A few months after I started my business 25-plus years ago, I was delivering a workshop one evening on an ideal topic to attract likely clients. And sure enough, the room was full of self-employed professionals who were excellent prospects to hire me as a business coach. I presented what I thought was a value-packed program, and my audience seemed to be learning useful material from me. “I’m sure to land some clients from this,” I thought.
After the workshop, a woman came up to me hesitantly. “This class was very helpful,” she said. “But I’m wondering… would it be possible for me to hire you to work with me personally? I don’t know if you do that.”
Writing is a great way to build your business, and whether you’re new to it, or have been doing it for some time, there are ways to make it easy. Below are ideas on how to write so that it can be simple, fun, and effective to accomplish, and create a steady stream of interest in your services.
What to Write
Finding inspiration for what to write is, at times, daunting. Inspiration is all around, though, and often times it’s a matter of adjusting your perception to see it. Just finished a client session? There’s an article in that!
We self-employed professionals spend a great deal of our marketing effort on searching for the right words. We read books, take classes, and hire consultants to help us write copy for our marketing materials. Composing web pages, writing sales emails, and drafting ad copy consumes hours or days of precious marketing time.
It appears, though, that many professionals have mistaken all this wordsmithing for productive action.
Don’t get me wrong; the words you use to market yourself are important and deserve your attention. But crafting the message, and effectively delivering the message, are not at all the same thing.
When you run your own business, it’s important to get the word out about your offerings. In the simplest sense, that’s called marketing. The word marketing, however, is often enough to send a tiny business owner running for the hills, especially when it’s paired with the word plan.
It’s OK to breathe now.
I have a dream for us self-employed professionals. I picture us all making simple marketing and sales plans, working our plans consistently, and as a result, landing all the clients we need. But in order for my dream to come true, we’re going to have to stop letting ourselves be pulled off track by the tempting lure of silver bullet solutions.
The lure of the silver bullet
Maybe you know the ones I mean. There’s always some flavor-of-the-month approach to sales and marketing that you’re hearing about.
To the average self-employed professional, following up with prospective clients feels awkward or even scary. You hate making phone calls that might not be welcome. You think you might be pestering people. You worry about being rejected. You aren’t sure what to say. After all, how many times can you ask, “Are you ready for us to work together?”
I get it. My clients and students share concerns like these with me all the time. I’ve even had them myself.