Captain’s log, stardate 20170816
Sent by Jonathan Stark on August 16th, 2017
A number of people have written in with questions and comments about the outreach campaign that I’m currently undertaking. Folks are expressing thoughts like:
I hear you. Not everyone is starting from the same place, and not everyone has the same inherent strengths. I’m going to suggest a way to think about this that I think will help, but first I need to set some context.
If you are a service provider (e.g. freelancer, consultant, agency, firm, dev shop, etc) you’re in the relationship business.
To grow, you need to be willing to build relationships.
You don’t have to be amazing at it, but you have to be willing to work on it.
(NOTE: If you are not willing to work on it, you will fail. Instead, go get a full time job at someone else’s business.)
Here’s a tip for folks who feel like their relationship building skills are kinda weak or maybe just a little rusty:
Focus on helping people who need your expertise.
You have a set of relatively unusual skills and capabilities - your expertise. You know that there are people in the world who would benefit from the application of your expertise.
Find them and help them.
This does not have to be about closing deals, or working for peanuts, or giving away your expertise for free. It’s about doing what you can to help people who are in need.
A few examples:
This is the easiest and most effective way I can think of to build relationships, even for an introvert.
If a sales-y term like “outreach” makes you squeamish, label it more like what it really is:
You can do that, right?
P.S. One of the most helpful things you can do for your clients is to stop billing them by the hour. Not sure what I mean? Check out http://HourlyBillingIsNuts.com