop and then follow it up. That’s exactly how I started. Have a look at http://www.constantcontact.com. They give you a free trial for 60 days. Another idea is to have a look at http://www.skillfair.co.uk.

    All the best

    Nicky Cooksley
    Training Oracle
    http://www.trainingoracle.co.uk
    [email protected]

  4. virtual networking
    Hi!

    I do most of my networking on-line and on the phone. I found that a lot of networking events are breakfast meetings, which are impossible when you have to do the school run!

    Don’t rule out networking with other ‘one-man bands’ – everyone knows people who knows people, and I have been passed work by other freelancers, and indeed have passed work on to them.

  5. Thanks for all your comments
    I appreciate this everyone. Im going to start looking for some events that may be happening in my area and get to them. Nicky- you mentioned I should reister with Business Link as a supplier- how do I do that? I’ve registered with them however not as a supplier.

    Regards

    Ria

  6. Supplier Matching with Business Link
    Hi Ria

    Visit http://www.suppliermatching.co.uk to register and put in all your details. If a Train to Gain or Business Link advisor is asked for, or identifies a client of their’s needs training help they will search on this database and pass details of three providers to the client. The client then makes contact with either some or all of the providers.

    When Business Link have referred you they sometimes send you an email advising you of this, but do not tell you the name of the company.

    I’ve been very successful in getting work this way.

    Good Luck

    Nicky
    http://www.trainingoracle.co.uk

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