(Updated in January 2022)
If you have a profile on LinkedIn, you’ve probably noticed that the site regularly points out when your contacts have a work anniversary. Somehow, my own milestone always seems to slide past without comment. So let me say on LinkedIn’s behalf, “Congratulate Sue on 27 years with Get It Write”!
Yes, it’s true. January marks the start of 32 years of running my own business.
The anniversary usually passes without comment here at Get It Write headquarters, too. It was only by coincidence that I posted some thoughts in January 2014 for others thinking about hanging out their shingle, in response to a friend’s question.
The post has lots of specific recommendations for people contemplating the independent life, such as “get a website” and “join your industry association.” (Go read it, I’ll wait!) But the advice can be summed up in these four areas:
- Be visible. That means having a website, being active on social media, joining your industry association, getting out and networking. Be able to (gently) honk your own horn. Consider a blog, a newsletter, a podcast or other ways to share/show your expertise.
- “Old school” still has value in a digital world. You still need to write thank you notes, volunteer your services, keep up your education, and for heaven’s sake, call or meet with people in person occasionally rather than always relying on email. Listen to your gut. Do good work. Be trustworthy.
- Spread the word. Find work through connections, networking, word of mouth, prospecting, letting friends and family know what you do. Think about who your perfect clients are and go after them.
- Build a virtual team. You may work by yourself but you aren’t alone. Get the support you need, especially an accountant. You might also need a lawyer, computer and web support, a virtual assistant, maybe a coach or an accountability buddy. Stay connected with other independents who offer similar or complementary services; for instance, writers and graphic designers go together like peanut butter and jelly. You’re even more valuable to your clients when you can connect them to other suppliers.
I’m grateful to the clients who have turned to me for writing support, some over many years. And I’m grateful to the other indies (especially within IABC/Toronto’s Professional Independent Communicators) who have partnered with me, exchanged leads with me, laughed and lamented with me. The years have flown past.
If you are an independent, does my advice ring true for you? If you’re thinking about becoming one, does it encourage you to take the leap?
Image: “Rawich” and FreeDigitalPhotos.net.