Last week, I talked about how to network your way to business person status. To recap, a business person is someone …
… who can transcend the product or service to reach a higher ground—the ability to understand, articulate, and drive the contribution their business can make to the client’s business.
Most of us started off with expertise in a single area—that of web designer and/or developer. That’s a good thing; your client should be convinced that you understand web technologies. But there are two other areas of expertise to which you can aspire.
For many of us, it’s not a stretch to become knowledgeable in this area—even if SEO isn’t your specialty. Personally, I couldn’t optimize my way out of a paper bag. But I can talk about the subject with a level of expertise that will demonstrate to a client that I have a grasp on web marketing.
My company is in the process of putting together a team to evaluate how to integrate social into our marketing strategy. But management has made it clear that our endeavors must eventually result in achieving tangible business goals like building brand awareness, attracting new customers, and—ultimately—increasing revenue.
Likewise, your client must be assured that everything you do will contribute to his bottom line.
Becoming a Recognized Business and Community Leader
The difference between being a business expert and a business leader is recognition. Having the best website or blog in your niche that no one can find will hinder your success. So will lack of recognition.
Getting recognized doesn’t require that you be an extrovert. Ivan Misner, public speaker and founder of the world’s largest networking organization, is a self-professed introvert. But introvert or not, you do need good communication skills.
Nor is recognition merely popularity. While the cult of personality can and does surround many leaders, business and otherwise, lasting recognition comes from an entirely different path. Commenting on last week’s article, Sam Brody of Insurance Beanstalk, had this to say:
I moved to a new town, when I moved I decided it was time to get my son involved in volunteering (I had as of yet to volunteer a day in my life), so we started, there wasn’t anywhere for him to volunteer to we started community revolution to inspire the town, I then started volunteering for every organization I could find, I loved it, I became obsessed with helping. Before I knew it people were calling me a community leader, I was approached by the local republican party to run for mayor, I was in the newspaper at least twice a month (normally on the front page) and my insurance sales shot through the roof.
It turns around to the fact that the best leaders are the best servants, people follow and partner with the best leaders … serve others and people will follow.
So with all this networking and community involvement, when do you have time to actually develop websites? That’s the freelancer’s conundrum—finding time to both market and run your business. Hey, I never said it would be easy. If you think it’s too much work, you can always cold-call instead.
Former owner and partner of web firm Jenesis Technologies, John is currently Director of Digital Strategy at Haines Local Search, a company providing local search marketing solutions to SMBs, including print and Internet Yellow Pages, web design, and local SEO. When not working or spending time with his family, John offers great sales and marketing advice on his blog, Small Business Marketing Sucks.