Friday, September 24, 2010
One obstacle I've been experiencing lately is lack of ENOUGH work. It's getting harder and harder to find regular work in my industry. Magazines are dying out. Publications that do still exist are buying less from freelancers. And it just takes more and more work to prospect for whatever opportunities are out there. At times, I feel very frustrated about the whole idea. BUT, prospecting is still a large part of my job, and as they say in show business, "the show must go on." I still have to prospect. If I intend to stay in business -- and I do -- I still have to do what it takes to find the work, no matter where it is. I just have to dig deeper and learn something new, if that's what it takes.
So to overcome this obstacle, I'm participating in International Freelancers' Day.
I'm watching the introductory videos this morning. But I've already learned so much and am including a few tips for you in today's post. Even if you're not a writer or a speaker, but are somehow self-employed, you'll get a few take-aways from the lessons I'm learning. Here are a few:
1) USE LINKEDIN TO SEARCH FOR PROSPECTS
If you're not using LinkedIn's service to prospect for clients, you should be. It's free, and you can use the Company search (Advanced) function to find just about anyone you might like to contact, especially if you know the job title and company. Just make sure you search for "current" contacts.
If you don't have a large network on LinkedIn, specific names may not show up. But you can still find the contact names once your search is complete, and you have a title for that company. Just copy/save the title and company names that show up in your search and post them on Google. Your Google search will then likely lead you to the correct person to contact by phone or e-mail.
2) FOLLOW UP WITH YOUR PROSPECTS
One way to be sure you're getting as much as possible out of your job search or client prospecting is to follow up. If this is an area you struggle with, it's a good bet you're not tracking your efforts well enough. It's a good idea to either invest in or create your own tracking program. Copywriter Ed Gandia says a tracking program, or some formal way to track your contacts, will help you stay on top of your pitches, quotes and introductions. And you'll likely land more jobs, clients or assignments.
3) CREATE A "FREE" REPORT TO ATTRACT MORE CLIENTS
If you're selling a specific skill, talent or service, creating a FREE report that you can offer via your Web site could be an effective way to attract more clients. Steve Slaunwhite, one of the conference co-founders, says in one of the introductory videos that the time -- and sometimes money -- it takes to create a 10-page example of your expertise can be well worth the investment. He suggests these tips to ensure it's effective:
A) Pick the right topic, one that is both related to what you do and that would be of high interest to your target market.
B) Write it well. Your free report must include exceptional writing, especially if that's what you're selling, and solid content that is well-researched. If you can afford to hire an editor, do that as well.
C) Make it look good. Slaunwhite says you want to offer something that is well-designed, including an attractive cover and a clean layout. This is going to present an image of you, and you want that image to look good. He suggests it might be wise to hire a designer for this part of the job. One suggestion from me: Find someone who will trade services with you if you cannot afford the cost.
D) Be sure to pitch your services on the last page. This is where you include your bio, your relative background, and also how your readers can connect with you. In order for them to get the free report, they would have given your their contact information. Now it's their turn to get yours. This doesn't have to be a hard sell. Just let them know if they need your services, you're available, and here's how they can reach you. Include your name, phone number, e-mail address and Web site address. If you're just starting out or starting over, offering a free report can be a great way to help launch your business.
If these tips are helpful, I encourage you to sign up for the conference. Just click on the link above.