Becoming a successful Freelance consultant requires any number of competencies, in addition to a dose of good fortune. First, one must be able to position oneself as an expert in one’s field. Second, one must know how to sell that expertise to potential clients. To create the conditions for success, it is necessary to maintain expertise in order to maintain credibility; meet and build relationships with those who will hire or refer you; promote oneself and the business by being visible in the business community in which one operates; manage business finances; and stay optimistic, focused and disciplined.
It’s a tall order. Since we’re at the start of a new year, I respectfully offer you a few suggestions that you may want to adopt as resolutions that will get you rolling in 2013.
1. Make money
Sounds like a no-brainer, no? Still, you must get into the no-excuses mindset and lead your business to profitability. Review your business model. Re-evaluate your pricing. Nurture your referral network. Keep an eye on expenses. Figure out which self-promotion activities are most effective in making you visible in the circles that connect you with potential clients and noteworthy peers. Develop business practices that will encourage clients to give you repeat business and make referrals for you.
2. Invest in professional development
Education keeps you at your professional peak and introduces you to new and better solutions that you can offer to your clients. Seek out online courses, check out the business best-seller lists and select titles that address your business challenges and /or attend a seminar or two.
3. Connect with influential peers
Get to know other Freelance consultants or other small business owners, including those who offer products and services that complement your own. Think about creating an informal advisory board and support network that gives you inspiration and encouragement when you need it (and remember to give as good as you get). You may find a new referral partner. You might find partners with whom you can develop mutually beneficial programs for clients or peers, like a webinar.
4. Re-evaluate how you promote your business
Social media is here to stay, so confirm that you’re using what reaches your target audience. LinkedIn is where you start. If your clients follow Facebook, Twitter, Google +, YouTube, etc., then establish your presence and keep the content fresh and relevant. Budget the time for face-to-face activities such as volunteer boards, participation in charity events, speaking at conferences, mentoring programs and teaching courses.
5. Value your personal life
Work not only hard, but also smart. Establish boundaries and unless you’re on deadline, give yourself time off. Take vacations as budget allows. Stay in contact with friends. Go to the gym. Learn how to speak a foreign language or how to arrange flowers, if that’s something you want to do. Live your life to the fullest.
Happy New Year and thanks for reading,