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Social Responsibility Coaching Spaces

Sometimes, even for the most successful entrepreneurs, life comes up out of nowhere and gives you a hard dose of reality. It can be hard to pick up yourself, your family and your business.

Most supports for people in crisis look at counseling or mental health. And, often, the supports available to entrepreneurs involve large-scale projects, like business continuity planning, crisis communications or revamping a business plan. Sometimes, you just need a guide to help you out of the crisis.

As part of our corporate social responsibility, our founder, Andréa Coutu, has decided to open up 1-2 coaching spaces for entrepreneurs on a sliding scale basis.

Aimed at helping people who already have other crisis supports, such as counseling, in place, these sessions are meant to bring Andréa alongside you, while you get your business back on track. This is business coaching, not counseling. But Andréa has complemented her years of experience as a business consultant and educator with further training in psychological first aid, trauma-informed practice, collaborative problem solving, inclusive practice and indigenous cultural safety. She also draws from extensive lived experience and lay advocacy experience with navigating complex health, education, legal and social services systems.

So, if you’re facing tough times or historic or current barriers, we welcome your application. Space is limited. If you think this may be a fit for you, apply at https://andreacoutu.typeform.com/to/H7hBqs. There are limited spaces available at $125 for 45-minutes per session for up to five sessions ($625).

If you’re not sure whether you’re a fit, take a look at the form and apply anyway. I won’t judge you by the size of your crisis.

How to Set Up a Website or Blog with Bluehost

So you’re looking to set up a personalized email address, website or blog. I’m a Bluehost affiliate partner and I want to be clear that I receive a commission if you sign up with them. You are certainly welcome to set up a website, blog or personalized email anywhere. I spent a fair bit of time researching where to send Consultant Journal readers, though, and I chose Bluehost because they’ve been around the block, they’re a recognized name and their approach seems good. I’ll walk you through the steps.

  1. Click here to go to the Bluehost website (it will open in a new window).

bluehost welcome screen

 

Got it? Good. I am a big WordPress fan and I find it’s pretty easy for most people to set up, so I suggest going with that.

2. Choose a plan.

I’m a bit of a klutz, so I like having a backup for my websites. You can choose any of these plans, but I personally feel most comfortable with one that comes with a site backup, so that I can recover anything I lose. However, when I was starting out, I used to just keep copies of my stuff in a folder saved in the cloud. If you’re just going to have a few pages, you can start that way. However, think about whether you also want domain privacy. I also pay the extra for my sites to have my registration details kept private, so that I don’t end up with someone showing up at my office or home unannounced, except for the courier folks who bring my chocolate subscription!

Okay. So click the plan you want.

3. Choose a domain.
There are lots of places you can buy domain names and you’re certainly welcome to choose one from your vendor of choice. Bluehost includes a free domain with your registration setup, though, so you might want to stick with them and keep it simple.

If you’re choosing a domain name, I recommend going for something short and sweet. I’m a bit biased to .com domains, but it’s fine to look at other options. With so many people just relying on search engines and links, you have a bit more flexibility these days. Still, I prefer to find something short and easy to spell, pronounce and remember. I also suggest making sure you aren’t infringing on any trademarks or existing business names. You may want to try using the domain suggestion tool to find something, if your preferred options are taken.

Make your choice and click next. Depending on what you chose, you’ll either be on to your domain naming or the payment details.

4. Set up your account

Now you’re on to the account information screen. Provide your registration details. (Many countries require you to provide your contact information to comply with laws about website registration.)

Then choose your package. (It’s okay to choose the shortest time frame. You don’t have to go for three years and, although, as a partner, you might think I’d push you to go for the longest term, I suggest you just do a shorter term, so that you get a taste of what’s happening.) You can’t pay by the month, but you can choose a 1, 2, 3 or 5-year package that works out to a decent monthly amount.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I set up website, I click the domain privacy protection button. I don’t like my personal details out there for anyone to find. If you happen to work from home, it’s especially important that you consider a privacy plan – it doesn’t add very much and it keeps your address and other details private. Otherwise, just ignore all the special offers and details.

