In a previous post here at WWD, I gave a list of four essential contacts for web workers. The list included a mentor, a newbie, the walking social network, and the non-techie. While those contacts will help you enrich your career, there are other contacts you’ll need if you want to have more opportunities, or if you need help in establishing the businesses side of your web working practice.
The lawyer. Contracts and legal documents are part of every web worker’s life. We often need to sign non-disclosure agreements, independent contractor documents, and telecommuting agreements. Having a lawyer as a contact can be handy, especially if you want to start a business, translate legalese, or draft your own contracts when templates just won’t do.
The financial expert. Whether it’s managing your own money, finding stable investments, or computing yoru home office as a tax deduction, you’ll need a go-to person for your financial questions. This could be a hired accountant, financial advisor, or simply a friend who is wise about money. Even if they might not be able to answer all your questions, they can certainly point you to the resources and experts you need.
The website network owner. This contact is probably more important to freelancers than telecommuting employees. Basically, this person owns or manages several websites and blogs. Having a contact like this can prove to be useful, whether you’re a designer, writer, SEO practitioner, or programmer. The most obvious reason is that there’s a good chance that this contact will give you extra opportunities for work, since she has several web projects that need maintenance and updates. Also, if she really likes your work, you might be tapped for any new projects that come along.
The colleague. Web working is like a rat race where you don’t get to meet the other rats. No matter how much you love solitude and independence, you’ll need to network with others who are doing the kind of work that you do. Why is this important? First of all, it’s always good to have someone who faces the same challenges as you do. You get to exchange ideas and help each other out when facing problems that are unique to teleworking. Also, it allows for opportunities to collaborate in the future.
For telecommuting employees, you can establish rapport with other telecommuters in your department. For freelancers, you could get in touch with the people you work with on a regular basis, or hang out in online communities where freelancers talk about the issues that matter to them.
The popular blogger. Blogs are fast becoming one of the most common resources that people turn to for current events and expert opinions. Their position gives bloggers some amount of authority when recommending a product or service. This makes it good to have blogger contacts from a marketing perspective, especially if you work with them and they blog about how happy they are with your work. I think that kind of recommendation beats a regular testimonial.
While having these five contacts is beneficial to your career, you shouldn’t depend on them for everything. After all, the quality of your work is still up to you. These contacts will just add to the work, opportunities, and know how that you already have.
Which of these contacts do you have? What value do they bring to your career?