Bolingbrook, IL (PressExposure) June 11, 2009 -- When Diana Schneidman found herself unemployed in 2003, she knew from experience that finding full-time employment takes patience and persistence.
She also knew, again from experience, that freelancing and consulting provide a welcome break from the stress of the job campaign while generating much needed income.
So this time she generated work in record time by phoning the companies most likely to need her services.
Schneidman, of Bolingbrook, IL, a Chicago suburb, has applied what she learned by creating a coaching practice, named Stand Up 8 Times, to help unemployed and underemployed people who want to start making money quickly as freelancers or consultants. The business is named after a Japanese proverb, âFall down seven times, stand up eight,â and refers to the quality of resilience that is essential to building a business.
From her experience and the stories of others, she developed a three-step system to teach how to build a clientele quickly.
Do what you know
The first step, says Schneidman, is to offer a service as similar as possible to what you did in your last good full-time job. Youâll have the most self-confidence in offering the work you know best. And you will have the qualificationsâyears of experience, success stories and war stories, portfolio, college degrees, certificates and credentials, association membershipsâthat will easily convince prospects that you are the best talent for the assignment.
Remember that freelancers and consultants must be able to work independently. The stronger your background in the specific work and industry, the easier it will be to produce client-pleasing work that meets tight deadlines from the relative isolation of a home office.
The alternative to this advice? Well, many advisors recommend that you determine your passion and pursue it wholeheartedly. âSounds good,â notes Schneidman, âbut in practice, itâs easiest to get paying assignments fast when you have relevant experience.â
Be proactive in contacting prospects
Second, contact the best prospects individually. Telephoning is especially effective. Your best prospects are employed at full-time corporate jobs and work under a great deal of pressure. Though self-employed individuals may find time to explore Facebook, Twitter and networking events, the people who hire freelancers are engulfed in on-the-job fire fighting. âThey are too busy to note your existence unless you reach out and tap them directly on the figurative shoulder,â Schneidman adds.
Set a reasonable timetable
Third, get real! Define âquicklyâ as 30 days, not 30 minutes or even 30 seconds. Much as you would like to start making money with your first phone call, this rarely happens. It may require substantial numbers of phone calls, but with self-discipline, these can be completed in a month or less.
Most other prospecting techniques require much more time to kick in. In-person networking and online social networking require prospects to know, like and trust you; obviously such relationships require nurturing over time. Website development, blogging and other sophisticated practices also may require several months or much longer to fill your practice.
While the three action steps above are not ideal for everyone (and conflict with much of the advice out there), they may be just right for you, Schneidman suggests.
Schneidman started freelancing in 1992, specializing in the insurance (and later asset management) industries where she had on-the-job experience.