5. Add your billing details

website cc account details

 

 

 

 

 

Read the fine print and the terms, cancellation and privacy policy. If you agree, click submit.

6. Create your password.

website password setup

 

 

 

 

You’re almost there.

 

Click the Congratulations button.

congrats

And there you go. You’re done.

Okay. You’re all set up. You can set up your email, website or blog now.

While you can choose one of the website themes they offer, I generally stick with the themes that come with WordPress. That’s because themes get updates fairly regularly and you could be stuck with an out-of-date theme that hackers would exploit. (This has happened to me and it really hurt my brand. So now I make sure I use popular themes, not custom or one-off themes.)

Go check out your new domain – and don’t be surprised when you see it isn’t ready yet. It takes a while for all the new domain and name server info to percolate through the Internet. Give it a day or two. But, in the meantime, you can start building.

Click the all done button:

all done

Set up on WordPress

wordpress set up

 

 

Ta da!

So, from here, I would just click “I don’t need help.” Okay, I understand. You’re thinking, “BUT I DO NEED HELP!” I get it. It’s just that the options with the blue buttons come with things set up and then you might find you’re trying to undo some of what’s been set up. If you click “I don’t need any help”, you can start from scratch and just set up the way you want.

If you’re just doing a blog, you can simply have one page and do everything there.

If you’re doing a website, I recommend you do what I teach my university students! Set up the main home index page, About and Contact. From there, you might want to add pages for Blog, Services, Products. Keep it simple.

Check your email

Make sure you’ve activated any account and website links sent to you by Bluehost.

STUCK? HAVING TROUBLE? CONFUSED?

Contact Bluehost at https://www.bluehost.com/contact. Calling usually works better than chatting and, personally, I find I usually connect better with people on the phone, when I can hear their voice.  I don’t have your account information! Bluehost has all that and they can help you figure things out.

Enjoy your new website or blog!

Building Credibility with Potential Clients

Building credibility – it’s a one of the major skills that every professional needs. Whether you are working as an entrepreneur, consultant, running your own business, or a professional, you need to prove you can deliver well.

Establishing credibility can be difficult when you are just beginning — especially when you’re trying to prove your worth to a potential client who doesn’t know the real you yet. With a plan, you can build credibility and rapport and find new clients.

How to keep building credibility with potential clients

Speaking cordially and respectfully

People will form diverse opinions when they meet you for the first time. Whether or not those cold contacts and assumptions will be harnessed and turned into orders depends on how you speak and address them.
You need to make them feel comfortable, so they can openly talk about their challenges. You need to help them feel heard and then help them develop a vision for solving it – and, if appropriate, assure them it’s a problem you can solve and that you can attend to their needs promptly.
You need to take a respectful, cordial approach and restate your capabilities.
No need for overbearing kindness or hoking concern. But, by seeing your clients as people like you, showing respect and giving them the attention they deserve can work wonders.

And use clear, consistent communication. If you sound hazy and ambiguous, it will be difficult for many to trust you, whereas clear, accurate, dependable communication will improve understanding and trust.

Allow their questions to land with you. Let the potential client feel heard. Give prompt, thoughtful answers.

Networking

With networking and proper social contacts, you can build credibility with potential clients. People prefer to deal with those they know and trust.

Check in with contacts on a regular schedule – frequent contact, conversation and more formal discussions helps keep you front of mind, but it also lets them know that you are part of their world. Be sure to be genuine and to respect boundaries, while steering away from anything that feels like it’s just to get the sale. Over time, those connections will build trust and referrals.

Writing

Consider using published works to establish your credibility.

  • Publish blog articles
  • Write newsletter pieces
  • Guest post on other blogs and websites
  • Write letters to the editor
  • Write for trade and professional journals
  • You could also write and deliver speeches on topics in your field.

