Five Good Habits to Start in September
September is a month of passion and grape harvest. Days become shorter and the heat wave tones down. The soft wind fills the air with the smell of lemons and wet ground and you can feel it breathing, together with the grapes, figs and chestnuts scent. Autumn’s scents, delicious and fresh, which are able to cheer you up and to let you feel again creativity and big projects’ desire in your soul. Probably it’s the school start, but September (and not others) is the actual month of change and rebirth.
This is how I live these days of the end of summer, I am lighthearted and with an unutterable energy which propagates in every particle of my body. And I think that many other freelancers, like me, feel the same sensations.
Could there possibly be a better opportunity to start up a series of good habits to foster over the year?
Obviously, we’re talking about marketing. We’re talking about how to improve our reputation and how to have a more effective placement on the market. The good news is that to obtain a more effective placement, you don’t have to be the top of the class. You don’t acquire good clients only if you’re a market leader.
In this article we’re going to explore 5 fundamental habits useful to help freelancers in the defence and effective growth of their reputation. Let’s see what are we talking about.
1. First Good Habit: Blog
Your blog should be the center of each marketing strategy you decide to undertake. It is the place where people arrive from the search results or from the social media to see who you are, what do you do and which interesting contents do you have to offer.
A freelance without blog is like a sparrowhawk without wings, he’s invisible and dumb. And whatever talent, value or message for the outside world you have, the market out there is just unaware of them.
You don’t have to just be able to do web design, you have to even be able to let the world know you can do it.
September is a good month to start this good new habit. Let’s create your blog and try to write with some regularity. And if you’re not able to be dedicated to your task (because you’re short of time or for other reasons), let’s try at least to write once in a while for one or more blogs dedicated to your field. Thus you won’t have the editorial responsibilities of a blogger (no stress), but you can take what of good is offered by blogging, that is the visibility of a good article that will let the outside world talk about you.
Share your opinion, your knowledge, make a present to the world with your ideas. And you’ll see that the world will be more generous with you than what you’re expecting.
PS: Your Inspiration Web is renewing its editorial policy and, among other things, we’re looking for some valuable authors to insert into our editorial staff. If you think you’re a good writer and you have good contents to share with our readers, if you like the idea of be published on our blog, then feel free to contact us. Send us something to read. We’ll value your application and we’ll let you know soon if and when you’ll start.
2. Second good habit: the Network
It is said that you can reach possibly anybody through a chain of acquaintances of no more than 5 people. It is the six degrees of separation theory proposed for the first time in 1929 by the Hungarian writer Frigyes Karinthy in a short novel called Chains.
I don’t know if it is always true. There have been some tests which validated it. But the basic point is that the theory works if every member of the first level (the more intimate acquaintances) knows exactly who we are and what we do.
So, are we sure that at least the first degree of our acquaintances has the right informations about us?
During August’s vacations I was wandering at a country festival around some stands of nice objects and I met an old friend and schoolmate. We hugged and talked about our families, children and about some stories related to our wonderful years of youth. Then he asked me “How is your job consultancy agency going?”. He didn’t know anything about my life changes and that I’ve been working in another field for 6 years now. It hasn’t been easy to explain in a couple of sentences my new job. But he said he wants to know more about it and that he will call me soon to talk about it.
The first degree of our acquaintances – that is our network of friends, family and colleagues which already exists in our life (and that we have built without doing any effort) – represents our fundamental word of mouth system. We must only be sure that people have the right informations about us.
Once we do this, the network has to be extended and reinforced. And Internet enables this process in a quick and free way. Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin are just some social media where we can access to improve our connections, to meet new people and to get through to the six degrees above our first relationship system.
The blog helps because it offers some good reasons (and contents) to catch surfers and turn them into friends readers.
3. Third Good Habit: The Niche
In September, with fresh air, it’s a good thing to start the habit of thinking about work considering specific market segments: the niches.
Web Design is a very competitive sector. And when a sector is so highly competitive there are some strange survival mechanisms. Prices fall, clients take advantages of it. And in the end we find ourselves involved in a kind of poor war which doesn’t do any good to anybody.
Choosing a niche (or creating it) means to pull yourself out of the fray, specializing yourself into a specific sector and having selected clients ready to pay you even more. Specialization is a surplus value, and this is how it is perceived by the niche market.
4. Forth Good Habit: Prices
Price is an unpleasant topic. Often it causes sufferings, sacrifices, deprivations. When during the negotiation discussion appears the word price, it is as if the entire universe of a freelancer, composed by his words, intentions and even his talent, suddenly disappears, similar to the puff of a smoky body which clears into the immense.
Price gives us the chance to acquire a client, but even of losing him. We can have a good markup but even take a loss. We can have an important placement, but even end up into the abyss of those who offer cheap services and are fine with less than nothing.
September imposes a reflection upon the price. And my advice is to start from these three ideas:
- Transparency: The client has to know why he’s paying a certain amount of money.
- Protection: The price has to protect our work and to guarantee the proper earning.
- Flexibility: Clients who don’t have an immediate cash availability or who don’t want to sacrifice it for an unknown freelancer, may be acquired as a client through flexible price solutions (es. monthly payments, down and full payments, commissions on the project results etc.)
5. Fifth good habit: Growth
It has been demonstrated that the main difference between a man who is always updated, who reads books, attends seminars and courses etc, and a man who is limited to live upon what he has already learned and acquired during his life is not composed by the higher number of technical notions, but by the ideas and creative leap coming from them.
A man who is in a continuous flow of training is a man who grows at a speed which is in proportion to the informations he acquires because he’s not limited to add new cognitive elements to his background, but he modifies even his vision of the world and his ability to decipher phenomenons and events. He grows along with his efficacy sense, he meets the events and creates his destiny.
This is why many freelancers, acquiring more informations and knowledges, have ended up being not only better graphics, developers or copywriters, but they have undertaken innovative paths of great success, becoming the point of reference of other people attention.
September is the best month to acquire this good habit.
An old saying says that if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll obtain what you’ve always obtained.
Nobody imposes us to change. Only you can decide to do it. But to do so, to obtain different results if you’ll ever need them, you’ll need new habits.
Habits are behaviours repeated constantly during the time. We’ve got hundreds of them. They’re part of our nature. And the good news is that we can acquire more habits, and in the same way we can forget those who are useless or are just a way to complicate our life and work.
Habits we’ve just analyzed (writing a blog, looking after relationships, etc.) are fundamentals for a freelancer who wants to have a good reputation. Some, probably, are already part of the complicated set of good habits of many freelance web designers.
In my case, for example, I write everyday, I think having always in mind market niches, I love reading and I buy an average of two books per week. But I have to admit I don’t look after with the right my network of acquaintances.
And what about you? Which habits, among the one we described, are already part of your lives? Which one are not part of them?
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