What’s Your Hook?
June 8, 2012 § 1 Comment
I am transitioning from PEC Executive Director to Volunteer so I sat down with Cindy and Maria this week and asked a few questions about differentiating myself in what feels like a really crowded freelance marketplace. They asked me some hard questions, but ones I needed to be able to answer.
The first question they had was, “Well, what do you want to do?” I was able to answer that question. Thanks to a site called Freelance Switch, I had already worked out my hourly rate and based on that was able to set a goal amount of freelance work to bring in. Then, Maria asked, “What’s your hook? What can you fix for potential clients?”
The very first thing they told me, “Don’t worry about what other people are doing out there.” Basically, keep my focus on myself and what value I bring to clients. Make sure I can articulate that and that its evident on my Linked IN profile and my blog.
Cindy recommends commenting in LinkedIn Groups. Not comments selling something or promoting my own blog, but comments that add substance to the conversation or ask a question to get some feedback from other experts in the group. I also learned that you can see who has viewed your LinkedIn Profile depending on the privacy settings of their account. Cindy recommends checking it at least weekly as it only shows the most recent views on the Basic Account (to see more you have to upgrade). From there, she said I can choose to connect with them.
Both Cindy and Maria recommended using my blog as a way to showcase my talents and introduce resources. As a freelancer, I was concerned about how much to put on the blog. In this day and age, blogs are another research source for people working on projects. Some people will look at your information and be able to use it and others will look at it for an idea and decide that the learning curve is more than they want to tackle and might be inclined to hire me to do it. Lisa told me long ago about freelancing, “Not everyone is a potential client.” I should share the knowledge. The application of that knowledge is where the client will hire me.
To get more readers on my blog, I need to engage in some electronic networking! Cindy and Maria asked me “What are the top blogs?” Once I find those, they recommended commenting on them with information that adds to the conversation (not blatant self-promotion). Cindy said like she recommends for her clients, find the CEO’s and top people I want to work with and follow their blogs and Twitter accounts. Retweeting their posts is a great way to share information with others.
My final question was how do I tell people in my network I am seeking gigs without looking like I am working them over? I am uncomfortable with the idea of sending out a mass email. Cindy reminded me that networking isn’t all about me. It’s about getting to know people and helping them. Cindy suggested that I send out a note to select people in my network and say something to the effect, “Thank you for your support! Let’s work together and see if we can increase our leads. Can you forward this to two people or send me two leads and I will do the same for you.” as a mechanism for starting the conversation. (Unfortunately, this part of the conversation then degenerated into this.)
Maria and Cindy both said, don’t forget the power of Thank You. When you do get a lead or assistance from someone in your network, take time to say “thank you”. Now please excuse me. I have some thank yous to do!
You can have a great conversation with Cindy & Maria at the free monthly Job Clubs and Empowerment Circles at Pinnacle Empowerment Center.