Publishing your works will help establish you as a thought leader, well before you need to write a proposal for a potential client.

Social Media

Consider turning to social media to engage in conversations and build your reputation as a thoughtful leader in your field. You can look at short tweets, build a following on Instagram or even develop video blogs that let people really get to know you and your vision.

Speaking

Speaking at events and even to small groups can also help people get to know you. Once you’re given a podium, people naturally start to see your authority. If this seems overwhelming, keep in mind that you can build up to it, leverage other ways of communicating or work on your skills through a safe space, such as Toastmasters.

Efficient Delivery

Consistent, as-promised delivery stands out. It’s essential to building credibility with both ongoing clients and potential ones.
With efficient and good service, you’ll retain existing clients and encourage them to refer you to others. That good work fosters trust and durability. It’s the best form of ‘social proof’ out there.

None of this suggests that you make too much out of the ordinary. We speak, write, network and meet with people every day.

But keeping your credibility and good faith in mind as you go through your business day and processes will help build trust and authority with clients – and establish you as a preferred provider, worthy of your consulting fees, trust and time. Work at it and you’ll be on your way to building credibility with potential clients, existing clients and the world at large.

 

 

Related:

Advocacy – a Client Care and Communication Course from CareQuadrant

How to use an iPad mini for business

You can use an iPad mini in your business – it’s not just for games and Netflix. The iPad mini turns out to be a valuable business tool.

For example, here’s the iPad Mini:

How to use an iPad mini for business

Combined with a Bluetooth keyboard, case and stylus, you can use your iPad to:

  • Take notes – use the Evernote app to jot down thoughts and points during meetings, when you’re standing in line or waiting for things to get started
  • Create, edit and collaborate on documents using Google Drive’s spreadsheet, document and presentation tools
  • Email – ’nuff said
  • Make video and voice calls – use FaceTime, Skype and other tools, along with your earbuds, to make calls from anywhere
  • Meet – whether you use GoToMeeting or just get creative with voice and video tools, you can run a meeting from anywhere
  • Access your files – DropBox and other cloud-based tools allow you to access your documents from anywhere
  • Present documents like you would on paper – just open up a PDF or other document on your iPad and swipe through it. Or bring along a presentation, report, whitepaper, video or other document.
  • Get the power of your phone without a tiny screen – you probably can’t go without your smartphone, but an iPad can give you that bigger screen and ease of sharing with a client that a phone makes difficult.
  • Gain portability – an iPad is easier to slip into your folio, purse or briefcase, without adding the weight of a laptop.

Do you use an iPad or other tablet in your business? Tell us how you use an iPad mini for business.

Disclaimer: Consultant Journal is part of the Amazon affiliate program.

Inbound marketing for small businesses

Inbound marketing for small businesses – that’s the art of getting clients to come to you. When many people think of marketing, they think of pushy salespeople. But that’s more of an old school approach. Many small businesses increasingly pursue inbound marketing techniques that bring clients to them.

With inbound marketing, small businesses – and organizations of all sizes – make it easy for clients to find them and interact with them.

Inbound marketing brings clients and customers in

Instead of pushing your business at customers, inbound marketing puts you and your businesses where those clients are, so that you can start establishing and building a relationship based on trust. Inbound marketing means:

  • Creating and distributing content
  • Developing lifecycle-based marketing and relationship tools for every step of the customer relationship and lifecycle
  • Tailoring and personalizing content to the individuals in your audience
  • Approaching people in the channels where they want to interact, how they want to interact
  • Integrating content and messages throughout all your tools and media
  • Getting permission to keep the relationship going

Inbound marketing examples for small businesses

Some examples of inbound marketing – used by small businesses and even large ones – include:

  • Blogs
  • Articles
  • Whitepapers
  • Videos
  • Presentations
  • Speaking
  • Event marketing
  • Search engine optimization
  • Social media
  • Pay per click advertising
  • Content marketing

Inbound marketing builds trust

With inbound marketing, you provide the information clients need, as they need it, where they need it. By holding out trustworthy, well-developed content, you establish your business as an authority and a brand of trust.

