A common trait among most successful people within almost any industry is that they spend some time developing relationships with their competitors and others within the industry. It’s obviously not the only thing they have in common and isn’t the number one focus, but it should be a high priority.
This is no different for independent contractors. Networking with other contractors in your field, even those who you’re directly competing with for work, can bring significant value.
- Very often the biggest challenges contractors face come from outside, whether it is evolving technologies, changing client landscapes, unethical agencies, or just the effects of regulatory change. There are plenty of common issues to talk about.
- Without ever talking about your secrets to winning business, it is interesting to talk about the general challenges of being an independent contractor, with people who have similar issues.
- There is a need for independent contractors to talk about “Best Practices” in order to preserve/grow or influence the external perception of contractors. This can only be achieved by leaders adopting a common approach.
- There is a good chance you’ll have to work with another contractor and possibly need to negotiate a partnership. It is much easier to be able to pick up the phone and have a frank discussion with someone you already have an existing relationship.
- Being a Subject Matter Expert in a field comes with a lot of benefits but takes a level of trust and respect that can only be achieved by getting to know others, and allowing them to get to know you.
- When the time comes to partnering on a contract, it is much better to know people who are those trustworthy, ethical and capable professionals that you would choose to work with!
The number one rule is that the relationship needs to be an ethical one, one that preserves the integrity of each other’s business while working towards a better industry. It is not really that hard, certainly nothing to shy away from, and will almost definitely open up more opportunities.
Are you networking enough in your industry? Could you use more networking opportunities or advice? Let us know in the comments below, we’d love to help!