Did you kick off 2016 with a pair of dollar signs gleaming in your eyes? So did we!

We're committed to helping you make 2016 your most lucrative year in freelancing ever. That's why SPARK's first 2016 workshop taught freelancers how to create a client pipeline that pays... and why next month's SPARK is all about handling freelance taxes:

Freelance Tax Workshop
Wednesday, March 3
*RSVP *

On February 3, freelancers gathered for SPARK in 21 cities across the United States. If you're keeping count, you may have noticed that we added 3 new SPARK cities to the roster. Shout out to D.C., Miami, and Cleveland for hosting their premier SPARK events last month!

Here our a few snaps from the new kids on the block and the oldies, but goodies:

SPARK Miami gets down to business at City Desk Miami.

#FreelanceSPARK Freelancers discussing client pipelines. Thanks @citydeskmiami & @freelancersu #FreelanceIsntFree pic.twitter.com/T5EVjpWyv4

— Gianfranco Colombi (@giancolombi92) February 4, 2016

SPARK D.C. introduces a rad new acronym, CRM (Client Relationship Management), integral to creating a client pipeline that pays.

Never underestimate the need for a good CRM system #freelancespark pic.twitter.com/Yebfnd97Or

— diane williams (@dweiums) February 4, 2016

In Chicago, SPARK attendees came away with the following top tips:

  • Before you start know your metrics ~ what you want to make in terms of dollars to translate how many project or billing rate
  • Help your customers by advocating for them
  • Don't be afraid to ask for referrals

Meanwhile, Austin SPARKers got cozy in their new digs and even welcomed a freelancer all the way from Dallas:

We had our first meeting of the year at our brand new location. Even had a member come from DALLAS! #FreelanceSPARK pic.twitter.com/zscG5Eex0j

— Life Music w/ Angel (@LifeMusicATX) February 4, 2016

Memphis SPARK continually hits it out of the park - SPARK leader Caitlin Horton made a series of short videos in which members let us know why they SPARK:

Wanna SPARK with us over @studio688? Register for the FREE workshop on Creating A Client Pipeline That Pays Feb. 3rd over at clientpipeline.eventbrite.com! Food, drink, and networking opportunities provided! #freelancer #smallbusinessowner #freelancespark #sparkmemphis #choose901 #ilovememphis #memphis #901 #iheartmemphis #lovingmymemphis #theonlytennisee #studio688

A video posted by Caitlin L. Horton (@dizzycaitlin) on Jan 26, 2016 at 6:19am PST

We loved this pearl of wisdom from Phoenix SPARK:

The best networking opportunities involve going outside of the industry, i.e. being the only writer at a marketing conference rather than going to a writing contest.

Some tweetable stuff, right there! Sam Kerstetter from OrganikSEO dropped some networking knowledge at San Diego SPARK. Take these quick tips and run:

When you attend a networking event, dinner, group, etc., make a game out of it. Set a number goal for yourself for how many business cards you'll collect (Sam collects 5). On each card write 3 things:

  1. how you can help them
  2. how they can help you
  3. funny thing you talked about

After the networking event, follow up with each person, hitting each of those 3 items. It makes that follow up email much easier to write and networking much easier to do.

A final snap from our friends in LA contemplating new strategies to keep the income flowing at Impact Hub:

Talking how to establish the client pipeline w/@freelancersu @ImpactHubLA in #DTLA #freelancespark pic.twitter.com/Z7aNNjuhij

— Elle Toussi (@ElleToussi) February 4, 2016

And, last but not least, Alyssa says what we're all feeling after yet another awesome SPARK event:

Left tonight's event feeling revived and rejuvenated. I'm a #freelancer because it's a MUST! Don't ever give up! #FreelanceSPARK

— Alyssa Stahr (@AlyssaStahr) February 4, 2016

Thanks for coming out this February - and don't forget to join us in March for a Freelance Tax Workshop!

At Freelancers Union, Sharon creates opportunities for freelancers to meet, greet, and learn. Find her @sharonlikestone or at the nearest bakery.