It’s been a little over a year since I started trying to figure out what I wanted to do career-wise, mainly in the form of being an employee, employer or self-employed. I was lucky to land clients/projects immediately since I started my new venture as being self-employed. Six months after that, I was at full capacity and completely booked. Since then, things have been a little chaotic in terms of managing my time and this year, my goal is to push through and ask myself, not only who’s next, but what’s next after this.
I was recently asked about what it takes to grow as an individual doing freelancing or consulting who wants to gain more clients or develop their network. At the core, booking clients, managing any type of business (whether product or service based) and cultivating a network is all about knowing how to create and maintain relationships. You might roll your eyes and think you already know what it takes to form or keep a relationship, but hear me out on why what I’m featuring is crucial life and business advice. These are my top practical and necessary tips for business and personal growth.
TIP 1: Learn How to STFU (Show The Fuck Up)
This is for life in general, not just for business and career purposes, but SHOW. UP. SHOW THE FUCK UP. So many people nowadays, primarily the millennial generation, have an issue with committing to anything and that’s a really big problem. You want to know why robots are taking over our lives and jobs? Robots show up, do the work, they’re efficient and committal. You don’t have to worry about the performance of a robot because they are 100% all the time and that’s why people rely on them.
Most people won’t take the time and effort to attend a networking event, a career fair or a coffee meet up, let alone, BE PRESENT. It’s so essential to have face-to-face, in person interactions with people whether it’s a colleague you want referring business to you or a potential client. If you can’t doing something as simple as showing the F up in life and be present, how is a prospect going to be able to trust you with their business?
When you’re able to answer that question and distinguish your value, that’s the confidence you need to bring with you everywhere you go. But before you start showing up in life to prove your value, you need to actually determine the worth you want people to know about.
TIP 2: The Conversion Formula That Determines Your Exchange Value
When we spend or make our money, the true value doesn’t lie in the tangible item like the paper dollar or the silver coin. We determine our money’s true value in time and we’re most sensitively attached to that value the moment we think of giving our money away. When we let go of money, we’re trusting a very particular exchange with our time and resources.
At the point a potential client decides they’re going to outsource a particular task or job to someone else, they’re essentially communicating, “My time would be better spent doing something else. I don’t have time to take on this task. I don’t have time to learn how to be an expert on this task. Let me move this time around and delegate it to someone else.” Guess what that translates into? The time they used to make the money that is now an exchange to you for your time.
What’s the value of your potential client’s time and resources, and who are they willing to give it to? You need to be able to prove that it should be you. Put yourself in your prospect’s shoes and ask in the mirror, “Are you worth my time?” That’s the question you need to answer for them.
*This can also be applied to yourself when deciding what gigs or collaborations you pick up. When you’re trying to determine your retainer or hourly fee, does that money actually convert to the worth of the time you’ll be giving up to that someone? This conversion formula goes both ways.
TIP 3: Follow Up and Follow Through
Check in with people every quarter or as often as it makes sense to you. It’s hard to be on top of mind of another person if you’re not constantly in their presence. Following someone on social media isn’t enough. Checking in through a direct text/email message or phone call that’s personable is going to go a long way. And be genuine about it.
If you think that other person or business is valuable then act like it and demonstrate it. Invest your time in understanding that person as a human being or a brand. If they’re active/vocal on social media, take the time to learn what they like to share or engage on. If they’re not on social media, then resort to traditional methods of communicating. Like showing up to a lunch. You read tip #1, right?
Whether you’re meeting someone for the first time or doing a routine check-up with someone you already know, think of yourself as resource and ask, “What have you been having issues with lately?” Figure out how you can help them. If you can help that other person in a very unconventional way, in a way that you typically wouldn’t offer or in a way that they wouldn’t expect from you, the next time the light bulb goes off in their head, they’ll think of you because you’ve left an unforgettable, hopefully positive impression of who you are. They’ll understand that you’re someone they can rely on.
Speaking of offering to help, go 100 and follow through with what you offer. Don’t go cheap or lazy on them. Take a leap.
TIP 4: No Opportunity Left Behind
Think of every step of the way as an opportunity and a chance to be creative. I say that because oftentimes when we’re presented with challenges, the first reaction we have is to shut down and assume there’s no way for us to move forward just because of the many things that are seemingly holding us back.
But the real thing that’s holding us back is our perspective. If we take a moment to shift our way of thinking, that’s where the true magic happens. It becomes a complete game changer! Turn your challenges around and shape shift them into opportunities in the most creative ways imaginable. Every time you close the door of the obstacle, you’ll actually open up the window of opportunity simultaneously.
Two really great quotes that help support my fourth tip are:
- “The day you plant the seed is not the same day you eat the fruit.” – Unknown
- “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” – Albert Einstein
Don’t wallow in your misfortunes. Confront your obstacles by believing that they’re actually opportunities waiting to be converted into an advantage for you. That conversion is only going to work if you do the math in your head and adopt the mindset.