If you’re an independent contractor in the UK – whether seasoned or new to the game – you might find the thought of self promotion or marketing a little daunting. It needn’t be! Here are 5 fairly simple ways to promote yourself and your business. Each requires a fair amount of input on your part, but the payoff in each instance far outweighs the work. You may even have mastered a few of these steps already.
Have a killer CV
Have a team on your side (even if you’re a lone ranger)
Brand your life
Become famous online
Walk the talk
Does your CV look like every other CV on the planet, or does it look and feel more like the brochure of a successful business? Even if you are for instance an IT contractor and go simply by your own name, your CV represents you and should stand out and do a great job of promoting you and all the wonderful things you have to offer a prospective client! Imagine if all company brochures were in black and white, the same size, the same font? First make sure the text is the best it can be. Don’t be afraid to use a professional CV Assist company like 1st Contact CV Assist. Ideas: have a graphic designer do your CV as a full colour pdf; print your CV on recycled paper, a matchbook or something related to your industry… Do whatever it takes to stand out and be remembered!
Even if you’re an independent contractor working alone, there are many people who – if you get the relationship right – can help you tremendously along the way and make your life much easier. For instance: sign up to the right agencies and have the top people looking for positions for you; choose an Umbrella Company with personal service and a proven track record; find an accountancy firm you actually enjoy dealing with; follow the best bloggers and tweeters in your industry; network with industry leaders and get them on your side. Send each and every client a personally signed birthday card. Treat people well and they will look out for you too. And that attitude will lead to many other benefits – discounts, collaborations, introductions… Most importantly when seeking out your team of supporters, remember to only align yourself with people who share your values.
The time for being shy is over! If you want to make a huge success of your contracting life, you need to step into the light and “own it”. You need to be a BRAND, not just a person! Get yourself a professional logo; advertise your accomplishments; send out weekly or monthly newsletters; get vinyl stickers for your car and unashamedly promote your services (make sure your contact details are highly visible); brand your blog or website with your logo; put your logo or your face on mugs and give them to your clients as corporate gifts! Start a fanpage on Facebook; brand your twitter account; have t-shirts printed – and anything else you can think of. There are many inexpensive ways to get your brand noticed!
There’s no doubt about it – you cannot afford to NOT be online in today’s techno times. The internet increases your networking potential a thousand times over and if you’re not already using the web to promote yourself, you really should be.
Here’s how it works: First read, read and read some more! Spend a few weeks finding the most interesting, up-to-date, award-winning and clever blogs, articles, news sites and e-books and read them all! You will then have a good idea of what the landscape is like. Now ask yourself: How can I BEST promote myself in this arena? A blog is an obvious choice, especially (but not only) if you are comfortable writing. If you are a not-too-shabby writer, you can also submit articles to various content-driven websites, and even be paid in some instances. You could build up a massive following in a year or two if you generate enough quality content. And then you could even look at writing e-books in your area of expertise!
If you are not a great writer and/or don’t have a lot of time – you can still find fame on the world wide web. For instance, your blog could be more image-driven. Or you could upload your own instructional videos or voice recordings. Or you could simply find and then re-post other peoples’ fantastic content (with credit and links of course). The truth is – anyone can blog successfully if they are generating (or merely hosting) quality content (interesting, entertaining or informative) on a regular basis. You can participate in forum discussions, join online groups, tweet, facebook and blog like a pro, even if your grammar and spelling is not that great. And when you achieve a little web-fame, more people will want to work with you, because you are now considered an expert in your field.
And finally, what good is all this strutting and branding and blogging, if you are in fact, not an expert in your field?
So how can you ensure that you are walking the talk? Start off by brushing up your skills – with courses, online courses, books, e-books, articles, training and anything else you can find that will enhance your image, skill-set and knowledge base. Dress the part; network like a pro. Always do your best. And remember that what you do next and the way you do it, will have a direct influence on what happens after that – where you are in say 5 or 10 years.
Why simply be a contractor, when you can be a reputable, sought after and highly successful contractor instead?