November is upon us, which means the Professional Independence Project is coming to an end. In case you missed some of the great advice we shared this month, here are 18 fantastic tips from our contributors on becoming professionally independent!
1. Tell people what you want.
“We forget that people can’t hire us if they don’t know we’re available. There is absolutely nothing wrong with letting your network – personal and professional – know what kind of business you’d like. You’d do this if you were looking for a job, right? So, why wouldn’t you do it for your own business?” (Shonali Burke)
2. Develop a solid plan.
“The key to success is to set achievable goals, develop a plan to reach your goals, surround yourself with people who will help you, and – most importantly – be the CEO of You, Inc.” (Susan Butler)
3. Don’t focus on becoming the ‘next big thing.’
“Don’t waste your time trying to figure out how to become the next Bill Gates, try first to become the best you can, and that will ultimately lead to long term success.” (Mohamed Amine Belarbi)
4. Know how to communicate your value.
“Know what you can bring that someone else can’t, be able to communicate the value of that knowledge/service, and find people who are willing to pay to have that type of problem solved.” (Ben Eubanks)
5. Share your accomplishments.
“If your supervisor isn’t sharing your accomplishments with higher level administration, make sure you do the sharing yourself. Keep everyone informed of what you are accomplishing.” (Elizabeth Dexter-Wilson)
6. Have advisors.
“Select a handful or more of industry influencers, mentors, trusted advisors, and former managers to serve as a sounding board for major career decisions. This team of professionals can provide advice, of course, but they can also help you see facets of your personality, experience, and career brand that you may take for granted or overlook.” (Cheryl Simpson)
7. Maintain a good reputation.
“Businesses and people care more than ever about reputation. And the quickest way to impress a new potential business is to have the facts there and searchable any time they choose.” (Lori Osterberg)
8. Understand WHY you’re a ‘business-of-one.’
“Essentially, the reason you should think of yourself as a business-of-one is because you are one! The economy and job market are no longer the same and in order to evolve with the new world of work you have to adapt at becoming the CEO of your life.” (Carrie Smith)
9. Stop choosing to be a victim.
“When you declare your professional independence and take charge of your life and career, you are choosing to stop being a victim. You stop whining and complaining. You begin taking personal responsibility for yourself, your life and your career. And let me tell you, this feels great.” (Bud Bilanich)
10. Have a vision.
“Running a business, even one where the “work” is done on the kitchen table, in a garage, or a spare bedroom, requires creating a business vision, strategy, and mission.” (David Zahn)
11. Think like a salesperson.
“Think like a salesperson – Gigging means constantly selling yourself. This might sound stressful but the good news is that you’re selling bite-sized bits of your time. It’s a low pressure sell, a low stakes game where both sides benefit from the transaction.” (Hugh Taylor)
12. Limit your target market.
“You can’t support a wide array of customers and be able to provide a good level of support. By limiting your target market, it will be easier to be seen as a leader in that area and also allow you to have answers to questions and problems more readily available – which will in turn create a more positive.” (Cody McLain)
13. Know how to talk to your clients/customers.
“People skills are part science, part art, with a little sprinkling of intuition on top! Developing a sense for what motivates your clients will be a major driving force of your success as a freelancer.” (Termeh Mazhari)
14. Evaluate your performance regularly.
“The best leaders at the top are constantly evaluating their performance and looking for ways to improve. As CEO-You, slow down and evaluate your performance every 90 days and after each major project you complete.” (Aaron Rehberg)
15. Stop relying on others.
“No one looks out for your interests like you can. If you’re in a habit of relying on people like your boss, family members or a mentor for direction, keep in mind that no matter how much they care about you, they can’t see what’s inside your heart.” (Joellyn ‘Joey’ Sargent)
17. Network, network, network!
“The five networking musts are: join, get involved, contribute, participate, be visible. If you are going to be successful today, you must network consistently and robustly (sturdy, vigorous, solid).” (Deborah Shane)
18. Build valuable relationships.
“Establish a true RELATIONSHIP with people and don’t be a business card collector extraordinaire. There’s power in the quality, not in the quantity of people you know.” (Jeff Sheehan)
Want to take control of your career?
If you want to take control of your career, check out our fall series, the Professional Independence Project. Throughout the month of October, we will be sharing expert advice and insight on how you can build a successful career you love.
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