Thursday, February 11, 2010

Want to Thrive in Today's Market? Get Hip to Sales

Whether done on one’s own accord or nudged by the economic recession, working for your self can be incredibly empowering. You are the executive decision-maker, and the hard work, focus and intensity put into the venture directly contributes to your professional and personal standing.

That’s why about 30 percent of the US job market comprises what is commonly referred to as freelance nation. They are 40 million strong, working as independent contractors, part-time hires or self-employed consultants.

Yet, there are a myriad of challenges and obstacles in running the business of you. For starters, there are the administrative and clerical requirements that are both tedious and time-consuming.

More daunting is the absolute requirement to consistently and aggressively be selling and promoting one’s capabilities and service offerings. In many organizations, sales is often tagged as a necessary evil that is subservient to the armies of strategists, lawyers, accountants, marketers and client service types a company bank rolls.

However, it’s when a professional ventures out on their own that they realize how vital sales truly is and the skill set required to be successful in that endeavor.

Consider the plight of all of those once employed journalists who are now plying their trade as freelance writers. Magazines, periodicals and online journals have slashed their fees resulting in freelancers struggling to earn a livable wage.

I have no sympathy for these down-on-their-luck scribes as they are violating the number one rule of sales: sell to customers who have money. And trust me, the publishing industry does not present much in the way of opportunity for any provider.

So, where to turn? Last November I argued that content development for corporate social media marketing programs presents a real and exciting professional opportunity for the well-trained journalist.

Yes…pursuing work in the social media field demands an evolution in thinking by these freelance writers. They’ll need to fall in line with the tenets of corporate messaging and marketing promotion.

Flexibility though is another hallmark of a successful member of freelance nation.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Marc, this is a great post. As someone who is part of the "freelance nation," I firmly believe that sales is CRITICAL to success. I also believe that freelancers need to manage their own personal brand (whether it be "creative" professional, government social media guru, etc.)

Not stop networking -- whether in person, or vial social networks -- is also now more important than ever. Every person you meet could potentially be a client, or refer you to a client.

Always hustle and always keep the sales pipeline going!