On Monday, Universal Hub
posted a link to this blog
and a description of what it's all about. Overnight traffic to this site soared, and the number of distinct hosts (roughly the number of people who have, at one time or another, looked at this site) tripled. Considering that Universal Hub is a Boston-oriented site, it's pretty safe to assume that most of those hits came from the Boston area. From a business perspective that means that every single one of those hits could potentially lead to some work. In truth, it's likely that only a very small fraction would do that, but the point is that some very minimal effort from me (listing my blog at Boston Online
, a pretty cool site that lets you, among other things, find Boston blogs by T stop) led to my name and my story being spread to a much larger audience. If just one or two of those people actually stick around and keep reading it's instantly worthwhile, and hopefully more than that will find this of interest and send the link around to their friends. This is the value of networking.
But it's not all about establishing new relationships. It's also about maintaining old ones. Earlier today an established relationship (a former employer) pulled through, and I'm well on my way to signing a contract with my first client as a freelancer. Nothing has been agreed upon or signed yet so I won't mention any specifics, but negotiations are under way and I'm confident that we'll have a contract within a week. Had I done a poor job of maintaining this relationship, or, as so many people do, burned my bridges as I crossed them, this business would be out of reach. And since it's an established relationship, and they already know me and the kind of work I do, I can count on them as a reference for future potential clients, and possibly even for leads to find new clients.
For any business, but especially for a fledgeling, one-man shop such as mine, it's essential to maintain good relationships. They'll lead to work, references, leads, and help establish a good reputation. Without a good network of relationships your business will fail. One of the nice things about doing business for myself is that relationship management is very easy; I don't have to worry about some dissatisfied employee badmouthing the company, I just have to worry about how I present myself.