You know, now is a great time to make a big splash. Bad economies that run everyone down need a spark of light and you can be it. Is everyone around you bummed out? Move on out into a new energy and shine.
All entrepreneurs know they must continuously market and network no matter how busy they are. Entertainers, even famous ones, repeatedly speak of their culture’s dread, that “after this gig, I’ll never get work again.” And entrepreneurs and consultants, even if not plagued by such misgivings, are still unsure where the next gig is, after this one, or these. They know they can deliver excellent value and still have their contract terminated, usually ahead of less productive employees.
We have spoken about free agency for many years now, and it is a reality. So the imperative to be seen, to be out there, to make yourself known, applies equally to folks with real jobs. And for those with no jobs and no gigs, step right up.
Despite this economy, there are places to go and people to see and ways to be seen. There is speaking to do – just volunteer and contribute something of value. Start with smaller venues and with people you know, so you build a track record, then move up to larger venues. Get testimonials and post them.
There are blogs to write, and social networks to participate in, and many opportunities to offer up your special insights and knowledge. Make sure you watch your Google analytics to know which social networks are most responsive to your postings.
Of course, you should focus on offering that special knowledge that will get you seen by your next client or employer. You should hone your positioning in all your “appearances” – formal, informal and online, so folks can know what specialties you have to share.
The mission here is to create buzz, then create referrals. “Buzz” is that condition when folks say your name when a colleague or a stranger says “I have a problem with ….” The person saying your name may not know you well, but remembers meeting you or seeing you speak, or recalls your tag line or a post or something that connects your expertise with the solution to this problem. Buzz is industry-wide in your market or niche.
The next agenda is to create referrals. For this you must know who (and/or what kind of colleague) refers you the best work… is it attorneys? CPAs? Marketing or branding colleagues? Then you must focus in on your friends, colleagues and 2nd-level contacts from that referral base. And one lunch won’t do it. You must actually connect and re-connect and offer something of value to these referral sources. So make sure, first, that they address your target market, and that they know what you do. Use the same tagline repeatedly, especially when speaking with them. If they have a prospect, suggest precisely what they should do to send the referral to you (for example, they might email an introduction which includes a link to your website or your blog or whatever is your best online selling tool).
So, the time is now. Just do it. Don’t whine, don’t be too busy, or too tired. Just add it to your schedule and keep up. Your future depends on it.