Freelancers and independent contractors are a one-person business. While they may or may not feel like it, they should at least portray themselves as a one-person business rather than someone who skips from job to job like a cowboy drifting from town to town. Seeing themselves as a one-person business will most likely make their clients take them that much more seriously. Just like any other business, freelancers and independent contractors have to advertise and market themselves in order to keep money in the bank and food on the table. While it may seem too expensive for a freelance graphic designer or writer to attend a trade show, doing so could be beneficial in a variety of ways.
It’s All About Connecting
We’ve gotten so used to working, communicating and connecting online that we’ve nearly forgotten the importance of meeting face-to-face. By attending a trade show, freelancers are able to connect with potential clients, showcase their work and immediately answer any questions that someone may have rather than them having to wait for an email response. Having an online portfolio is all well and good, but there’s something about being able to personally hand someone your material that’s so much more satisfying and effective than having them click through a few pages online. Graphic artists may want to think about setting up a small panel display or a banner stand to show off their work. Freelance writers may want to consider a small kiosk with business cards to hand out and a tablet computer or laptop to show off their work. While having a display costs money, it’s much more effective than simply sitting at a plain table.
Improve Your Reputation
Attending trade shows is a sign that freelancers are dedicated and serious about their work. Rather than sitting back and allowing their clients to come to them, they’re showing initiative and professionalism by making an effort to seek out more business and connect with people. They can also be seen as something of an authority when people hear them speak and see them at high profile trade shows. It’s a good idea for freelancers to use their website as a way to spread the word about upcoming trade show appearances. Aside from boosting a reputation, trade shows can also boost confidence. Hearing people offering compliments and being blown away by a person’s work is a great way to improve the ego. Even criticism can be helpful as long as it’s delivered in a constructive manner
Trade Show School
There’s a lot to learn at trade schools. Freelancers should take note of other businesses in their industry to see what type of modular or tension fabric displays they have. This could help them get a better idea of what’s current in their industry and better focus their marketing and advertising efforts. Rather than seeing other businesses as competition, it’s better to see them as educators. Trade shows are a great way to network and make new friends as well. A future business partner could potentially be attending the same trade show.
Freelancers may be free to work for whomever they want, but they aren’t free from the responsibility of having their own business or of creating their personal brand. Trade shows may cost money, but they could earn more than enough new business to make up for it.