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Co-working your way to a profitable contractor network

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Signature Works coworking spaces are more than just an affordable way to utilise office space, change-up your location or run client meetings. Our co-working spaces are a fantastic way to develop a really strong network of other freelance subcontractors you can work with for years to come.

By building a strong network of contacts, you increase your chances of being included in someone else’s project tender or being able to bid on a tender yourself given your available resources. Here are some helpful tips on how to best utilise the contacts you make at a Signature Works co-working space.

Build your Own Teams

As a freelance professional you generally specialise across a couple of key areas of expertise, or at least focus on one main area of expertise as part of your service offering. Because this can be limiting in terms of the number of projects you can realistically tender for, many freelancers are now choosing to build sizable teams of multi-skilled freelancers so they’re able to bid on larger, more profitable freelance jobs.
Although these teams are managed via a single point of contact, each team dynamic starts via a different point of contact at the time a tender goes to market, meaning that if you can build a strong network of contacts, you have every chance that you’re going to either be included in someone else’s project tender, or will be able to bid on a tender yourself given your increased available resources.
This process of working is one you can build upon starting at your local Signature Works co-working space. Because you’re likely to find numerous other freelance workers and tech entrepreneurs like yourself, you have a great chance to develop those interactions into potential future team members, with a succinct set of skills you can draw on for future projects.

Ensure you Present Well (in Person and Online)

Because you’re going to be developing your business network, you’re going to want to impress subcontractors so they’re going to want to work with you. This means you need to have a strong portfolio of work to show, a website which showcases your portfolio, business cards, and you need to present well and demonstrate that you can bring in the business and manage projects effectively.
When an opportunity arises where you meet someone with a strong and you feel they could be an asset to you or vice versa, then you need to be prepared. You need to ensure you show that you’re a talented freelancer with a well-structured and thriving freelance business that any freelancer would want to be a part of. By doing so, you’re network will be constantly thinking of ways they can include you and your skill-set into their projects, which means they’re basically working for you too.

Choose your network wisely

One of the beauties of working and spending time in our co-working spaces is getting to meet people face-to-face. Because so much freelance interaction is done online these days, this is a great way for you to determine not only if someone is a talented and reliable freelancer, but also whether they’re someone who you can work with on projects if required to do so.
In a co-working space, there’s no hiding behind your computer; you’re in an environment where those around you can and most likely will make an assessment of you and your expertise and there is no reason why you shouldn’t do the same. Visit your SW co-working space to work but also to network. By ensuring you take up the opportunity to make a proper assessment of those around you, you can really make some powerful connections.

Don’t be Afraid to Reject Work Requests

Just because you met someone in our co-working space and seemed to get along with him or her, does not mean they’re the right fit to involve in your freelance business, especially if they’re subcontracting you. Ask yourself whether they’re capable of managing a project effectively; meeting your payment terms, and delivering work that will complement yours.
There’s nothing worse than being tied to a project that has a number of weak links that bring your work down and causes you nothing but stress. Ensure you don’t just accept any offer for work from someone you meet, whether it’s in one of our co-working spaces or not. Make it clear that you consider all opportunities for work, but politely decline if you sense any potential issues.

Don’t limit your subcontracting network

You may be a really great web developer who already knows a bunch of really great graphic designers you can rely on to help you out on projects which require that skill-set, but don’t ever pass on an opportunity to network with another graphic designer even if you already have an abundance of contacts with the same skills in your professional network. Why? Because you never know when the favour will be returned and a given freelancer will request your expertise on a project. After all, you can’t have too many contacts when it comes to your career.
One of the best ways to ensure you do receive follow up work in this or any other instance is to email the contact the next day with a simple message mentioning how nice it was to meet them, and how you look forward to any opportunities to work together in the future if that’s what you discussed. Choose your words wisely in this instance so as to avoid sounding fake. However it’s amazing how taking just 5 minutes to send a quick email will stick in someone’s mind, prompting them to think of you when they need to utilise a skill-set just like yours.

Summary

Signature Works co-working spaces are great opportunity for you to meet, assess, and build working relationships with talented freelance contractors; however you need to be ready for the interaction. Ready yourself with a strong portfolio of work, business cards and present well in person so as to ensure you’re someone they will want to work with also. It’s not all about you and your needs, it’s a two way street. So make sure you put your best foot forward when working in our co-working spaces and you’ll be surprised how rapidly you can grow your professional network and improve your bottom line.

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