Have you ever thought about working with a freelancer? Your view is likely to be influenced by the type of business you’re in. IT and software firms use independent contractors as a matter of course and often on long term projects. Creative industries will put together a freelance team to work on a short term project then everyone goes their separate ways.
You probably already know that email marketing is the most effective way of connecting with your customers. That said, you don’t want to be a spammer (trust me, you really don’t). So, how do you persuade people to sign up to receive your pearls of wisdom directly into their inbox?
Answer: offer some bait. That sounds awful, but it isn’t. An opt-in, or lead magnet, offers your potential customers something that they’ll find useful in exchange for their email address. There’s no obligation for them to buy, they can just get your freebie and walk away if they want to. Hopefully they won’t.
I had always lacked confidence because I was a generally unpopular, bookish child at school. Things improved in my teens and I had a much better time when I eventually went to university.
Last week, I wrote about conferences and how to survive them. If that sounds like something you need to know you can catch up here. For me, smaller and more personal events can be even more nerve-wracking. At least in a big exhibition hall you can be relatively anonymous if you want to. Walking into a room where everyone knows each other and might just stare at you is just terrifying.
The good news is, it can be done. You just have to do your research, put on your biggest pants and go.
Let’s face it, networking can be pretty daunting. I know people who’ve built successful businesses without ever going to a networking event. But mostly, if you want to establish a wide network of useful business contacts you’ve got to get out there at some point.
I was very newly self-employed when I went to my first expo. I decided that I had to be brave and go and network with (hopefully) like-minded people.
I found myself walking into a room that resembled an aircraft hangar. It was massive. I confess, I almost ran. Then I remembered that I had a pocket full of new and shiny business cards that weren’t going to help me unless I gave some out.
If I ever have any doubts about my choice of career, I sit down at my laptop and start writing. When I look up to find that a couple of hours have passed without me noticing, I know that I’ve had a flow experience.
Visit any writers’ forum and you’ll see a lot of posts about ‘finding your voice’. Some of the discussion is helpful and some of it deeply pretentious. But voice isn’t just about creating great literature. It can really help your business too.