Monday, September 22, 2008

Local networking options for freelance writers

Let's take a look at a few different options out there for freelance writers.

The first one I want to talk about is BNI.

As a concept, I love BNI. I was in a group briefly (back when I sold Arbonne). Learned a lot about promotion, about finding and asking for quality referrals. Made some friends and met some awesome people.


I'm giving it a "nope" for freelance writers.

The reason?

Well, there are a couple of reasons.

The first is the pricetag compared with the ROI. BNI runs about $350 a year for dues (if I remember correctly, and it may be more now). Plus, most chapters require you to pay for a weekly breakfast or lunch (whether you eat or not) and that's going to be a minimum of, say, $10 a week. The final pricetag runs around $1000 per year when all is said and done.

Now, considering you could pay $150 for a membership to Guru, or like $10 a month on Elance - how much business would you have to pull from a BNI group in order to meet your income goals and make the expense pay off?

The second reason is that it's a relatively small pond. Many of the members are business owners, but many are network marketing representatives, financial or insurance advisors, employees of large corporations, or franchise owners. Each of these categories have major "compliance" issues they must work within, which makes it hard for them to work with a freelance writer. Of those who can work with a freelancer, how many are likely to recognize a need for this service?

BNI seems to work best for people in sales positions for anything from annuities to Volkeswagons - but for freelance writers, my advice is to pass on it.

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