We shoulda been in pictures!
But we weren’t, because we were too busy talking and making awesome connections. (So I’m pasting some non-in situ photos and links here.)
Today, my friends Alison (an honest and passionate real estate agent) and Kaiti (an incisive and graceful designer and developer) convened our first Freelancers’ Lunch, an opportunity for a half-dozen (okay, seven) fun entrepreneurial types to talk about what we do, ask each other questions and seek advice, and see if any biz connections came readily to mind. (Yes, this was also the outgrowth of our semi-hashed summer experiment: Trying to Form a BNI Group in North Brooklyn. Only Alison succeeded with her burgeoning Influentials group. Go Alison!!)
I knew I’d have fun with these guys; I know them all (and many of them already knew each other) and was looking forward to having lunch with them no matter what. But I was truly surprised by how much we had to offer each other—especially considering how many of us were already friends!
- A former intern of Claire’s might be able to do some work for Kaiti.
- Alison knows someone working on a film that Mike could possibly do sound for.
- Kaiti wants to introduce recording engineer Lily to a badass female bass player she knows.
The connections probably numbered in the dozens, and everyone took care to make actual notes to follow up (that’s right—I don’t do business with flakes).
And even beyond potential work introductions, people were batting a thousand:
“I’d like to meet a good mortgage broker…”
“Do you know of a good, free CRM?”
“What’s a nice restaurant downtown for client lunches?”
We’re planning to convene again after the holidays, and will try to get a few more heads in the mix. Even though I’m a classic hippy-dippy, bleeding-heart people person, I admit I doubted the power of the personal network at the beginning of my freelance life. But I’ve gotten 90% of my rent-making business in the past year through personal connections, and 90% of my clients have been absolute joys to work with (the other 10% weren’t rotten, either).
So I can now personally attest to the professional as well as personal efficacy of keeping your relationships up. Talk to people you like: tell them what you need and listen to what they need. Then write it down and follow up.