How do you market to your clients?

Related to inbound marketing

Professional email address ideas for common names

Your professional email address may be one of the first ways you make an impression upon prospective clients, employers and contacts. And it’s one thing to come up with a professional-sounding email address if your name stands out. But if you have a name like Robert Smith, Jane Jones, Meiling Li, Jose Martinez or Mo Khan, there’s a good chance your name has already been taken. So what do you do then?

First, read our post on Seven terrible secrets revealed by your email address. You want to be sure that you’re not making the common mistakes that people with any old name might make. So start there.

But, say you’ve already done that. What do you do when your name is taken?

What you can do about your professional email address when your name is taken

Before we get started, it’s important to know any rules related to the host for your email. For example, Gmail does not treat periods as periods. So email to jane.jones and janejones goes to the same person. It’s the same account. If there’s already a janejones, you won’t be able to sign on as jane.jones or jane-jones. But other email providers may allow you to do so.

Click here to send these tips to yourself right now.

Combine your names

  • First name + last name = RobertSmith
  • First name . last name = Robert.smith
  • First name – last name = Robert-Smith
  • First name + middle initial + last name = RobertTSmith
  • First initial + middle name + last name = RTrevorSmith
  • First initial + middle initial + last name = RTSmith
  • First name + middle name + last name = RobertTrevorSmith
  • First initial + middle name + last name = RTrevorSmith

Modify your name:

  • RobSmith
  • RbtSmith
  • RobTrevSmith
  • RobertTrevSmith
  • RTrevSmith

Invert your name:

  • SmithRobert
  • SmithRT
  • SmithRob

However, if you invert your name, some people may forget and transpose the names. Then RobertSmith may start getting your email.

Combine your name with your business, profession, degree or city

  • RobertMLTLaw
  • RobertLawyer
  • RobertChicago
  • RobertSmithLawyer
  • RobertSmithChicago
  • RobertSmithLogistics
  • RSmithMBA
  • RobertSmithMD

Honestly, the best way to solve this is to set up your own professional email address, where you can customize your email to what works for you. Bluehost, our affiliate partner, includes free email addresses and a domain with their $2.95 a month web hosting package. Click here to visit them. 

Business email address examples

You can use name combinations, but, if you have a business, you may want to make sure that you don’t run into multiple people with the same name. You could add a last initial to a first name, such as ChrisD or JorieT. But, if you’re setting up a business email address, we strongly recommend that you set up a business domain and website.

Associations

Did your college give you a lifelong email address? Find out if your old email address is still available or sign up for an alumni account. MoKahn@almamater or mkhan@alumni.almamater may be an easier find than MoKhan@ major email provider.

You can also check with your industry, professional or other associations to see if they offer a lifetime email address.

Set up your own domain

Buy a domain and simply forward the email to your favourite email provider, regardless of whether you have a website set up. You don’t need to have a website to forward your email. Click here for hosting information – we are Bluehost affiliates.

Set up an email address for a specific purpose and forward it

Some people find that they can stick with the long, unwieldy or typo-prone email they’ve been using for years. They do this by setting up a separate email account and forwarding it. So jobhuntrobert@ may be forwarded to RobertTrevSmith82. Some email providers will even allow you to set it up so that you respond from the same account, meaning no one will ever know your secret identity, at least not when you’re replying to recruiters.

Set your email to show your name, not your address

Make sure your email is set up so that messages say, “Jane Jones” or “Jane K. Jones” not “jjonesengineer@”. And use your full name. A client, recruiter or business contact scanning a list of recent emails or trying to search a huge history will not be able to tell “Jane” from all the other “Janes”.  And, honestly, if you’re not in elementary school, most people will need your last name to help distinguish you from others.

