10 Kind Things You Can Do Today to Help Another Freelancer

One of the characteristics of freelancing is that freelancers don’t see their peers every day. In a traditional work environment, you may find yourself housed in a building that not only includes your peers, but other workers as well.

While working alone can have its advantages (no noise, fewer interruptions), there are some disadvantages too. For example, if you need advice from a colleague there’s no one right there to help out. If you’re feeling a little down, a nearby coworker isn’t there to cheer you up.

Well, just because freelancers work alone doesn’t mean that we have to totally do without the kind of help that coworkers traditionally give each other. As freelancers we’re not really alone. There are a lot of us out there (and our numbers are growing every day). Through social media and other online connections, we can help each other out.

In this post, I list ten kind things you can do today to help another freelancer out.


10 Ways to Help Another Freelancer

Helping another freelancer is a great way to build a relationship. Not only that, it can cheer both of you up. Here are ten suggestions for helping other freelancers:

  1. Comment on their blog. Most freelancers maintain a blog. A blog can allow you to highlight your expertise and may attract clients. However, many freelancing blogs receive few comments. This can be discouraging to the freelancer. If you read and enjoy a fellow freelancer’s blog, why not take few minutes to leave them a comment?
  2. Give their blog social media love. There are many ways to share social media love. You can stumble a post, give it a plus one in Google+, like it on Facebook, Tweet it, and so on. For added impact, you can even share a post on more than one social media platform.
  3. Answer a question for them. I often see freelancers pose questions on issues they are struggling with in forums or on Twitter (or other social media). If you know how to answer a freelancer’s question, why not take a few minutes to share that answer?
  4. Help them connect. Doing business is all about connecting. You probably have connections that are unique to you. If you see a fit between several of your contacts (for example, you know that they could help each other or that they would get along well), why not introduce them?
  5. Give them a testimonial. Testimonials are like gold in the freelancing world. Getting a good testimonial is a great way to make any freelancer’s day. If you’ve been pleased with a freelancer, why not take a few minutes and create a testimonial for them.
  6. Build their influence. Tools like Klout allow you to increase the influence score of another freelancer. It’s a simple way to encourage someone, but it can be effective. Plus, if they get a high enough score on Klout they may even qualify for a perk or two.
  7. Share a resource. Have you read a good article lately? Or, maybe you just finished a really interesting book. You can help other freelancers by sharing these resources and explaining in a few sentences why you liked them.
  8. Have a conversation. Sometimes the best way to help another freelancer is to listen. If you sense that a fellow freelancer might be lonely or could use a sympathetic ear, why not contact them? You can use a social media tool to chat, or if you have their phone number nothing beats hearing a friendly voice.
  9. Lend a hand. Is your freelancing friend overwhelmed? Are they looking for someone to pinch hit for them? Maybe they’ve been trying to find a reliable person to offload some projects to, or maybe they need someone to offer up a guest post to keep their freelancing blog going while they are busy.
  10. Refer a client to them. Of course, the ultimate way to help another freelancer is to refer a client to them. So, the next time you turn a potential client down don’t just tell them you won’t be able to do the job. Point them to someone who can.

Now that we’ve listed ten ways for you to help other freelancers, let me provide an illustration.

My Story

I had been planning this post for some time and had it on my calendar as something to do. Ironically, when I checked my email this morning there was a kind note from another freelancer who wanted to provide a testimonial about my coaching services. The email may have been a coincidence, but I can tell you that I definitely found it encouraging and it was definitely helpful.

What Do You Think?

Do you take the time to help other freelancers? Why, or why not? If you do help them, how do you do it?

Image by Marcus Vegas

Comments

  1. says

    Another great post, Laura. I am a believer when you help others, you are helped in return. Spreading the love has helped me with my business and, I think, given me more credibility as a freelancer.

  2. says

    I love this kind of post, Laura. It is the really simple things that count. It doesn’t take much time. It won’t cost us anything, but it is so appreciated.

    I find the freelance community to be one that is very generous, but a post like this is a helpful reminder to come up for air and share a piece of ourselves.

    Thanks, Laura.

  3. Paula says

    Not all freelancers are competitors; often times they offer complementary services. Being kind, or human to them can pay off later in a great and reliable resource to call upon.

  4. says

    Did you know that the word “compete” is derived from “competere” (Late Latin) which means: to strive together, and from Latin: to meet, come together, and agree (from com- together + petere to seek)?

    It’s telling that the modern meaning of the word has shifted from cooperation to rivalry.

    Lauren’s 10 suggestions are an excellent start to get us back to the original meaning of competition.

    Some of my most lucrative and long-term voice-over clients have found me after a colleague recommended my services as a narrator.

  5. says

    I love to comment on other blogs. I created my blog to help designers of all levels by giving them tips on business, design tips, and more. I am actually working on a membership right now, where you will be able to get all sorts of design goodies for a monthly fee. If anyone has any tips/suggestions for my site, I will be glad to hear them.

