It could be time to prove you can actually do what you’ve been telling everyone you can do.
Our authority doesn’t come from what we claim ourselves. It comes through how we demonstrate it.
Lately I’ve been dabbling with micro-taskers. I have my full time team but the new gig economy intrigues me. So what does it take to get that gig? What does it take to get that new client or job? How can I get past the ’trust’ barrier?
The son of a friend of ours has just finished digital design and web design at college. He’s been offered an internship with a local startup. The problem is that ‘internship’ rhymes with ‘no pay’. So if he was to take on the job then he’d need to be working part time at something else – pulling beers or coffee or behind a shop counter.
I don’t think he’s going to take the job.
He’s after a decent salary. That’s cool and I understand. But the problem is that he’s a graduate and one of 1,000 other graduates competing for the same job. It won’t happen.
So B, if you’re reading this, take the internship and look for a part time job to live on.
You’ll be building your CV and getting some real World experience under your belt. You will probably go through 3 or 4 of these internships before you finally get a salary offer. That’s reality. Suck it up. We’ve all had to do it.
Personally I spent the first 3 years of my Music Production career hustling studio time and gigs with only the occasional payday. But what happened? It paid. Big time. I demonstrated my skill over and over again until I was too valuable not to pay.
Give ’till it Works
Be generous with your time and skills.
Give something of real value that you’d do regardless of the opportunity motivation.
When you’re in front of your prospective client:
- Make clear your objectives from the outset.
- Describe what you hope to achieve by giving your time and skill freely to them.
- Let them know you are confident you’ll get the gig and they’ll be more than happy with the result.
- Be straight, clear and transparent.
Reward naturally follows generosity and often from places you least expect.
The most productive thing you can do when engaging a new client is to clearly demonstrate what you’re selling: your abilities, products or services.
As an accountant courting small business owners give them an hour of your time and an encyclopedia of your wisdom.
You’re a creative? Work for free on beats for that small production company that may just become a big one.
Web designer? Build a new mobile responsive website for the local dentist – for free.
In these three examples we’ve clearly demonstrated our skills and knowledge. And what has it cost us? A bit of time and effort.
I’ve always worked like this. Even as far back as when I operated a mobile disco (yes, it was the 1980s and I was in High School) – offering a whole event free just to prove that what I had was worth paying for.
While traditional brick & mortar product type business may find it more difficult to do, it seems to be the norm for the new digital economy.
Take a look at all the Internet startups today and see who’s not giving a huge amount of stuff away to gain traction in their market.
And for those traditional businesses, there are other things aside from physical products you could provide your clients – valuable information, in-depth education, service opportunities, help with the other’s engineering or design requirements. Good operators do this already.
The good old family company, Bolwell Corporation does it with new clients by providing free designs and rapid prototypes, delivered quickly and unexpectedly, usually at the next follow up meeting, clearly demonstrating the company’s commitment and skill before the client even has time to consider other options.
I’ve seen this work many many times over.
I’ve used it in advancing my music career and more explicitly later on when courting multi-million dollar clients for the family company.
It’s always worked for me – finding my way into a music production company; offering marketing services to a small business owner or vying for a contract with a multinational’s purchasing manager. It’s all the same.
What others say about you.
And will that dentist who you did the quick website for talk about you on the golf course? You bet he will.
And who do you think his friend the accountant will call when she needs someone to manage her Google adwords campaign and build her new website?
Payback on Give ‘till it Works is well over the investment of time we put into it.
Opportunities are created that no amount of advertising or self promotion can achieve.
And although there may be some who take advantage of our generosity, they are in the minority. Its not the end of the World. We won’t die. Write it off as experience, become a better judge of our clients in the future and enjoy the ride.
Is there a someone you’d like to work with and who you think would benefit from receiving a slice of your offer? Offer it for free. They will be surprised, a little unsure and probably ask the question of why and what’s in it for you. Tell them.
Whatever your motivation, testing a product idea, market research or gaining a valuable client for your business, implying that “this is what I’m doing for you now in the hope that you’ll see the value and want my services.” Your honesty will be appreciated.
- Give of your talents to prospects you wish to work with, providing them an abundance of value without expecting anything directly in return.
- Have your own strategy worked out, be clear and transparent about your motives and the results you’re looking for. Tell them.
- Remain focused on only a couple of opportunities at a time.
- Go way above and beyond what anyone would expect.
Let me know what happens.