In the current financial crisis, networking becomes more important than ever. People tend to prefer their friends or acquaintances; that is valid for job relevant things as well. Especially for freelancers, it can be vital to know the right persons.
So: Where can you find the right persons for you?
Everywhere. I have met interesting and sometimes helpful people everywhere. At the station waiting for the train, at a business breakfast in my city (a meeting of freelancers, self-employed people, managers), in online forums. All you have to do is talk to strangers. A harmless comment on the weather can break the ice.
How to proceed?
Do not plunge into conversation with business first. Do some small talk, be an active and attentive listener and show interest in your dialog partner. Find topics that interest you both. Best, find a way to help him / her with a problem. Show him / her that you can be a valuable acquaintance.
The contact has been established. What next?
Contact him / her from time to time. Ask how s/he is doing. Show interest but don’t be too intrusive. Just remind him / her from time to time that you exist. Do some small talk. When you really need his / her help some time in the future, he might well be inclined to help you because you have been acquainted for some time.
See, networking is quite easy. It’s all about doing small talk and trying to help each other. And, mind you: Even a seemingly unprofitable acquaintance might just happen to know someone other who can help you.