I completely identify with your struggle to market yourself. Marketing is still somewhat of a distasteful concept to the public. As a CMO, I’m in the industry daily and the word still conjures up images of used car salesmen or telemarketers. So what do solopreneurs do? Here are 3 marketing tips.
1. Realize marketing is evil only if it markets evil things.
As a consultant, this is the biggest obstacle for many solopreneurs I work with. Speakers, creatives, freelancers, independent contractors—many are proud of their product but act like it’s borderline evil to tell anyone.
But I get it. Marketing myself used to be a struggle until I realized I made people a lot of money, helped maximize their potential, and improved their livelihood. My boss sleeps better at night because of my work. Non-profits are more successful in their causes because of my work. Solopreneurs increase their revenue because of my work. It’s not arrogance, it’s fact. Here’s a valuable marketing tenet: It’s not bragging if it’s true.
Here are two other points in question-form to help:
2. What is different about you?
If you don’t tell people what makes you different, they will default to making choices based on price and location. Whole Foods isn’t just more expensive, it’s different. That’s why people drive out of the way to buy food there. To many, it’s worth the extra cash and travel. What about your product or service makes it worth the extra cash and travel?
3. What frustrations do people have with your competition?
I regularly contract freelance designers. Two of my biggest frustrations with them involve limited options and missed deadlines. Several years ago, I shared my frustrations with a friend. He recommended Andrew, a designer from a NYC studio. Andrew’s work could have looked like trash and I still would have been happy as long he gave me options and hit deadlines. Turned out he was awesome and I contracted him for several more projects. His work was great, but our business relationship started solely based on my frustrations with his competition.
Solopreneur marketing comes down to building relationships with potential clients. All relationships need a starting point, which is what these two questions help identify.
Case-in-point: I’ve just built more relationship with you by sharing this info on my blog for free. That’s different from other consultants. People in my niche are frustrated because solopreneurs, small businesses, or non-profits don’t want to or often can’t afford to pay consulting fees before they know what they’re going to get.
It’s the same with you. Your market is waiting for someone different, someone that fixes their frustrations. Get to work!
Question: What is your greatest challenge marketing as a solopreneur?