Since this article is about marketing yourself, allow me to touch a bit on personal branding. It is crucial but limited to the industry you are in. I had a run-in with a client that made comments about how I dressed. I can never forget what he told me in 2010 right after my presentation. “Young man, I liked your presentation. I only have one issue, that is the way you are dressed. You need to look the part too.” That caught me off guard and I felt embarrassed. There are people out there that expect you to talk and dress like a professional.
You see, I was still in college and decided to wear blue jeans with a grey t shirt and black official shoes. It did not occur to me that my dress code would take the attention away from my presentation.
There are clients that don’t really care what you wear as long as you deliver. Also, it depends on where you are meeting them. I wear suits if am meeting them at their office or semi-casual if it’s at a cafeteria.
To avoid embarrassing moments you just have to look presentable and most of all feel confident.
Expand your professional network
There are several ways to do this, some within your comfort zone while others will require you to up your game or confidence. Finding visibility as professional is hard but with proper planning you can attain it. You just have to work hard and be patient.
Social media platforms
Depending on your industry, you can build your professional network. Most use LinkedIn since its an all round professional platform. Creatives like art directors, animators, VFX producers use Zerply while architects, contractors and interior designs prefer Houzz. No matter what industry you are in, you can find ways to showcase your skills and get clients online. It used to be harder.
Conferences and Events
This is my favorite and happens occasionally. You have to be on the lookout for any events, workshops or conferences near you. Some are free while others will cost you $10 – $50, but it is worth it! You can gain more from this than the social media platforms.
This applies to both the employed and unemployed. If you register and upload your portfolio on sites like Upwork, Toptal or iWriter, you will get clients and the more projects you finish the more referrals you get. I have friends that are employed and manage to write 8-14 articles per week earning them $480 per month. It can be done.