A large majority of freelancers know precisely what will take them to the next level. Yep, that big client win or that redeveloped website would knock the stripes of your competition. So why do so few actually get to that next level?
The freelancers who don’t make that leap wrap themselves in reasons why not. This is the equivalent of heading into battle cocooned in bubble wrap rather than a battle scarred shield of results.
A bias towards results over reasons actually goes against the grain when we look at human psychology. It’s expected, the norm, par for the course to give reasons why something is not possible. A lack of resources is something every freelancer will face at some point but only the smart, resourceful big thinker will flip that into an advantage and build something that becomes their legacy.
Resourcefulness & Hustle
There is a great story about Kenneth Cole, who famously decided NOT to take no for an answer. Without the available resources to buy showroom space in trendy downtown Manhattan, or an exhibition space in the annual Hilton New York gathering the then-young designer enquired with local government (aided by a trucker friend) about running a mobile showcase from a trailer. He enquired whether a permit would be granted for a 40ft trailer in the middle of busy Manhattan and was virtually laughed off the call. In only one instance had this been granted before, for a motion picture.
Later that day ‘Kenneth Cole Productions’ was registered as a business and a permit request to pitch a 40ft production trailer with walk-in capability for ‘crew & guests’ was granted.
The rest is history.
Excuses vs Results
The reason I meander so far beyond my original headline is to propose to you that by supplying reasons why you cannot grow your online presence you’re actually contributing to your own plateau.
Your reasons for not rolling up your sleeves and taking your “Me Project” seriously may be numerous
– I don’t have the time
– I don’t really understand what I have to do
– I have other client obligations to consider
But really, you’re just allowing your earnings ceiling to further strengthen its position as your own personal puppet master.
So here are 4 quick actions you should take, starting from scratch to start taking your own brand seriously right now, putting you on the path to building your online reputation:
Build a target list for your growth network (2 hours)
This post from Groove underlines the importance of finding and building relationships with influencers (Hello 1,000 subscribers from 1 post). In essence you need to consider potential friends in your space who:
Could spread your message
Naturally this will give you leverage into a wider circle of influence, enabling you to potentially grow your voice.
Align with your approach
It’s important that you choose only potential cohorts that align with your core message.
Themselves provide value
There is an element of ‘trickle down reputation’ to be had from building relationships with movers and shakers in your space. The more value these partners provide the more benefit your.
Within the post I referenced above is a simple, yet effective Google Docs spreadsheet with some key actions you should take to build those relationships. For example I’ve been able to build my network by reaching out to other online entrepreneurs in my Genius Q&A calls. Of key importance is actually caring about these people and being involved with the conversations they start online.
Build some value on your own site (2.5 hours)
If you build something of value to the audience you’re looking to pursue you’ll be able to leverage that value, turning it into a sense of reciprocity that’ll result in attention for you and your brand.
Start by looking at posts you’ve already been creating, questions you’ve already been answering, comments you’ve already been leaving.
I recently helped a coaching client put together an ebook, from simply the responses he’d left on Quora over the last 3 months. Moreover, Amy Hoy on our recent Q&A call revealed that her first book came off the back of several forum interactions, which was just chained together into a readable format.
The takeaway here is that you probably don’t need to dig too deep to build an ebook, put together a few blog posts or record the odd video. You’d then use this to build your foundation and to entice viewers to trade their email for this value.
Approach relevant blogs in your space (1.5 hours)
You may already be familiar with the world of guest blogging. If you’re familiar with the grumblings of “blog owners not liking it now” also then you’re probably doing it wrong.
Consider this – if someone approached you on the street while you were minding your own business, requesting that you give them the opportunity to speak to your friends how would you react to that?
If you’ve ever been approached by someone handing out flyers then the general reaction is to alter your course to sidestep this interaction. The same is true for online.
Yet, if you had a pre-existing relationship with that person who had demonstrated some value to you or done you a favour in the past, you’d be all ears. This analogy is perfectly relevant when assessing online relationships.
So you should first look to build relationships, then approach to give some ideas of how you can help them provide value to their audience.
In doing so you’ll unlock a wider audience that is on message, in line with the work you’re doing to build relationships in action point 1.
Automate your social media life (1 hour)
If you find yourself without the time to update social channels (I totally get it, but no excuse!) then a key fix here is to look to automate your updates. There are several ways you can do this, and you’re probably already some way to doing this already so I won’t go through the full range of social media tools you can be managing but I’ll just give you this quick nugget.
On Twitter you can enable its “Read it later” function to point to Pocket. Then in IFTTT you can create a new recipe which takes all stories added to Pocket and creates a new tweet in Buffer. Then in Buffer you simply select the frequency you’d like to Tweet (example, 2 per day) and the whole thing runs automatically. You can just catch up on Twitter skim the articles you’d like to tweet hit read it later on 10, and be safe in the knowledge these will just tweet themselves out over the course of the following week!
By engaging in conversation on these channels you can widen your circle and begin to amplify the voice you’re trying to build.
Rome is sometimes built in a day
As the Groove case study shows, its not beyond the realms of possibility for the stars to align and for you to have an influx of relevant visitors who will convert into something of value to you and your business.
The key takeaways here are that you should be doing everything you can on a daily basis to grow your online reputation by building relationships, generally getting involved in conversation and providing value in your space. Remember, when building a voice in your space quality far outweighs quantity alone.
Learn anything? Please share