I just did something that terrifies me. But sometimes it’s necessary to do that to advance in life.
Like most people, the thought of “putting myself out there” in almost any context is frightening. But I know if I ever want to take my skills to the next level, I need to get some clients. And to get clients, I have to start getting the word out there.
Truth be told, I’ve been putting this off for some time. It’s easy to feel like I’m not ready to take this step. But people are rarely completely ready for any important step they take. Also, even if it turns that I’m actually not ready for this, I’ll at least have a better idea of what skills I need to acquire or improve.
Making your presence known
One thing I didn’t do is just start pitching people out of the blue. We’ve all been around someone who is constantly networking, giving the elevator pitch to practically everyone they meet. I don’t know about you, but I often find it uncomfortable to be around people who do that for too long. It can come off as desperate, and desperation isn’t a good look on anyone.
That said, there’s a kernel of a good idea in that kind of behavior. People can’t buy what you’re selling if they don’t know you’re selling it. But there are ways of promoting yourself that don’t alienate other people so much.
We have a small startup/tech scene in this town, and some of its leaders have started regular meetups. They aren’t usually networking events per se, although networking does take place. The events are mostly for exchanging ideas and sometimes just sharing experiences.
I’ve been going to these events pretty regularly but hadn’t really talked much about what opportunities I was looking for until recently. At a meetup last week, someone suggested to me that I set up a profile on Create Denton, which lists all sorts of creative people (there’s a section for musicians, for instance). I had seen the site before but had hesitated to register because I didn’t think my skills were up to the level of most of the people on there. And they probably aren’t.
But that doesn’t mean I can’t solve somebody’s problem somewhere. Could I set up a basic site for an individual or small business? I feel pretty confident that I can do that. In my profile I’m honest about my skill and experience levels.
So that’s what I’ve done. I am now listed on Create Denton. For now I’m listed as a programmer, but I have design listed as a skill, just because I have more programming experience in general. If design stuff really takes off for me, I’ll list myself as a designer.
Will I get clients this way?
I don’t know. But I will keep you posted. It’s important sometimes to know what doesn’t work so you don’t waste your time on it.
Another possibility that I mention in my profile is helping on a small part of a larger project. That’s another way to gain valuable experience. Maybe a local business wants somebody to handle their social media accounts for a few hours a week. That’s something I could do.
What steps have you taken to get clients for your business? Sound off in the comments!