40 Ways to Build Your Professional Credibility

It’s harder than ever for a self-employed professional to land clients unless you appear credible. Once upon a time, you could get clients based on not much more than a business card, decent clothes, and your ability to present yourself well in a conversation.

Now what happens is that prospective clients check you out online before they decide to do business with you. Even when prospects are referred to you by someone they trust, they will typically visit your website, search online for your name, or look for you on social media. If what they learn doesn’t shout “credibility” to them, you’ll have a tough time getting their business.

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Why You Shouldn’t Do What the Gurus Do

It’s only natural to emulate successful people. You’d like to copy their success, so it seems it would make sense to copy their approach to sales and marketing. But modeling your marketing after the gurus in your field may not get you where they are.

Simply put, the present situation of these highly successful people may be entirely different from your own. Gurus typically have plenty of money to spend, staff to help, a large in-house mailing list, many followers on social media, widespread name recognition, a suite of products and services to offer, and many years of completed work to draw from. If you don’t have all this in your business, trying to copy their marketing and sales approach may be a recipe for failure rather than success.

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When Is It Time to Stop Marketing?

When should a self-employed professional stop marketing his or her business? Here are a few possible scenarios where you might be tempted to put marketing on hold:

o When your pipeline is full.
o When you don’t need or want any more clients.
o When your schedule is so full you don’t know where you’d fit in another client.
o When you have five proposals pending and you’re afraid they’ll all come through.
o When the holidays / vacation / summer are approaching.
o When you’re so busy fulfilling your current client obligations you don’t have the time or bandwidth for marketing.

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10 Ways to Know Your Marketing is Working

It can be challenging at times to know if your marketing is working. You’re putting yourself out there, yet how can you tell if you’re succeeding? Read on for 10 ways to know if your marketing is working.


  1. You’re attracting clients who are a fit for you.
    If you’ve done a good job of identifying your ideal client, and the marketing you do speaks directly to them, you will disproportionately attract people who are in alignment with you, what you do, and who see the value in what you’re offering. This begs the question that you know who your ideal client is, and if you don’t, you can read more about how to discover them here.
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What Are the Most Effective Marketing Strategies for Self-Employed Professionals?

I recently ran across a 2017 study by FreshBooks Cloud Accounting asking 1,700 self-employed professionals, independent professionals, and small business owners what they found to be the most effective marketing strategies. All the participants had fewer than 10 employees, and 77% of them were solopreneurs, making this group a close match to the readers of this blog.

I was pleased to see how closely their answers aligned with the list of Effective Marketing Strategies in Get Clients Now! and the advice Kris Carey and I give our clients, students, and readers. Here’s what these self-employed professionals named as “highly effective” marketing strategies:

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How Much Do You Love Your Prospective Clients?

Does it seem strange to use the word love when referring to a business relationship? Substitute another word if you prefer — “like,” for example, or “respect.” However you want to express it, the point is to consider how much you care about the people you sell to — their needs, goals, desires, concerns — all the elements of their lives that might be involved in their decision about whether to buy from you.

If you don’t love your prospects, they will know it. We’ve all been sold to by someone who didn’t care about us. The salesperson who pressures us to buy a car with options we don’t need.

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Marketing as a Game

What if marketing was a game? Something you can play at, play with. A game without winners or losers, just different outcomes.

Would that make marketing feel easier? More fun?

I see many business owners treat marketing as something serious, saying things to themselves such as, “There’s a right way and a wrong way to do it,” “It must be done correctly, or it won’t work,” “I’ll look foolish if I make a mistake, and I’d hate to have it look like I don’t know what I’m doing — it’ll be embarrassing in front of my peers and my clients.” The idea of doing marketing the correct way can be a hurdle that feels hard to overcome.

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Build the Foundation of Your Marketing on Love

Have you ever considered that you could love marketing? That it might be possible to market from a place of love, doing marketing activities that you love, all so you can serve the lovely clients you’re meant to serve?

Love is the answer.

Consider the possibility that the foundation of your marketing is based on something you truly love, something you might be inclined to do even if you didn’t get paid. A message you love sharing, in a way that you love sharing it.

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Put More Love in Your Marketing

Do you want your clients and prospects to love you? I think most of us self-employed professionals would. When your prospects love you, closing sales is easy. When your clients love you, they keep doing business with you, and refer others to do the same.

Yet the language often used for marketing and sales reveals perspectives that don’t have much to do with love. The path to closing sales is to “overcome objections” or “don’t take no for an answer.” You’re supposed to write “killer copy” to use for a “marketing blitz” or “promotional blasts” so you can “blow away” your “targets.” You should “hone your weapons” so you can “battle for market share,” “fight for sales,” and “smash the competition.” When you succeed, you are “killing it” or “crushing it.”

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Asking for Help Is Not Cheating

A desperate self-employed professional contacted me recently. “I need to get clients immediately,” she said. “I’ve been trying for months with no success, and I’m almost out of money.” When I asked her how she had been marketing herself all this time, she gave me the following list of what she had been doing:

  • Attending networking events where she met people, introduced herself, and exchanged business cards
  • Launched a brochure-style website describing her services
  • Started a Facebook page and began posting promos for her business and links to content she found interesting
  • Printed some flyers and posted them on bulletin boards around town
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Business Building Writer Program starts Sept 13, 2018

Join C.J. Hayden for a six-session live webinar series! Business Building Writer: Learn to Build Your Business by Writing… Learn to Write So It Builds Your Business.

C.J. will teach you how to use quality writing as a business-building tool, how to write your stuff so that your desired audience will want what your business offers, and how to put those elements together into a business-building plan. You’ll take away a new set of tools and skills, an action plan, and an inspired new direction for using your writing for business-building.

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