Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Value Networking for Freelancers

There will be a growing population of freelancers (I also observed in Shanghai), for the following reasons:

1) Big companies have to reduce their work force due to economic down turn and they want to keep the fixed cost minimal.

2) Special knowledge is recognized more and more as selling items.

3) People are getting more mature and capable to run their own business.

4) Internet makes it easier to set up a small business without large investment.

Especially for freelancers, the concept of value networking is extremely useful. As a freelancer you interact with group of people or enterprises to create, add, multiple and distribute values. In most cases, the process is not linear and it is not a zero sum game. Example: if you give some one an advice which creates money for his business, you do not really lose anything, in contrast, you gain more experience in providing advice.

Sometimes you do not get compensated by sharing values to others, but in the long run, it will pay off. If you do someone a favor, he will usually remember and be willing to help you, when you are in need.

Since your limited resource as freelancer is time, how can you create maximal values for others? Answer: position yourself as an expert in a narrow area and network with maximal number of people who can use this value. Unfortunately, when you ask some freelancers what are you really experts for, they do not really know. They do a little bit of everything without depth and hope to get enough contracts.

Conclusions: success of a freelancer depends on the depth and breath. Depth in expert knowledge; Breath in the quality networking with people who need and will pay for that knowledge.


  1. very true. sometimes we just meet someone (lunch, diner, coffee, conversation, etc...) because we are happy when we are with this person. Nevertheless, even if there is no exchange nor recognition of value, actually, there is value and this value is called happiness, pleasure, intimacy, etc...

  2. This is a really good article I'm looking for.

    Thanks for sharing the experience!

  3. One hardly can agree with the "...They do a little bit of everything without depth...". IMHO, those guys are usually much more qualified than those who have contracts...