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SoloCamp Leeds: Growth

Page history last edited by Suw 15 years, 10 months ago

Are you perfectly happy where you are right now, or do you want to get as much as you can (money!) out of your business?


Sven: now, part-time freelancer, wants to grow his freelance business to make it fulltime.


Growth - everyone in the room wants to grow and make a profit! But also, people want security. Four people have an ongoing contract that provides stable income.


Can use subcontractors, virtual assistants, accountants and book keepers to help.


Use family with skills.


Virtual assistant. But some very bad experiences with virtual assistants not doing the tasks they've been assigned as well as one would hope. Are they even real people? Or are they a meta-person with all the tasks in a big database and whoever is free deals with it? How can you build up trust when you don't feel that they are a real person and don't know their real name.


Two kinds of things - when you need extra skills, or when you need to offload mundane work to free up time for work. So a skills gap and an efficiency gap.


Growth - finding the work.


Networks: Communities, networking breakfast, websites, etc. BNI, ERG. If yor'e niche and too specialist then there aren't always useful. Seem better suited to generalists.


There are specific networks - Leeds Media. Geek-up. Creative Networks.


On LinkedIn - give testimonials, answer questions, be an expert and get in front of people.


Be an expert, write articles, but in the right place. Think of what your audience reads and write there.


Go to conferences, but pick the right ones. Conferences slightly outside of your area of expertise where you might find clients, don't just stick to familiar topics. Go outside the fishbowl.


Word of mouth, referrals. Solicit referrals from past clients, talk to them down the pub, talk about what sort of work you'd like to do or direction you'd like to be going in. People will often offer to help and put you in touch with people. Ongoing customer relationship.

Big consultancies finish the job and then immediately pitch the next piece of work.


If there's work that you can't or don't want to do, instead of giving the work to someone else, perhaps sub-contract it out, so you project manage it but they do the work.


Work in a collective with other freelances. Companies less than 3 people win only 33% of their pitches; groups bigger than three win more than 60% of their pitches.


If you have too much work, put your prices up.


Leeds Uni is looking at how to increase the amount of money that's coming through for research - they are looking at who's already got relationships and how they can share some of that expertise and the connections. Hard to do that on your own because you might have the expertise in the subject, but not be an expert in how to deal with a particular company. Finding leads. Increasing exposure.


No one is using advertising, paying for AdSense.


Maybe use a publicist to help get your name out there.


Make sure you're reaching out to the right people - not just the decision makers, but also intermediaries who can percolate information through.


White label yourself so that you can be hired out by clients to their own clients. But be careful that you can maintain the relationship between your and the client's client.


Be aware of hype cycles - when a phrase is over-popular people get tired of it. Ditch social media consultant because it's tired and it alienates people. Steph was described in the media as a "blog consultant" and that label became limiting when people got bored of blogs they thought she didn't know about anything else.


The Hype Cycle model is a good one - technology is a fashion business. Can make money in the upswing, and at the bottom of the trough of disillusionment. If you are in the leading edge, it's important not to get bored doing the same thing for longer than a year or two.


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