… and how to avoid them
And that doesn’t feel right!
As a (starting) freelancer (coach, consultant, interim manager, trainer…) you have to stand out among the competition.
The secret is, whether you like it or not, you have to make some ‘noise’ and tell the world (or at least your target audience) what you stand for and what services you offer. You have to build your Personal Brand.
When you build your brand you have to take the necessary steps to identify who you really are and what unique offer you have for your particular target audience, so they become really enthusiastic and eager to buy from you and no one else. This also means you have to know your message and tell it in an attractive way to your audience. Actually in different attractive ways, in as many ways possible.
It’s all an action plan and a step-by-step approach. Want to learn this? Go to my YOUBRAND© program.
Anyway, here are 6 of the mistakes I often see (starting) freelancers make.
1. They think everyone will regard them as a bragger and a show-off
We have learned as kids that we “act normal“, that we shouldn’t stand out from the crowd, but blend in. In professional life, especially as an entrepreneur, you can forget that! You have to be able to make a difference and show that difference.
Start thinking big! Those who think small will stay small.
So change that small thinking mindset and tune in to yourThink Big Mindset.
Like Donald Trump says: “Most people think small because most people are afraid of success, afraid of making decisions, afraid of winning. And that gives people like me a great advantage.”
2. They completely rely on the middle man (providers) to find clients and assignments
As an interim manager, coach, trainer, consultant… you have to know the middle man. And you have to be known by the middle man.
However, these people know a lot of people like you, so you are one of many, the competition is fierce…. This means that you have to stay top of mind with these providers, make sure you are always the first they think of when they have a new assignment. Building your personal brand with this target audience in mind is thus important.
Warning: don’t lay all your eggs in one basket – try to know many providers.
And what if you want to get rid of the middle man?Interesting thought too:-) And then it’s even more important to start building your personal brand!
3. They don’t have a unique selling proposition (USP)
I meet a lot of freelancers who are good at what they do, but have difficulties getting noticed. That is why I advise them to identify their USP. However, up till now no one, I repeat no one, has been able to come up with a compelling answer when I ask them “what makes you unique?” So it is my mission to learn all small business owners to identify their USP 🙂
Because if you don’t know your USP, how can others (ie your potential client) know it?
Please read this blog post to learn how to go about identifying your USP.
4. They do not go to network events and/or they don’t do it in a structured & effective way
I know, arriving at an event where you think you won’t know anybody is kind of scary. But keep in mind, you are not alone. There are other people there feeling just the way you do. To make it easy on yourself, you could try to find those people. Often that lonely person looking awkward and out of place 😉
Here are three other tips to make the most out of networking:
- Set networking goals
- Start the conversation with an interesting question
- When people ask you what you do, don’t tell them “I’m a coach”, use your Elevator Pitch
5. They do not have an online presence
Even though I still strongly believe in off-line presence, like networking, public speaking, giving workshops, etc… the digital world demands online presence.
This does not mean that you should use every existing social media site (that would be totally impossible by the way – there are certainly more than 400 social media and social networking sites!! Huh!)
You have to find those social media sites that fit your services AND your target audience best. For us interim managers and coaches, I’d say: LinkedIn and possibly Twitter andFacebook.
Online presence is more than social media, I advice small business owners to have a client attracting website and to write a blog.
If you want to know how to start improving your online presence: take a look at my YOUBRAND© program. I’ll teach you how step by step.
6. They do not invest in themselves and their business
Warren Buffet says: “The best investment you can make, is in yourself”
There are a lot of studies regarding successful people, what are their character traits? What do they do every morning, or every evening? What is it that they don’t do? What do they differently? Etc…
Here are some of the results:
- They do not do everything alone
- They constantly learn
- They surround themselves with successful people
- They commit to their goals
- They take responsibility
- They work hard
- They make mistakes and learn from them
- They exercise
- They believe in themselves
- They do not procrastinate
- They take risks
Look at the first three! I strongly believe you have to keep on learning and get advice from the best. I have an international business coach and she helps me moving forward faster with more success.