Being a solo business owner doesn’t mean you have to play small, in fact it means the opposite. In the past when I was a soloist I got contracts with some really big names, companies including HP, CBS, Telstra, Optus, Google and many more. So, how did I secure contracts with big companies like this, especially when I live in Cairns, hardly the business metropolis of Australia?
Sure, I’ve built a strong profile on the back of my books. That has helped, but in reality there are a lot of authors out there. I think it was more than that. For large companies to work with a solo business their biggest concern is always going to be risk. Will you be able to deliver, what if you get sick, what if you get too busy and drop the ball?
This means we have to do what we can to allay these concerns and prove that we are more than up for the task at hand. Here are the fundamentals that have helped me to attract some of the largest corporations in Australia and globally to become clients of mine:
- I have always invested heavily in my personal brand. This meant with my stationery, my website, my promotional material – everything. My brand could easily stand up to any corporation in my opinion.
- With every contact I let my professionalism talk for me. Everything I did was done at a high level corporate standard. This reduced their concern.
- I went to great lengths to educate my prospective clients to show them that I was constantly growing and developing my skills, to reinforce the fact that I was at the cutting edge of my industry.
- Whenever I worked with a corporate brand I would promote this on my website and in my social media. Corporates like to see that you work with other corporates – it makes them feel safer.
- I learned to have more corporate discussions. For a long time I felt out of my depth in meetings, mainly because of the jargon and the way of thinking. I learned the jargon and I learned how to think like a company. The latter really means thinking long term, having very open conversations about money, learning to write and provide key information for others to report on and so on.
- I’ve always been prepared to jump on a plane and go to them. I have done many spur of the moment trips to Sydney and Melbourne, at my expense, to show how committed I am to a potential project.
- I always invest in the latest technology. In meetings I don’t want to be pulling out old and out dated equipment, or not be across the latest communication platforms – so I’m always on the lookout for ‘new tech’ to make sure I am 100% current.
These strategies have been very effective for me. Getting these bigger clients changed my business forever and the long term benefits of having larger corporate clients is hard to fully appreciate, but it has been big for me.
Remember, whenever a large company is considering getting you to do work with them, (and more corporates are working with soloists now than every before), they are constantly doing a risk analysis. Your job is to reassure them that working with you is safe.
Being a solo business owner doesn’t mean you should play small, it means the exact opposite.