Whatever name you choose, keep it professional. And bear in mind the norms for your industry. In some cases, an email such as “TheRealMeilingLi”, “MrJoseMartinez” or “OhThatJaneJones” may produce a smile without reducing your credibility. This may go over better if you’re a graphic designer than if you’re a corporate tax attorney, so weigh up your choice.

Combine a Personalized Email Address, Website and Blog

You may have figured out how to set up a solid email account. But, to be honest, a generic email account will never bring the same respect that one with a brand behind it will.

Problems with Generic Email Addresses

You’re creating future problems. A generic email address from Gmail or your Internet Service Provider may suffice, but what if the email provider changes, closes or falls out of favour? Suddenly, you have to update all your contacts, but possibly also all your logins and accounts elsewhere.

You’re losing a chance to brand. With a personalized domain name, you can build on your professional brand identity, whether you own a company or not.

Creating a Personalized Domain Name

You don’t need a website to have a personalized domain name. In just minutes, you can set up a domain like FirstName@DomainName.com and set that email to automatically forward everything to your favoured email address. You can even configure Gmail or other email accounts to respond using that email address too. If you ever change Internet service providers or email accounts, the change will be invisible to your clients and contacts, since youre FirstName@DomainName.com can just point to the new account.

That being said, it can be even more powerful to sent up that domain to include a business card page, a profile, your professional social media contacts, or, ideally, your professional blog or website.

Why Build a Blog

If you receive my Six Tips for Building Your Expert Status emails, you already know I’m a huge fan of building your professional status by publishing and building authority. Building a blog is faster and easier than you might expect.

With a blog, you can publish and share articles or comment on other articles and content you share. It’s a way to build your voice, your professional brand, your credibility and more.

Why get your own website

With your own website, you can build an online presence – as a professional or as a company.  You can present your professional image, articles, photos…whatever you need to build out a brand. It can be a simple 5-page website or something far more sophisticated. Find out how to set up a website or blog here.

How to move forward with your professional address and website

Whether you’re building a domain name, blog or a website, you can take some of the same steps:

  1. Pick a focus
  2. Choose a platform
  3. Find somewhere to host your blog
  4. Select your domain name
  5. Set up and design your blog
  6. Start writing and posting
  7. Go live!

1. Picking a Focus for Your Blog

Take a few moment to consider:

Are you creating a blog or a website? A blog presents your posts. A website can offer up information about you, your resume, portfolio, services, testimonials – whatever you want. Setting up a website only takes a little more time, if you just want something basic.

What will your website or blog be about? Is it about you, your company, an approach, a specific topic?

Got an idea? Great! Let’s move.

2. Choose a platform

To put together a blog or website, you need a platform. I’ll come right out and say I prefer WordPress. You could choose something else, like HTML, Drupal, Wix, Shopify, Weebly or another service. But I like WordPress. I find it easy to use and I use it for all my personal and business sites…and it’s what I usually recommend for clients, too. It’s open source, has a ton of plug-ins, a large user community and it’s free.

3. Find somewhere to host your blog or website

Think of this part of your blog or website experience as the campsite for your tent! You’ve got all your camping gear ready, now where will you pitch your tent? You need somewhere to keep your blog or website. I suggest starting with a hosting provider that provides a lot of prepackaged services, if you’re just starting. You can always move up to your own server or more customized packages, if you’re more experienced or if your budget allows. I’ve signed up as an affiliate partner for Bluehost. I take you through all the steps to signing up here.

4. Select your domain name

A domain name – the URL for your website – should tie into your brand and your message. Your own name, your business name or another strong brand will likely work best. I like using the name suggestion tools at Nameboy and Webnames when I’m stuck for ideas. You can buy a domain name at one place and then port it over to the place you choose for hosting, but you may find it easier to keep everything at one place, if you’re still learning all this. Bluehost does both, which is one of the reasons I partnered with them.

