I’m sure you guys have heard that faith without works is dead, well business without networking is dead. This saying is true. Yes, it probably took faith for you to step out and start running your own business, Leaving the comfort of knowing that there’s always a paycheck coming when working a steady 9 to 5 job. You are now your own boss, you are responsible for paying your own salary. You no longer have benefits so you have to provide your own. What a headache! In order to do this, you have to have a strong client base and a steady income. Steady incomes don’t come on their own; you will spend the bulk of your time networking with like minded businesses, so that you can share resources, and also build with them to catch their overflow, this is called contracting.
What Makes Contracting So Important?
Contracting is important because it helps you as business owners supplement the income that you are not making on your own. Networking will not happen if you hesitate; it takes time to build a steady client base. This is why networking is necessary, because there are businesses that have been doing this longer than you have and they have a steady clientele, but fortunately for you need to contract out the work because their workload is too heavy. Great! So how do you get involved with a company so they can know that you are who you say you are. Well the first thing is it starts with relationships. Contact others that are doing what you are doing, and simply ask them if they need help, they can give you one of two answers, no, not at the present moment, or absolutely we do need help. You’ll be surprised at what responses you will get. Once you accept a contracting job, don’t short change yourself. It would be smart to have some verbal agreement or written contract in place. Let me remind you, you are not going to make the type of money you would if you were doing the job on your own, so have in mind how much money that you would like to make per job, and I’m sure you and the company you’re doing work for will come to an agreement. Contracting is a different kind of income, because you are not necessarily employed by the company, but you are not exactly working for yourself either. So understand that there is a fine line between the work that you do for them and the work that you do for yourself. Any work that you do for a company automatically becomes their property, so when you get paid for a job, it’s most likely going to be a 40-60 split, if you have a good relationship with the company, then they might do 50-50, but don’t sell yourself short. Know what the company is making per job, so that you will be compensated fairly.
Another networking tool is social media, follow the businesses that do the same things you do on facebook, twitter, Linked In, and any other avenue you can think of. After you follow them, engage with them on a regular basis, and control the relationship. Think of this relationship as a water faucet, if you turn it on slightly it’s going to take a long time to fill your cup, and if you put the faucet on full-blast then the cup is going to overflow, you don’t want to be so overwhelmed that you can’t produce what you promised you could do. Turn the faucet on medium strength so that you build a steady relationship, and a steady relationship with a steady business will produce steady work and a steady income. If it sounds simple, it is! Don’t be afraid to get your feet wet, you will reap what you sow, if you sow into relationships with others, you will reap the reward of them wanting to make money with you, rather than through you.
Also, it would be a good decision to get involved with small business groups. There are groups like the Chamber of Commerce and BNI, which require that some dues are paid, but these are not the only ones. There are plenty of people that form small business groups that meet once a week or once a month, just to learn from each other. Most of them will have an agenda, like a theme for the meeting, or maybe going through some business strategy book as a group and discussing the benefits of it, but overall, you are making yourself available to others who can help bring in referrals for you, because you have now expanded your resources by putting more people in your corner, and it costs you nothing but invested time.
Ultimately, this is not going to happen overnight, in order to make friends you have to make yourself friendly. I would not contract work out to someone that I didn’t feel was trustworthy, and I wouldn’t accept a contracted job if I didn’t feel the company that I was working with was not trustworthy. Allow grace sometimes when you’re working with people you trust, sometimes money is tight, and if it gets to the point where there having a hard time paying you, then use your better judgment, and forfeit working on new things until your balance is paid up. Overall, contracting relationships are great networking relationships, and even if the company that you’re contracting with doesn’t have work at the moment, they can lead you to other companies that they are networking with, creating a full networking circle. It’s a beautiful thing when small businesses decide to work together, to grow each other’s income. Keep this in mind when you’re in a position to hire or contract work out. One of the greatest benefits of contracting for companies is that they don’t have to pay a direct salary only share a portion of the income of each job that is being worked on. I pray that this is useful information for you small businesses out there.