Networking on steriods: gatekeepers and influencers

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My weekly column on freelancing and marketing is up now over at FreelanceSwitch.com. This week’s topic is networking and it’s all about how how to best allocate your relationship-building energy to cultivate optimum returns.

Here’s the opening paragraph:

Everywhere you go, people tell you the secret to packing your client list is networking. Schmooze like there’s no tomorrow, befriend everyone, hand out your cards, trade e-mails, IMs, IDs and CVs. Go to conferences, buy everyone within a 100-foot radius a beer (or non-alcoholic organic vegan hemp-nut smoothie).

For sure, the fastest way to grow your business is cultivating relationships. Problem is…there’s only one of you and infinite opportunities for you to spend time, energy and money connecting with a whole lot of people, only a few of whom will ever really throw any significant business your way. Which leaves us which a question. How do you choose who to be-friend?

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