All entrepreneurs struggle from time to time to figure out WHO THEY ARE. Don't worry, I've been there too!
More and more companies today are outsourcing creative services and have found that hiring third-party professionals is the way to go. Why? Because there's usually no overhead, lower risk, and contracts can be long or short-term.
Over the years, a lot of new business owners have asked me how they can stay fresh and top of mind when everyone it seems is selling their services too. In fact, as you read this, your favourite inspiration and business icons are tweeting, posting, blogging and uploading right now!
Perhaps it's because when I was the editor of a popular women's fitness magazine, I worked with a lot of models—and also mentored tons of aspiring writers and editors on how to get published. But since then the world has changed, and almost everyone is an "expert" in their field. I too find it difficult to keep up sometimes, but it's crucial as a business person and master of your own domain to stay curious about how you can further your knowledge to become the best at what you love to do. So if you're not already—you better get online!
Here are some quick tips that have helped me:
1. BE SEARCHABLE
The more you pop up on Google searches and social networking sites--the more exposure you'll get--the more your name will get traction in people's feeds--and the more memorable you'll remain. In fact, I just spoke to a colleague in the mainstream modelling world who now urges potential clients to check out his talent's profiles and pictures online instead of waiting to see traditional composite (comp) cards at auditions. And same goes for creative agencies that hire designers, writers, web developers, content specialists, production, art directors etc. they insist on seeing online portfolios and landing pages before they even consider you.
2. BE VISIBLE
If you don't have clear and consistent personal branding and a recognizable website, blog, and social media feed, you may also be overlooked. If you aren't a creative person and don't know the first thing about design or creating a brand that best represents you, hire a professional or offer a trade for services. It's important to create and promote a look and feel that resonates with your clients and will keep them coming back.
3. STAY ACTIVE
Post it! Don't be shy—you're trying to showcase your work people! How else are you going to get some buzz out there? Social media hotspots such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest among others are extremely important tools for individuals wanting to market themselves. If you're not on at least two or three of these sites, I'd say you're going to be out of luck. Of course, word of mouth still works in some industries, however if you want to expand your clientele and make more money today, you need to be social. Sure, it can be a pain in the butt sometimes, but trust me... posting informative, inspirational or amazing portfolio pieces once a day will keep you out there. Praise from clients is also crucial. Always ask for a testimonial or review for your product or service with each new happy client. Also make sure your official bio is up-to-date on your website and offer a "media bio" if necessary in your industry. If your business changes focus or you implement a new direction—make sure you tell your clients and fan base online.
4. FIND A MENTOR
Like anything, allowing yourself to become vulnerable at times in your personal or professional life can actually improve your situation. It may seem like taking two steps forward, and three back, but it is monumental to the bigger picture. I look back on my own business journey and all the ups and downs—even a move to a new country—and often I felt overwhelmed and overworked and like I wanted to throw the towel in. Especially when I decided to branch out and officially develop my own publishing and consulting business after sporadically freelancing for years.
I had no team, no consultants, no one to lean on at 2 a.m. when I was confused about how to do something on the back-end of my website (yes I still do all my website updates myself). I also decided to self-publish my book with no agent and no manager—and I've gotten all my press to date myself. But it's tough. I still worry every day that my lucky streak will run out or there's someone else out there who will come along and take my clients or potential clients. But don't fret, these thoughts are very normal!
Remember, it's smart to know how to manage these aspects of your own business from day one anyways. Don't just delegate (if you have the money that is, which most start-up business owners don't) because this is your brand and your passion, so you should be in control. Because learning from your mistakes is one of the best things you can do. Also, a good piece of advice is to find a mentor or someone you look up to from a business aspect or who works in the industry you are hoping to break into. Most people will be open-minded to share their experience. And if they're not, do you really want to be like them?
A good mentor will be there for you through the trials and tribulations and hopefully long after you've made your first million!
Remember, staying competitive means setting up shop where your fans are. I hope this post motivates you to stay on top of your business goals and go after your dreams. If you have any questions about how I can mentor you in these or any other area such as; what the press is looking for, writing, getting published, or marketing and communications--or if you would like me to speak at your school, conference, team-building event, meetup or on a call, please contact me. I also offer private consultation calls in the areas of personal branding, social media, content creation etc. You just have to take the first step. Good luck!
P.S. Also don't forget to Sign Up for my upcoming e-zine to get your free online inspiration and more tips like these!