Guest Post by Logan - If you’ve become newly self-employed, congratulations! The world of self-employment is exciting and can mean you have the opportunity to set your own hours, work from the comfort of home and be your own boss. There are also many pitfalls for the newly self-employed. If you’re looking not only to be your own boss, but also be successful at it, here are a few tips.
Get Out There
Sure, working from home is great, but that’s really more of an expression than a code to live by. You won’t be able to attract much business from the couch in your living room. If you’re serious about getting out there and getting work, your best bet is to join a professional organization or a chamber of commerce. These are great networking organizations and usually there is a period for business referrals. This also gives you a chance to form relationships with the other business leaders in town and you can pick their brain for ideas about how to succeed in business. Remember that every one you meet is a potential customer, so treat everyone with respect.
Don’t Be Pushy
As I mentioned before, everyone you meet is a potential customer so treat everyone well. That being said, don’t constantly be pushing your product or service on others. This can seem very cold and come across as pushy. Your best bet is to form real relationships with people. Then when the time comes and they actually are in the market for your product or service, they’ll come to you, because you have a friendship with them already. People are much more likely to buy from a friend than from a pushy salesperson.
You’re working from home (although we’ve already discussed that that isn’t necessarily geographically accurate). You’re setting your own hours. You can determine your own uniform each day. You’re basically living the dream that a lot of business people have. Use this to your advantage. Don’t be overly formal because that’s what you think other business people want to see.
This doesn’t mean that you need to be making wisecracks every few minutes, but when you’re discussing business with a client, show them that you’re not encumbered by a ton of red tape and corporate bureaucracy. This is one of your greatest assets as a self-employed individual. Show your clients that you’re free to do what you want and if they have a request that is a little odd or wouldn’t fly at most corporate operations because of bureaucracy, do your best to make it happen.
For example, I worked at a bank very early in my career and I was given the task of crafting the company “Holiday Letter.” I was told to include a section about my “Holiday Wish List.” I wrote the letter and turned it into my superior and was promptly called into his office.
I was told that I was not allowed to make any specific references to Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanza because I didn’t want to offend one of the 50,000 employees of the bank. I thought this was ridiculous, but I made the change anyway. As a self-employed person, I can now wish one of my Jewish customers a happy Hanukkah without worrying that my boss will jump down my throat about it.
There are many advantages to being self-employed but don’t undo them by making one of these mistakes. Do your best work and be as sociable as possible and you will find success as your own boss.
Logan is a guest writer who writes about working from home and self employed individuals who handle everything from courier jobs to accounting jobs.
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