I hope your answer is – ME! I don’t mean me…the coach, the artist, the advisor…I mean YOU! You probably aren’t comfortable advocating for yourself. Few of us are, but the truth is, you MUST be your own advocate, whether you’re a creative, a corporate person, a small business owner or a solo-preneur. No matter who you are, you owe it to yourself to be your own best advocate. It’s not a bloated ego thing. It’s a smart thing (click to Tweet).
I’ve spent considerable time working with job seekers and new business owners. Most of them get the heebie jeebies from tooting their own horn, ringing their own bell. Who will do it if you won’t? DO NOT WAIT FOR THE GOOD CHARITY OF OTHERS, too much is at stake.
So, where to start?
1. Articulate your strengths – Don’t say “anyone could do that,” because if anyone could, everyone would. What do you do well? How do you do it? Figure out your core business strength. Learn to articulate it well to those who inquire, and sometimes those who don’t, but should know what you have to offer. Write it, wordsmith it, practice it. It’s your verbal business card.
2. Jealously guard your time – As I’ve said before, if you don’t spend your time delivering your own package, someone else will use your time to to deliver their package. Your business is important. Your time is currency for your business. Do more than claim it, jealously guard it!
3. Calendar time to do research that will help your business grow – Looking for calls for artists? Researching galleries to partner with? Allow time on a regular basis to research growth prospects. Put it in your calendar. Also calendar time to follow through and follow up. Create opportunity.
4. Document your accomplishments – I once worked with a VP whose jaw dropped when I entered his office with a list of all the value I’d added to the company through my own efforts the previous year. People can forget what you bring to the table. Gently remind them. Yes, I did this right before performance evaluations were due. It helped my boss remember my contributions, helped me keep my resume current and gave a bump to my annual bonus. Keep a list and update it regularly.
5. Be organized or hire someone to do it for you – Things slip through the cracks. Don’t let opportunities slip away because they got lost in a paper pile or weren’t properly calendared. The more organized you are, the better you can keep your eye on multiple balls in the air. Not your strong suit? Enlist someone else to help you.
6. Make good connections – There are many opportunities to meet new people and make beneficial connections. Get out, tell people what you do (remember #1?), ask how you can help them. Don’t work solely through social media…meet people in person, too. Stay current with your contacts and be sure to ask if you need a hand. I love to help people and find in turn, they are happy to assist when I need a hand. It’s a RELATIONSHIP!
7. Charge what you’re truly worth – It’s easy to devalue yourself, and so many people do it. When you first start your business you want the work. What message does it giving it away send? Charge what you’re truly worth. Research your competitions pricing. Don’t be the low price leader…you’ll set yourself up for failure, and it just doesn’t feel good. Check yourself, you want prices to be fair, but that means fair to the client and fair to you!
You’re happy to tell other people how great your partner, friend, brother or sister is at (fill in the blank). Extend that same value and courtesy to yourself. The most successful people advocate for themselves and others…no difference.
Now, who’s your daddy?
Go Forth and Rock It!
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Michelle Andres is a writer and artist. She writes this blog to share tips or a well-lived life and a finely run art business…just for you!
Michelle Andres is a writer and artist
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