What should I do first?
Marketing research? Write a business plan? Hire a designer to create the perfect logo? Mount a website?
None of the above! That’s for people who are developing a life-long business on their own timeline. You need to start with real assignments. Because as bank robber Willie Sutton said, that’s where the money is. In fact, I know successful solo professionals who are so busy with paying work that they don’t have time to post a website!
Here’s what I recommend instead:
First, start to identify skills you can market. (Think in terms of companies, not consumers. Companies are more likely to pay substantial sums for services they need.) You can adjust this decision at any time as you see which projects you most enjoy and talk with possible clients.
Second, start to identify people and companies you’d like to freelance or consult for. Some people scroll through their Outlook database or flip through their five-pound Rolodex. Others, who have been isolated in cubicle hell (like I was!), don’t have a ready-made network. Brainstorming the job titles of people who would benefit from your services is a better starting point than lists of acquaintances who are unlikely to want what you offer.
Third, start communicating with the people most likely to offer assignments. I call it “telephoning.”
“Wait! Did I read that right?” you gulp. Make a phone call? You may have even translated the concept into the dreaded double-C word: Cold calling, the cancer of marketing. It can dissolve mighty adults into cowering children.
But let’s think about this for a moment. Remember the first time you jumped into the deep end of the swimming pool? You gathered up your courage, held your breath and stepped off the edge. Your feet touched the bottom of the pool and miraculously, you resurfaced. You felt relieved and even proud as you climbed out of the pool. Telephoning is similar—but much safer!
Mastering the telephone can transform your life. It’s a skill that once mastered, will serve you well forever. With your first completed call, your heart will fill with satisfaction, and confidence in your developing phone skills will transform both your solo business and your ongoing job hunt. If you only phone people you sincerely believe can benefit from your services, you will soon feel really good about phoning. And just like diving into 10 feet of water, it’s a fear that once conquered stays conquered for life.
Need more help? Use the form at the right to request my free special report. It reveals 3 Secrets to Land High-Paying Freelance & Consulting Clients Fast.
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Still not sure? What are your alternatives?
© 2008-2009 Diana Schneidman