Posted by Vicki Moulton on August 3, 2009
Remember your grandmother’s advice about what to do when life hands you a bunch of sour lemons? This classic lesson about turning a negative into a positive can be applied quite handily to any sticky business situation.
SCENARIO: Your client assumes you are skilled in anything that’s remotely related to your actual line of business. The line between what you know how to do and what you pretend to know how to do is getting blurrier by the minute. You like this client and don’t wish to lose potential business by revealing the pretense.
DIAGNOSIS: Your professional brand is not well-defined, and you’re straying from your core mission.
SOLUTION: Take this opportunity to define who you are and what you have to offer. Make a list of your capabilities, and include everything that you’re confident you know how to do well. Make a separate list of things you could do with a bit more time/training/networking help. Leave off items in which you simply don’t have any expertise or would find yourself in over your head.
Next, write a short descriptive statement about the kind of work you want to be doing. You can take elements of this statement to become your mission and your slogan. This should include only the work you want to be known for, and be as specific as you can. If you have a web presence, you can turn all of this into your personal brand.
Then, any areas that go beyond your mission/slogan could go under a “consulting” umbrella, meaning you can always find someone else to help your clients with specific needs beyond your bailiwick. (Hey, I’m connected… I can get you someone for that project. Just tell me what you need!) Definitely keep your relationship with the client, and make sure you stay involved as a “project manager,” even charging a consulting fee (while you learn new skills from the other individual). You might consider partnering with that other expert on future projects.
Once you’ve defined your business, client requests for work beyond your core capabilities won’t cause you angst. To paraphrase Grandma, life may hand you lemons, but you’ve already mastered the recipe for lemonade.
Posted in communications, MarComm, marketing, messaging | Tagged: bailiwick, brand, capabilities, client, communications, consulting, MarComm, mission, networking, project manager, relationships, slogan, specialize, website | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Vicki Moulton on June 12, 2009
I’ve been a longtime member of a private, mostly virtual network of 250+ DC-area freelancers who specialize in various areas within the field of communications (writers, editors, technical experts, web programmers, designers, marketing experts, etc.). A colleague of mine from a freelance gig back in 2000 recommended me for membership, and I did the same for another colleague with whom I’ve worked since the mid-90s.
I haven’t made it to very many of the monthly meetings, as worthwhile as they are, because the location is not close enough to my home office to make it worth the commuting time (usually midday on a Friday, which tends to be deadline day). But I’ve stayed in the group because of the many virtual benefits of being an email away from a few hundred great minds with lots of great advice on all things freelance.
Today I received an email from the group’s founder and most passionate cheerleader, explaining what membership in the group means, how it works, and how it has enhanced everyone’s professional experience. I thought it was so concise and well-written that I wanted to post it here (sans identifying information, of course).
Membership can be extended to anybody any of our members feel (1) would benefit from such membership and (2) would be a benefit to the other members.
(1) [The group] differs from other lists and online groups in that we are a community. Some of what we share online is strictly business – rates, job leads, articles. Much is not – announcements of personal triumphs, pleas for pet causes, the occasional bit of humor. All is offered warmly and accepted graciously, because in [our group], everybody is somebody’s friend.
(2) [The group's] only criterion for membership is that the person being recommended be someone whose work the sponsor can vouch for. That criterion gives us the comfort of knowing that everybody in [the group] is considered by someone else to be a pro…
We are an unusual group, and the reason we work so well is that everyone here wants to be here and wants to contribute to the group’s continued success. It’s quality (of relationships and interactions), not quantity (of member rolls), that we’re all about.
Amen to that.
Posted in communications, freelance, MarComm, marketing, networking, writers | Tagged: colleague, communications, DC-area, editors, freelance, great minds, job leads, MarComm, marketing, meetings, members, membership, network, networking, quality, relationships, specialize, sponsor, virtual, writers | Leave a Comment »