5. Set up and design your blog

I recommend using one of the packaged themes, until you get a bit more used to things. You can also cruise through the templates at WordPress or ThemeForest.

6. Start writing and posting

You can just make a list of topics and start writing. But, for best results, you might want to create a bit of an editorial calendar – a list of what you’re going to write and when. I keep mine in a spreadsheet, but you could just as easily write it down or put it in a document or on an actual calendar.

7. Go live!

When you’re all set, release your work to the world! You can choose whether to use word of mouth, a marketing campaign or other strategies and tools to tell others.

If you want to set up your own site, you can look at the hosting packages at Bluehost, along with my post on how to sign up and set up your blog, website and domain. I’m an affiliate partner, which means I receive a commission if you sign up. These aren’t the only places you can get set up, but, when I took a look around for some packages to recommend, these seemed to be the best fit for Consultant Journal readers.

Looking for ways to build your expert status? Get our special mini course, 6 Tips for Jumpstarting Your Expert Status.

Consulting Fees – A Guide for Independent Consultants

Learn proven models for setting your consulting and freelance fees. Our new book trailer highlights some of the content and review from Consulting Fees: A Guide for Independent Consultants.

Almost 10 years ago, I wrote a post on how to set consulting fees. At the time, there was nothing else online. The post went viral and people started contacting me for more information. I’d dared to talk about money – a taboo subject – and, to top it off, I was sharing how I went about setting my fees. Soon, Consultant Journal had a loyal following and I’d published a short ebook. Over the years, I’ve expanded and refined that information to develop a full book, available both on this site and through bookstores worldwide.

Need help with your rates? Pick up a copy of Consulting Fees: A Guide for Independent Consultants.

Building a sustainable business means more than green choices

sustainable businessSustainable business – the phrase might make you think of green companies, but there’s something to be said for businesses that will be around for the long haul.
Back in the 90s, I was brought in to consult on a variety of businesses. It was the dot-com era and experienced CEOs were approaching me with inane business plans. I’d ask about the monetization strategy and they’d come back, telling me that convergence, consolidation and critical mass would create virtuous circles. And I’d say, “Nice buzz words. Where’s the business model?”, albeit with softer words. This was my first experience with sustainable business models.

Later, I worked with a company that pointed out the giant amount by which their revenue had grown the previous year. They asked me to double that growth. I took a look at the books and discovered they had never invoiced for any of it. They’d actually given away this vast sum. It was shocking. When I approached the company with a plan for how they could recoup this lost money and ensure cash flow for the year ahead, the CEO angrily informed me that I was there to do marketing, not accounting. Eventually, I got him on board and saved them well over a million dollars. That’s because I believe business continuity comes from looking outside your own silo to how the whole business works.

How you build and design your business comes from looking at what will be sustainable. And sustainability means more than looking at green choices. Sure, you might choose recycled paper for your business cards, wheat paper for your printer and carbon credits for your business trips – but what are you doing to build your business in a sustainable way?
Sustainability really comes down to your values and how they mesh with means of monetizing your business model. No business will run for long if It’s without profits. And your business position won’t last long if you’re not making choices that rest on sustainability in the social, cultural and economic sense.

Early on in my career, when I was still working as an employee, I was fortunate to have leaders and mentored who believed very much in corporate sustainability. They looked at how to engage and develop employees in their work, careers and lives and sought to do that with us. They asked employees to focus on how to grow the business with a focus on relationships. And my leaders and mentors modelled sustainability through their personal choices, arguing for healthy lunches at business meetings, bringing in fitness and exercise programs at the workplace, cutting work on a Friday to take us to a baseball game as a surprise, supporting employees who were ill and celebrating special moments in the lives of staff, while also inviting spouses and partners to key business events. Those early experiences shaped how I saw business could be.

