At first you won work through your original contacts list, but as your ambitions increase you need to find ways to up your profile to reach more potential clients
The rollercoaster of emotions seems a thing of the past. Suicidal on being made redundant; on the up at the thought of going it alone; another downer when it seemed the first job would never arrive and then the celebrations when you hit the jackpot.
Twelve months have passed and you consider a review is appropriate. Securing the first commission was your most difficult task, probably because there were precious few potential clients prepared to take a risk on you.
Once the first job arrived you lost the look of being a rooky. With work in the bag confidence shines through and is infectious.
What have you learned? Probably you have absorbed more in your first 12 months than in the 20 years since graduation. You soon discovered that getting money out of clients is about as easy as opening an oyster with a feather duster.
You soon discovered that getting money out of clients is about as easy as opening an oyster with a feather duster
Once your work has been completed, the willingness of clients to pay up diminishes at a rapid rate. With the smaller clients, the offer to deliver the completed work and collect any outstanding money at the same time, often brings results.
The larger organisation is another matter. Once your fee account has been approved by your contact and the accounts department is notified, you join the queue, with little reliable information available as to when your account will move into the payment zone. You begin to appreciate the advice that few companies go bust due to lack of profits, it is the lack of ready cash that does for most of them.
You have learned how to keep going as a one-man organisation, but your ambitions stretch well beyond this point. The work gathering methods you have adopted so far have relied upon your original contact list. Making phone calls on a fairly regular basis and the odd letter to remind them that you are up and running and doing ok seems to do the trick.
But how do you widen the net to bring your services to the attention of more potential clients. It is obvious that names must regularly be added to the list. This involves putting yourself about with business cards at the ready. Attending institution meetings, cocktail parties, trade fares and the like all helps. The aerial however must be up at all times. The purpose of being in attendance is not merely to enjoy yourself, but to add names to your contact list.
Attending institution meetings, cocktail parties, trade fares and the like all helps
However, if you really are intent on moving forward fairly quickly, you need to really lift your profile. This is not particularly easy, if there is no surplus working capital, as the normal methods involving heavy entertaining and extensive advertising, come at a cost.
Writing articles in trade magazines and giving lectures on subjects close to your heart, on a regular basis, is an inexpensive method of getting your head above the parapet. It can however be very time consuming and you have to fit it all in with your fee-earning.
A carefully crafted discussion with the other half is essential before coming to any conclusions. An understanding is required that you will need to devote a great deal more of your time, if success is to have any possibility, but at what cost?