Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Local networking options for freelance writers - Part 2

The second group many freelance writers consider joining is the Chamber of Commerce.

I was a member in ours a while back (again when I was selling Arbonne), and found some nice benefits there. Met nice people, polished my public speaking skills a little, and even did some business.

In fact, even after I decided to dive into only writing instead of trying to do both businesses, I found writing work through the Chamber. A quick scan through my memory bank, and I'm counting:

- a salon
- an air conditioning company
- a plumber (still remember their tagline - it's adorable: We're number one in the "number two" business.)

Can't think of any others.

I'd choose Chamber over BNI, but am still not convinced it's the best use of your networking dollars or time.

Because Chambers tend to have a ton of members (with only a small percentage really active), it's crucial that you get really involved in order to build relationships there. That means time, something I guard like a pit bull.

And you'll run into some of the same compliance issues I mentioned in discussing BNI.

Also, a membership with the Chamber is usually not cheap - I think ours is around $400 a year now - and networking meals are extra. The BASH (once a month, Business and Social Hour... or something like that) is free, and often open to nonmembers. That might be a good way to get a taste of the Chamber before you buy.

In my opinion, Chamber works best for a bricks and mortar business. You get the plaque to mark your membership - where are you going to hang that?! Over your bed? : )

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