In my own business, I’ve strived for sustainable choices. Even though it is not uncommon for marketing and media companies to bring on unpaid interns, this clashes with my values around human rights and, of course, setting consulting fees. My business also turns away potential clients when they don’t fit with our skillset, experiences, values or availability – or where we think they could get more bang for their buck elsewhere. These choices make my business stronger and more focused and win respect – while also ensuring that we do good in the world.

How do you build sustainability into business, employment, stakeholder and profit models?

Should you be on Facebook?

I got a call the other day, from a small business owner. They said they knew they didn’t need to be on Facebook because their market isn’t on Facebook.

“Who’s your target market?” I asked.

“Men with money.”

“Men with money are on Facebook,” I replied.

In fact, about 31% of Facebook users are 31-54, according to statistics from Jetscram.

And more than 72% of households with incomes above $75,000 use Facebook, according to Statista.

In fact, if you use Facebook ads, you can target users by income and other demographic factors.

However, PPC ads are just one way to get to people on Facebook. Facebook pages, social sharing, news stories, images and quotes and other content can reach people on Facebook.

But, even if your target market uses Facebook, it may not be the best place to meet your market. It makes a lot more sense to put together a marketing plan, based on research and strategy, and target your market based on careful thought.

I mean, sure, maybe your market is on Facebook. Maybe it’s on LinkedIn. Maybe it’s standing at a bus stop, looking at the daily paper. Maybe it’s in a board room, talking to other key influencers or at a concert, looking at a t-shirt. There are a million ways to market and Facebook – in all its iterations – poses just one method.

The more important thing is to figure out your market, the best way to reach them and the best messages and tools to use.

But don’t discount a medium just because you think your users eschew social media. Take the time to get to know your market – and the statistics behind the social medium. You might be surprised, for example, to see just how many key influencers and household decision makers use Facebook and LinkedIn. Make strategic decisions and take the time to learn more.

Related:
Should you market with PPC ads?
Putting together a business plan

You can’t market with a garden hose

So you’ve got things up and running, maybe running for a while. You’ve got your business in motion. But maybe you’ve hit a dry spell or you were busy with another project and stopped marketing or you’re still trying to get things off the ground. You’ve been talking up your business at events, reunions, family gatherings and on a variety of social media outlets. You’ve got your elevator pitch ready, you’ve got shiny business cards, a crisp new suit, and a good solid website. But there’s just one problem.

Nobody’s lining up.

What do you do?

Take a look at your basic sales skills.

Review your marketing plan. Have you created a system for building relationships with clients? It takes more than a few tweets, website clicks or hellos at a wine and cheese.

Keep your marketing active. Even veteran consultants can fall behind if they get caught up in big projects and stop marketing. Keep connected. Follow up with people you meet. Connect with other businesses. Check in with past leads.

Check your target audience. If you’re doing your marketing and nothing’s working, make sure you’re going after the right market. Now, perhaps you’ve been taking a broad approach because you’d honestly give anything to be working right now. I mean, work’s work, right?

Wrong.

Let’s say you’re washing your car. The front window has a blob of tree sap and blossoms on it. The rest of your car is in pretty good shape. If you could just get this one spot, things would go better.

Would you use the regular, glugging water from your garden hose to try to get something like that off? Would you turn use the gentle, fine mist to spray the whole front of your car, just to get at that spot?

Of course not!

You’d probably put the sprayer on the setting for a single, fast, hard stream. Maybe you’d incorporate a few other techniques – cleaners, soaps, a brush, sponge, even your hands. You’d work hard to get at it. And that’s what would work in the end. Using a fine mist to cover the whole front of the car – even if you’re busy washing the car anyway – isn’t going to hit the spot.

It’s the same with marketing your business. If you want marketing to hit the spot, you have to figure out where that spot is! Identify, profile and target your market. Own your niche.

Remember, you need to market all the time, not just when you’re out of clients. Turn marketing into an act of self care and nurture.

Related to marketing:

Why use WordPress to build your website

Networking for introverts