Oct 3, 2006

Carrying your network with you

When I was planning to go independent, it was imperative for me to not lose any contacts which I had built over the last 7 years of working in HR.

Thankfully managing address books are not so difficult if you do some basic things.

If MS Outlook is your primary email client then exporting your address book as a CSV file is easy. You can then mail it to a Gmail or other web-based email account to download later. However, since Outlook has AJAX based prompter, you should regularly keep right clicking on contacts name and saving them in your contacts list.

Tools like linkedin Contacts Manager are also great to manage your contacts. However, if you are in an organization there might be security restrictions from downloading the executable file. Similarly Plaxo might also be considered a security risk ( I haven't used Plaxo for a long time, so I don't know if they have made any changes).

However, even without the Contact Manager, you can download your connections' details as a CSV file from Linkedin directly.

I'm also a big fan of Gmail for this reason. Any email you send, the addressee's email gets automatically stored in your contact list which you can also export to a CSV file.

It also enables you to have free POP access to multiple Gmail accounts. So that means downloading your mails into Outlook or other email programs, from multiple Gmail accounts, working offline, specially great when one is travelling, and then connecting back to the net and sending them. Helps if you have a dailup connection or get billed by time from your ISP.

Anything else you would want to know about working freelance?