How to brand yourself as an independent professional?
by Global Expert Systems
There is a gradual shift in today’s job market towards “contract work”. Even in the public sector, it is commonplace for professionals to sign short-term contracts.
This is really in response to organisations becoming more project-driven as well as the rise of the independent worker who has more negotiating power and is less willing to commit to longer periods of employment, thus limiting his or her ability to seize the next best opportunity. So, the professional who wishes to go independent may try the following:
1. Volunteer your skills and services and sense how the market will respond to you.
2. You may either ease yourself into the market gradually or take the big plunge. Whichever you decide, sooner rather than later, you have to monetize your services. When you start to receive positive feedback and increased demand for your service then you are well on your way to independence.
3. Organise your clients’ work into projects and start to build up a “book” of successful stories and projects as an independent because 80 per cent of your business will come from client referrals.
4. The next stage is to showcase your work.
Unfortunately, a true independent cannot afford the luxury of not publishing. Publishing refers to reports, articles for the press, magazines, blogs and conference papers. The good news is that with the expansion of the Internet there are more than enough options to disseminate your written work.
So do not be afraid to share your work and let the market see what you are capable of producing.
So you’ve done the publishing and you have built up a good reputation in the market place but there is still room for new clients and projects. Maybe you have not done a good enough job at marketing your expertise. A website is an obvious start but that is still not enough.
Certainly, any website or blog today must be fully integrated with social media and a digital marketing strategy. Not only will this increase your visibility but it will also allow you to be in constant contact with your clients and prospects.
The traditional business card is still very useful but very few persons bother to keep them. So you need to take it a step further by creating a digital business card that you can quickly email or text to clients.
For those who are not afraid of a highly visible digital footprint, then we also recommend having your bio online on one of the professional networks.
Finally, the independent professional has to find way to present his or her expertise verbally. The best talkers are not necessarily the best doers but you still have to “speak it” to market your brand.
If you are uncomfortable in front of big audiences, then start with smaller settings until you build up your confidence. Seize the opportunity to present reports and the like to your clients and do it with a little pizzazz using whatever exciting presentation skills and tools your may have. Ultimately, this is going to be one of your best selling tools.
So if you think that you have what it takes to be that next highly sought after independent professional, remember to publish it, market it and speak it!
Next week we will look at, “Salary negotiation techniques for the independent professional.”
* For access to the entire series of GES articles in pdf. feel free to download them from http://www.scribd.com/GlobalExpertSystems.
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