Home > Freelancers, General eLearning Design > The value of REAL networking in your freelancer community.

The value of REAL networking in your freelancer community.

There’s an old business saying along the lines of “Never annoy anyone on your way to the top, because you may need their help when you are on the way down“. Basically, I take that to mean try and treat everyone right, and they will treat you right when you need them, (even if you are still on the way up).

Earlier this week I got a call from a very influential/well-known UK Institute. They had a problem. They had contacted me because I have 2 specific skills – #Articulate #Storyline and #Sparkol #Videoscribe – two products that are essential for their project rollout.

They need nearly 100 short, 10/12-slide, 10-minute courses produced – originally the deadline was sometime early in 2015, it is now late August 2014. It is almost the end-June now. There will be around 30-40 standalone Videoscribes to produce after that.

I went to see them, to see what I could do to help, if anything. To cut a long story short, after the meeting I placed a call to a Storyline colleague, to see if he could help, because there is no way I can do this on my own. He told me that he had diversified from Storyline, and had entered the Video Marketing world too using a new product – had I heard of a product called “Sparkol Videoscribe”?

He also knows of another resource who can help us with these skills. Sometimes – the planets just align perfectly.

In the meeting, both the client and I accepted the project dates were bordering on insanity, however, after a couple of hours, some laying down of the production “rules”, and some networking, this project has become completely realistic. I’m not saying it will be easy, but 1 person has become 3, and the light at the end of the tunnel is certainly brighter than it was. In contacting this colleague, and giving some work AWAY, a project is now more likely to happen, with me at the middle, managing it, and client panic (hopefully) turning to client delight and future repeat business.

I believe that effective Freelancer networks are ESSENTIAL, especially in my own eLearning business world . There are so many products and tools, no-one can be effective in them all. Work with REAL people, contact REAL people, and do not just be “Social Media Friends”. Be REAL friends and REAL colleagues. I am totally sick and tired of social media contacts to “Like” and “Friend” and so on – where they just ask, but offer no explanation WHY they want me to like, friend, buddy, connect and generally add to my Inbox.

That way, a massive piece of business, crazy to look at on paper MIGHT just become a workable reality with one phonecall. Freelancers often on PC/mobile tools to be effective, but do not, ever forget the value of ongoing contacts, and the occasional social call just in case you need their help.

  1. June 28, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    Excellent points, Bruce – and congratulations on the new project! I’ve noticed the same thing when it comes to meaningful social media contact from people within our professional community versus the surface variety outside of it.

    As an example, I’ll literally get direct messaged on Twitter by a colleague in our community asking if I’ve got availability for a project. I can look into it or offer an immediate referral to another colleague who might be available. Definitely far different from the social media world of “likes” and anonymous follows; though those can be breadcrumbs that lead me to people with similar professional interests, too.

    So nice post, Bruce – but don’t hate me if I DO give you a “like” for it. 🙂


    • June 29, 2014 at 3:49 pm

      Thanks for the post Jackie. “Likes” are always great, if they come with some explanation and some added value. I really do not “get” why some people think a successful social media strategy can be had simply from liking, re-posting or re-tweeting other people’s creations. I reckon it’s all about having some original thought.


  2. June 29, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    Well said, Bruce! I agree that it should always be about being yourself, and being a team player. And also about doing your homework. As an example of disingenuous (and downright lazy) networking: I had a young instructional designer badgering me for guidance after I did some freelance work for the company where she was employed. She was considering setting out on her own, because she doesn’t like working for other people. I advised her that the economic climate is particularly harsh for freelancers right now, but I was happy to help if I could. She sent me another email with very specific questions that made it clear she had done absolutely zero homework on her own, and figured I could just fill in all the blanks for her. Rather than do that, I provided a number of excellent links to some resources where she could explore what freelancing would really be like, pro and con, in some real depth. Her response? “Why won’t you answer my questions? Are you afraid of competition?” Wow. I hope she didn’t quit her day job. 😉


    • June 29, 2014 at 3:47 pm

      @Andrew – wow..I would love to know where she is now!


  3. June 30, 2014 at 8:01 am

    Great post!


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