From maintaining a pipeline of projects, running your back office, and drafting proposals, to holding client meetings and managing finances, there are a seemingly endless amount of tasks associated with independent work. The life of an independent contractor is both busy and exciting.
While it can be easy to get caught up in daily tasks, the continued growth and development of your business is an important goal to keep in the forefront of decisions you make. Follow these three tips to find continued success for your independent business.
A good business is one that consistently keeps their target audience in mind. Without exposure to the people you’re trying to reach, you can’t expect prospective clients to take action. By maintaining a strong marketing strategy, you can make sure your target audience understands the services you offer and why they are valuable.
Creating a personal brand and marketing your services can be powerful tools that come in many forms such as blog posts, social media campaigns, or printed collateral. Ultimately, the goal is to get your name out into the public arena, and have it associated with quality, integrity, and great results.
As an independent professional, your business is built on several cornerstones, but one of the most important is credibility. Without this principle, your brand and reputation don’t mean much. To build a business and continue its growth, you need a foundation—and that foundation cannot exist without the trust and dependability of your clients.
Boost your credibility with the following tips:
Maintain an online presence. Today, the Internet is a key platform for communication and information exchange. You should always consider that a prospective client or lead may be referred to your personal website, LinkedIn, or other social profiles. If they find information that is inaccurate, inappropriate, or uninteresting, they may not take the next step and get in touch with you.
Grow your network. The independent workforce is 40 million strong and growing. That means there’s a whole population of people who work like you, many others who share your field, and even more who need or rely on your services and expertise. By actively creating and fostering business relationships you can establish a professional network and build your reputation.
Stay informed. Keep up-to-date on industry knowledge, trends, and standards by subscribing to publications, networking with peers, and attending events or conferences. By being aware of the latest changes and developments in your business niche, you can reinforce your expertise.
Become a thought leader. Establishing yourself as a thought leader by building credibility and authority is a great way to gain trust among your clients. Developing white papers or case studies, contributing to industry publications, and writing insightful blog posts are all ways to become a recognizable voice of expertise.
Stay focused. Many independent contractors can attribute their success to becoming an expert in a single field or topic. Their level of knowledge, skill, or insight increases their value. The higher your value, the higher the demand for your services will be, so don’t be afraid to dedicate yourself to a specific area or skill.
Visibility and credibility won’t get you far without first building a strong relationships. Especially in world of independent contracting, relationships are a key component to growing a small business. One of the best ways to start building relationships is through networking. Whether this networking is done online via professional and social site, or in-person at functions, conferences, and meetings, the goal is always to form a connection.
By growing a network of relationships with fellow industry leaders who are seen as trustworthy, knowledgeable, and dedicated, your own credibility will increase as well. As your network increases, so will exposure and visibility of your business. This will expand your pool of potential clients and help to further develop your business.
Follow these four tips to expand your client base and stay smart about business growth.
Independent consulting isn’t just an extrovert’s game—here’s how introverts can thrive in the world of self-employment.