New to consulting? Three marketing mistakes to avoid


How Did You Get Into Consulting?

With the exception of people coming out of the big business schools, not many people set out to become consultants. Instead, they begin to consider it as an alternative to full-time employment when their circumstances change. For example, consultants I have known started building their successful businesses when . . .

  • They were laid off.
  • They wanted to work from home.
  • They needed supplemental income.

Doing business with people you likeBut far from being just a “fall back” or second-choice, consulting for many of these people has turned into the very business they wanted! But note I said “business” and not “job.” If you are considering consulting, you will be responsible for all facets of your business, and that includes marketing. Here are three marketing mistakes that I have seen new consultants make, and that are so easy to avoid!

Mistake #1 – Counting on current contacts to give you consulting business

When you undergo a job change, realize that your professional contacts are making changes, too. Your contact list is probably only good for nine months, more likely for six. And for it to remain good, you’ll have to commit to regularly being in touch – via personal letters, phone calls or emails. These messages needn’t be long or involved – sometimes a friendly hello is all that’s required. But, just as you are going to all the effort to set up your new consulting business, you’ll have to be staying in touch . . . or the value of your contacts will dwindle and fade to nothing!

Mistake #2 – Neglecting your online presence

If you’ve been en employee, your employer has carried the responsibility of the company’s brand. Your former company surely has a website. It may have a Facebook fan page. It may have a blog. The marketing team may publish online newsletters, and sales personnel may have participated in teleseminars or webinars.

As a consultant, you get to wear ALL those hats! Actually, as a consultant you probably need only two comprehensive online marketing pieces to start – your website and your LinkedIn profile. Anyone who is considering hiring you for your expertise will look at both places to establish your credentials and get a feel for your company – even if that company is just you. Make sure that what they find reflects the strongest you possible.

Mistake #3 – Spending too much time at your computer

The corollary of Mistake #2 is that you may find yourself devoting entire days to learning how to set up and tweak your website, along with writing for, enhancing and updating your LinkedIn profile. Yes, these are essential to your marketing, but they are only one facet of it. Getting out of your home office will be necessary if you are to find new business! Face-to-face networking is essential for referrals.

In our work with executives “in transition,” we developed an entire course on how to get started — and get successful — at networking. For many new consultants, it’s a skill that needs to be refreshed. And for some, its a skill that needs to be built from scratch.

The good news? Great networkers are made, not born!

So if you’re in start-up mode, and feel you’re losing touch with valued industry contacts and/or potential referral sources, find out more about our networking course. Its goal is to help you avoid the painful learning process, and get right to professional results.

In any case, plan NOW to get out of your home office!

Virginia
The Marketing Machine®

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