  6. says

    Absolutely fabulous post!

    I’m often amazed at how many of my writer colleagues can’t be bothered to post comments on the blogs of their fellow writers. It’s important! We’re all building our platforms and visibility. Particularly important to those of us who are seeking publishing contracts. If we help one another it makes a huge difference.

    Cheers,
    Doreen Pendgracs

  7. says

    Wow! I’m thrilled to come back to this many comments already. :)

    Elizabeth and Cathy–I’m big believer in sharing. And while you shouldn’t necessarily help based on how you might benefit, in my experience helping others has always paid off (sometimes in ways that I’ve never imagined).

    inspirationfeed, Truthfully, I’m not afraid to help the competition. First of all, I think that freelancing ability does rise to the top–so good freelancers will always be needed. Plus, you never know when your “competition” might become your client. That has happened to me more than once.

    Paul and Paula–Great points about competition! :)

    James and Doreen, I definitely need to spend more time commenting. I think that those of us who blog really do benefit from the discussion a blog post can generate (and it is encouraging to receive comments).

  8. says

    It’s easy to get tunnel vision when we’re up to our necks in client projects, and that becomes an excuse for not doing everything you’ve mentioned. But it’s counter-productive to not take a few minutes every day to read and comment on our colleagues’ posts, or to skim through a few feeds on Google Reader (maybe learn something new) and share something with our followers. Thanks for the insight from the perspective of another freelancer!

  9. says

    Great post! One of the places I write, as a way to get the word out about me locally, is for Examiner.com as the Bangor Single Moms Examiner and a Bangor Easy Meals Examiner. It helps me to connect with people nearby. Some of the ways that I help other freelancers in the same location/topic as me is:
    1. By subscribing to the page or following them on Twitter.
    2. By commenting on their articles that I find helpful or interesting. This shows up on my Facebook, and on theirs if they have one.
    3. By sharing the article on Twitter, FB, Digg, MySpace, Y!, Google+, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon… where I am that may help to spread the word about them.
    4. I have been known to write a feature article on another Examiner, if they match my channel topic. Sharing the article with my networks when it is finished.

  10. azhar says

    Hi all..I am a designer and I want to become freelancer Can you help me in the beginning of the draft and give me suggestions on my way to start this project .. and Thanks for the help
    You can contact me through this email

    albakriaz@hotmail.com

  11. says

    I agree that it is important to help others. So many are so caught up in their own work (this isn’t necessarily a bad thing) that they can’t find the time to pay it forward (this is where the problem comes in). Many don’t realize that helping someone else (competitor or not) will open up the doors to your own success.

    No two people are alike. We all have our own unique strengths and weaknesses. Thus, every client’s project isn’t a match for every person. Thus, if you have been kind to others, they most likely will put you in their referral network and if a well-fitting project comes their way, they will have no problem referring it to you and vice versa. It’s all about building the network!

  12. says

    Today, I have done some of the things on this list (I’m commenting!), and I have had some of these things done for my benefit by other bloggers/freelancers. Good reminder to make an effort EVERY day. Happy Friday.

  13. says

    Great comments here! :)

    Shari Voigt–I think it’s healthy to reach out to others too. :)

    Kei, It’s all in the mindset…

    Hi Shannon L. Buck! Thanks for stopping by. You’ve got some great additional suggestions about how we can reach out to each other. Thanks.

    azhar, We actually sell a Getting Started Guide for Designers (look at the last tab above). Also, a lot of the posts deal with how to start a freelance business. Try typing “Getting Started” into the search box. Good luck!

    Elise Connors–You’re so right. When we help each other we are building relationships and networking. It’s a great way to build trust.

    Ruth Zive, I think you’re right. We have to be intentional about it (at least until we’ve developed the habit). Thanks for commenting.

  14. says

    Great post Laura! I remember my fellow freelancer, she helped me when I’m just starting in freelance writing. She even referred her client to me. She’s so nice even though we haven’t meet in person yet, with her help I’m very inspired to help other newbies in freelancing as well. :)

  15. says

    Freelancing is not about being great in any one area and just doing everything solo. Networking and connecting with clients/other freelancers is a great way to build your brand and obtain more work, it’s a vital part of the process. It’s always great to have colleagues that can mentor you or review your work (and offer feedback). While nothing beats a close, personal friend; even online fellow freelancers can each other big time in this area. Resource and knowledge sharing are important to growth, as is working on your own “solo” goals. :)

  16. says

    Nice post but in my experience most freelancers are either too busy or too selfish to help one another; I for one always leave feedback on LinkedIn for people I’ve worked with, comment on their blog etc but never receive anything back.

    As for ‘competitors’, any freelancer needs a specialtiy, be it a certain style of design or whatever so there are actually very few ‘competitors’.

  17. says

    Laura, great post! The temptation is to simply retweet a post without stopping to comment first, but I agree that blog comments are so important. And like you, I look on “competitors” as fellow freelancers who may provide complementary services; we’re all in this together!

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