5 Networking Tips for Freelance Proofreaders
As a freelance proofreader, having a network of contacts can provide you with work and support. But how do you build such a network? Our top networking tips include:
- Work out who you want to network with (e.g., clients or other freelancers).
- Draw on your existing contacts for introductions and recommendations.
- Use social media to help build relationships with new connections.
- Attend industry groups and events to network with others in person.
- Join a proofreading or editing society to connect with professionals.
Read on for more on each of these networking tips.
1. Choose Who You Want to Network With
First of all, there are two main reasons for networking:
- To find clients you’d like to work with and establish a relationship (with the ultimate goal of it leading to more work in the future).
- To connect with other freelance proofreaders and editors so you can share advice and collaborate within a professional community.
Or maybe you want to do both! Either way, the key point here is that who you want to connect with will influence how you approach networking. For instance, if you are an academic proofreader seeking to connect with scholars and students, you will likely need to look in different places than an editor who wants to work on romance novels.
So before you do anything else, think about your reasons for wanting to network, who you want to connect with, and then tailor your plan accordingly.
2. Use Your Contacts to Make New Connections
Reach out to your existing contacts and it will soon become clear that you’re not starting from scratch – you’ve already got a network behind you!
For example, you can draw on existing contacts by:
- Contacting past clients to ask if they know anyone else who requires proofreading or editing services and whether they’ll introduce you.
- Requesting an introduction from other freelancers you know who have previously worked for clients you’d like to work with.
- Asking family and friends to recommend you to potential clients if they know anybody who requires proofreading services, or if they have connections within a relevant industry (e.g., publishing or copy writing).
Whoever you want to connect with, then, think about whether you have any mutual connections or existing points of contact before you get in touch.
3. Use Social Media to Build Relationships
Whether you’re looking to find clients or co-workers, social media is a freelancer’s best friend when it comes to establishing networks.
First, it’s a good idea to set up separate work profiles on whichever platforms you use (if you haven’t already). This lets you ensure a professional presence online, which is especially important if you’re hoping to connect with clients.
Beyond this, the most important thing is to interact with people! This could be offering a little free advice to potential clients, showing them that you’re an expert in your field and giving you a simple point of connection. Or it could be sharing advice with other professionals, helping you to connect with colleagues.
It’s also a good idea to look for online communities specific to your needs. Many social media platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn have groups you can join, which will allow you to meet and connect with a range of people, from authors to publishing industry professionals. You can also set up a group yourself.
4. Attending Events and Networking in Person
While online networking can put you in touch with many people, meeting people in real life is often the best way to make a lasting first impression.
Networking in person went on hold for most during the Coronavirus pandemic, of course, but events such as conferences, retreats, and workshops are now being organized once again. As a proofreader, then, you should look out for:
- Industry events where you can meet potential clients (e.g., literature festivals for meeting authors and publishing professionals).
- Conferences and other events aimed at proofreaders and editors (for more on these, see the section on proofreading societies below).
- Local groups and workshops for writers.
- Coworking spaces shared with other freelancers.
More generally, though, anywhere where people meet and talk is a chance to network! You never know when someone will mention that they’re planning a book, that they have a new website, or something else that might need proofreading. The key is being friendly, open, and on the lookout for opportunities!
5. Join a Proofreading Society
Joining a proofreading or editing society, such as the Society for Editing (ACES), can provide you with a wealth of networking opportunities you wouldn’t receive elsewhere. These typically include access to:
- In-person industry networking events and society meetings.
- Members-only forums where you can connect with other freelancers online.
- Mentorship programs where you can learn from experienced professionals.
Most societies charge a fee for membership, but the benefits you receive in return – from networking opportunities to extra training – can be invaluable.
Becoming A Proofreader
We hope you found these networking tips useful. If you’d like to know more about working as a freelance proofreader, sign up for a free trial of our Becoming A Proofreader course.