Whether you’re ready to quit your job and actually sink your teeth into starting your own business, you have a side passion you’re ready to monetize, or you finally want to go for that dream job, the first step is the hardest—both mentally and often financially. You read Lean In and made the emotional commitment, and now it’s time to market yourself. This part, the self-promotion, can be frightening, paralyzing even, but with a few simple steps, even the most timid knitter or the shyest songbird can soon add “publicist” to their list of talents.
It’s Not a Secret
Once you decide to take your jewelry design to the next level or finally make the switch to sports medicine, you have to tell people. Literally, tell everyone you know and everyone you meet. Word of mouth is a powerful—not to mention FREE—marketing tool. You never know, your dentist’s best friend may just run a small business that is hiring, or the lady in front of you at Starbucks could hold the secrets to your success. It’s simple. When people (it does not matter who) ask you how you are, plainly reply, “I’m great, I’ve been really busy launching XYZ,” or try “We’re great, I’m finally ready to make a move into … (fill in the blank).” Then let the networking begin.
Ask to Meet for Coffee
Sitting in front of your computer every night and submitting your resume into endless databases will not always yield desired results. You need to get face time, not just with the people hiring but also with other people who are doing the job you want. Make some calls—yes, actually dial the phone, and ask if you can take them for coffee and get their advice. Face time is much more powerful than an email. Once you are face to face, a little flattery doesn’t hurt—especially if it’s genuine. These are people you admire, let them know that and they will be more likely to mentor you and remember you next time an opportunity arises.
Business Cards Count
Order some old-fashioned tangible business cards. Put your personality on them. This is your brand, it’s your calling card literally, and it should represent you. Online printing services can have them ready for you in just a couple of days for under $100. Keep them on you and share them. If you aren’t quite ready to market yourself a simple way to share them is to lead in with, “Check out this amazing business card company I used online. They made these in 24 hours for me.” Bam! You just handed out our first business card. It gets easier every time.
The endless sea of the internet can swallow you up, but you need to insert yourself wherever you can for maximum exposure. Create a snippet—a description of yourself and your services using key terms in about 100 words or less. Then spend a few days and create accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Instagram, Tumblr, YouTube, Vimeo, Pinterest, Google Plus, and wherever else you see fit and plug in that snippet to each of them. It may seem futile but these days people use search to find everything and if they are looking you want them to find you.
Use a Pen
If someone takes the time to meet with you or chat with you on the phone, whether it be for an interview or that cup of coffee, be sure to say thank you. You can e-mail, but sending a handwritten note leaves a lasting impression. Wherever you get your business cards, check to see if you can get matching note cards. No need for a Shakespearian soliloquy—a simple thank you will suffice. Just as much as making a great first impression is important, a final impression that’s significant is just as crucial.