Updated: Feb 25, 2020
According to the Freelancers Union, 56.7 million American's freelanced in 2019. The gig economy just keeps growing, and beyond the gig economy with tech advancing rapidly many companies are moving to full remote workforces. So, unlike at the office where you can pop into the bosses office for a quick chat or run into someone in the lunchroom to engage, as a freelancer or remote worker, you need to employ new strategies to stay on the path to success.
Marketing isn't just for products and businesses, it's important to remember that everyone is marketing themselves all of the time. You need to build and maintain your personal brand in order to stay top of mind. Sally Hogshead writes about this in her book, "How the World Sees You". Knowing how to stay top of mind (in a positive way) and stand out against a crowded field is essential to success. Sally writes in her book, "To become more successful, you do not have to change who you are—you have to become more of who you are." So, just how do you do that, become more of who you are?
1. Be More Of You
Sounds kind of weird, right? But it's wise advice. One of the worst things you can do as a remote worker or freelancer is to stay quiet and blend in to a crowded space. There's things about you that are totally unique; maybe you're amazingly detail oriented, maybe you have keen insights, maybe you're amazingly proficient and navigating systems, and maybe you're cutting edge and innovative. Knowing what your strengths are and ensuring you communicate them and around them through your actions, is one of the biggest ways to keep top of mind in a digital workplace.
After all, out of sight, out of mind. If you're just standing on your skillsets you're making yourself a commodity. Lots of people can use the same software, lots of people can run budgets or organize events, but it's how you do it that makes the difference.
2. Communicate Often
There's an old sales adage that applies to just about everything in the world of remote work. "The fortune is in the follow up." This means follow up after meetings by sending a re-cap email, texting or messaging customers/clients/remote employers your workflow links to Asana or other productivity software. Sure you've got them connected to the project boards, but don't assume they are watching. Email people on your team with cool achievements/developments, frame it in a way that makes the whole team shine, after all when one person does well, everyone benefits. (Plus it will help cut down on any jealousy issues.)
Speaking of jealousy, just because you work remotely or as a contractor doesn't make that green eyed monster go away, you'll still have to deal with some of those silly political situations. Here's the deal, communicate anyway. Don't let the fear of what other people think stop you from creating your brand. Be sure to celebrate your virtual teammates or remote colleagues to enhance team relationships. Distance means you're going to have to work a little harder to make those relationships work.
3. Keep Up To Date with 21st Century Sales Techniques
Just like everyone is always marketing, you're always selling, too. Whether you're trying to get a buy in on a project or get new equipment for your office, or if you're trying to get a service contract renewed, you're selling something. As a freelancer especially, but even as remote staff, using the sales methods that worked in the 20th century just does not cut it in today's market. According to CEO and Founder of Salesteam6, Peter Frumenti, one of the biggest mistakes people make is focusing on sales instead of service, "Focusing on selling instead of serving is one of the single biggest mistakes people make. Business owners hate sales because they often feel they have to be pushy or salesy. They hate it so much they make the second biggest mistake which is outsourcing it before they are ready." He goes on to explain, "The same goes for highlighting your personal brand. When you're so focused on what's in it for you, versus the team you're working with or on, or making success solely about your personal goals; you're just not going to make it in the current economy. That's not to say the bottom line isn't important, everyone has bills, but if that's your only motivation, you're just going to keep struggling."
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