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I love when Jenn Mattern shows up on this blog. Jenn’s one of those freelancers who develops and grows smart careers. She has innovative ideas that work, and she’s not afraid to share them (well, until someone swipes them, but that’s another matter). She’s a super professional and a great friend with whom I’ve shared tea and laughs galore.
importance of a personal professional network — those few folks you can open
up to, ask for blunt feedback from, share ideas with knowing they won’t swipe
More Personal Professional Network
rather broad — colleagues, editors, clients, prospects you hope will become
clients in the future. And when you have conversations with people in this
network, it’s usually best to keep things professional.
You don’t have a close-knit group of employees who see each other every day and
talk about things both inside and outside of their work lives. Because of this,
I find it’s a good idea to have a more personal professional network.
don’t mean you should have more personal and casual relationships with your
overall professional network. Instead, these people are a subgroup — a network
within a network. These are the people you might exchange private emails or
phone calls with on a regular basis. They’re the people you might meet up with
for lunch from time to time. They’re the people you might consider friends even
more than colleagues.
keep in touch with regularly. Those closer, but still professional,
relationships have a variety of benefits. For example:
can share frustrations and rant privately to people who understand where
you’re coming from (rather than publicly ranting about something on your
blog or in a forum which might just result in added drama). If nothing
else, talking things out with them first can help you cool off a bit before you rant publicly.
are the people who routinely remind you that you’re not alone, no matter how isolated you feel. You can
share successes and failures, and you actively encourage each other.
can share ideas and projects that are still in the works — things you
might not be ready to share publicly yet. The folks in this more personal
network can be a great sounding board to bounce ideas off of.
are the folks you’re probably most likely to partner with. By getting to
know each other personally as well as professionally, you’ll get a better
idea of who you could work well with before jumping into a partnership
that just wasn’t meant to be.
face it. Most of us gossip at some point or another, and it’s a staple
recreational activity in many offices. Having a more personal professional
network means you can do that while remaining tactful — such as spreading
the word about a new project someone’s up to or sharing a warning if you
run across a problem in the industry that you aren’t ready to out
about letting yourself unwind a bit. You don’t always have to be in “work
mode.” You can just relax and be yourself. You can share the good and the
bad with someone who understands (because we can’t always count on other
friends and family members to get where we’re coming from in this business).
And you always have someone there to kick your ass back into gear if you need
professional network within my larger networking efforts. What about you? Do
you have a group of colleagues or others who you trust and keep in close
contact with? How does it impact your work as a freelancer? Leave a comment and
tell us what you get out of this kind of tighter-knit network.
blogger, business writer, and e-book author. She owns 3 Beat Media, a Web
development and publishing company which operates websites and blogs for freelance writers, independent
publishers, small business owners, and more.