In the creative industry, people are always moving from job to job and project to project. And that means, of course, that you meet a lot of different interesting people. But just because they’re gone doesn’t mean they should be forgotten; in fact, ex-coworkers can be incredibly valuable to building your copywriting business.
Whether you’re working on staff or as a freelancer (or both) the people you meet become not only former colleagues, but potential sources of new work. Here’s how to cultivate those relationships, even after you or a colleague leaves an organization.
1. Connect on LinkedIn
While you may feel awkward to catch up with old coworkers after you left an organization, it’s absolutely OK to grab lunch or coffee with them if you left on good terms. Add them to your online network. Since you’re a copywriter, though, take the time to switch out that “I’d like to connect with you on LinkedIn” message for a personal one. It should be lighthearted and quick, but from you—not from LinkedIn’s canned copy.
2. Stay in Touch
You may have heard me say in the past that the creative community in any location, even cities, is very small. And I really don’t care what city it is; it feels like everybody knows everybody. After all, creatives are always hopping around through different jobs and different clients, so they’re always working with new people. And that is very good news for you.
You want to be sure you stay in contact with old colleagues because it’s often these very people who will get you work. After all, they’ve worked with you before and they know you’re good, so they’re happy to recommend you and get the credit for a great hire.
But how do you stay in touch with your old colleagues? Don’t overthink this. “Staying in touch” could be shooting them an email every few months and suggesting meeting for coffee or drinks (if that’s the kind of relationship you had) or it could be a simple as just liking their status updates on LinkedIn. Everybody likes to be liked and seeing your name as one of the people who have liked their post/update just puts you front of mind.
The New Year is always a great time to reach out, too. You can send a simple “I hope next year is a great one for you, personally and professionally.” Or if you worked with them on a project in the past year, remind them how much you enjoyed it and note that you hope to collaborate again.
3. Give As Much As You Take
This is an important one. You want to give just as much, if not more, then you take. That means for any job opening or recommendation you ask for, pass along at least one job recommendation or opening to a colleague in your network.
After all, you want everyone to think of you as a valuable contact, too.
It doesn’t take much effort. Keep your eyes open for job postings that may be a good fit for your colleagues, whether they’re designers, project managers, developers, or another role. A simple, “I saw this and thought it may be interesting for you!” will suffice.
Or, if your client needs to fill a role, reach out to your colleagues to see if they’re interested. You can be a pretty big hero for your colleague and your client by recommending someone for an open position who ends up working out really well. Talented creatives are always just passing the good karma around.
Your turn! How do you stay connected with former co-workers? Let us know in the comments below!
Last Updated on September 1, 2021 by Nicki Krawczyk