We’ve recently redesigned our website. It took us many, many times longer than the planned, efficient work we do for our clients and at every step, we seemed to lose focus on what we wanted to say. Lots of consultants seem to have this problem – it can be difficult to make time to focus on your own marketing / web design / whatever, and even when you do, often you demand far higher standards of yourself than you would of a client. So, learning from our experience, how can you get better at talking about yourself when you run your own business or work as a consultant or freelancer?
1. Just do it, already
Its really easy to put your own work to the back of the queue, to not give it your full attention, or to put it off because you’ve been working all day, you’re knackered, and you want a break. If you’re doing your own marketing and you don’t make the time to do it eventually you will be short of clients and wishing you had.
The majority of our clients come through referrals, but I’m well aware that I have to have the basics of my ongoing marketing (website, emails, business cards, some advertising, social media activity etc) in place ready for the inevitable dry spell. As a consultant, you have to take responsibility for your own success.
30 seconds to spare? Log onto Twitter and tell your followers what you’re working on. If you’ve got 5 minutes, phone a sales prospect. If you’ve got 10 minutes, why not write a blog post? If you’ve got a couple of hours, review your business cards / flyers / sales letters / whatever. You get the idea
2. It doesn’t have to be perfect
This is what I’ve really struggled with – you start working on something, get to a point where you’re reasonably happy, but delay finishing it because it’s “not quite right”. It’s never going to be. Make it as good as you can in the available time and get it out there. You can always go back and correct it, or do it differently / better next time.
3. Give yourself a brief
I suppose this is only really true for bigger and more complex pieces of work, but having a clear outline of what you are trying to achieve with your marketing activity can really drive you into actually doing it. Think about where you want to be, work out what you need to do to get there, and then figure out what resources you have to do it. Then go back to point 1!
4. Bite the bullet and outsource
If you really can’t make any progress, you might have to accept that you need to focus on working for clients and generating income. Ask people you trust for recommendations for people who can help you achieve your marketing goals. After all, as a consultant you are a business and sometimes businesses have to spend money – you can’t bootstrap all the time…