The following illustrates a typical situation I support where someone wants to go independent.
Peter was looking forward to a long weekend away. He’d promised to take his partner away as a reward for her support for his decision to go solo.
As a video specialist he’d worked his way up through several small agencies over the years.
However, 18 months ago he decide the time was right to set up on his own.
He wanted the freedom and control that being independent would offer.
He realised it would take some time to become established, but didn’t realise quite how tough it would be.
The video side was straight forward, even though the pace of change in technology and techniques was pretty rapid.
When he worked in the agencies it was the directors who won the new clients and projects, and assigned them to him and the team.
Now he had the responsibility for finding and winning clients and projects.
And it was something he realsies now that he was ill-prepared for.
He was technically good, got on very well with clients, frequently went above and beyond to deliver excellent customer service.
But finding and securing new projects while also running several concurrent existing projects was more challenging than he anticipated.
Before he left his previous firm he had been able to do some planning and preparation.
- He realised that his contract prevented him from poaching their clients
- So he had spend some time building up his own network, online and face-to-face.
- He’d realised he was good at a particular type of video work and he felt there was good demand for it.
What he hadn’t anticipated was:
- The protracted timescales from initial contact to commissioning, to execution to invoicing to receiving the money.
- The number of contacts and touches he would need to make in order to secure sufficient business
- Just how complex marketing, selling and business development could be, with so much ‘free’ advice available.
What he was fortunate to do was to be guided to make sensible choices
- To go back through previous contacts and re-connect and talk with them
- To update his LinkedIn profile and increase his visibility is a targeted way
- To target a small number of new companies and agencies and get close to them
- To identify a small group of complimentary suppliers who could refer him in to opportunities.
Over the year his successes included:
- Being very clear about his purpose
- Getting a clear positioning in the market
- Winning 12 new client, a few of which led to several assignments
- He’d created several showcase examples for LinkedIn, and doubled his connections
- And he;d learned the fundamentals of business development that were right-sized to someone going independent with limited time, resources and capacity.
And now he was looking forward to the weekend, and to the year ahead.