Stowe Boyd offers some sage advice on the FreshBooks blog that should be read by anyone considering solo consulting.
Stowe is one of the more successful independents. In his view, “One third of your time should be devoted to networking and marketing, that is finding new clients, or letting them find you; one third to talking up new projects, getting them into contracts, and managing the business side, up to and including getting paid; and one third performing billable work.”
And how does Stowe market himself?
I have a simple approach to marketing my services: I don’t. Or, perhaps more accurately, I don’t do any marketing other than blogging and attending conferences, which are the primary channels for potential clients. I leave the rest up to fate, the Tooth Fairy, and word of mouth.
Blogging is the centerpoint of my professional life, and in a real sense defines my professional identity. Many thousands of other consultants also blog, so I am not some outlier in that regard, and I believe that the benefits of diligently exploring your professional interests in the blogosphere can be enormous. Blogging is also relatively low-cost, although the time investment may be high. I know that there are some advocates of blogging who believe it is possible to get a solid return on a lesser time investment, but I try to blog daily, and often, many times a day. I have come to be considered an A-list blogger (whatever that may mean) but I think the key is to define a niche of interests that you write about that would allow a potential client to get an insight into your thinking. And then the email will start.
Marketing in the era of social media. This is advice you would not have heard even two years ago. But I have encountered several practitioners I respect who seem to have adopted this model. And judging from the smiles on their faces, I have to believe that it works!