As a self-employed person your biggest enemy is COMPLACENCY. It’s a bit like working in IT: things change really fast and if you don’t remain flexible and alert, things will change around you and leave you behind.
Have a quick think about your business now. Do you recognise any of these characteristics?
Most of your work comes from:
1 big client
A few steady retainers
An agency using you all the time
If you answer in the affirmative to any one of these statements, you’re probably in the danger zone of the Status Quo. No, not the 80’s rock group… the steady, current situation.
Why is this dangerous? Well for a number of quite tedious and predictable reasons!
1: People get bored fast. Especially if you are a creative entrepreneur. Your temporary employers get bored, start looking for something slightly new, slightly different. They fear their audience will get bored of you too, and they want to avoid that
2: Trends change. True story. Maybe you’ve got a trademark style or way of doing things… suddenly something else is cooler. But because you were so busy doing what you do, you didn’t have time to notice or adapt.
3: There’s a good chance you have gotten bored yourself and are on a treadmill just churning stuff out, not really being that creative or careful anymore. Maybe as a result of that, you’ve become boring and predictable.
Four Steps To Avoid being Ditched:
1: Invest in yourself: keep up to date with reading on your industry. Attend events: expos, conferences, read the journals, go on courses. Do whatever it takes to keep yourself up to date and interested in what it is that you do.
2: Challenge yourself: Take on stuff that is out of your comfort zone. Not just for clients but for yourself. See if you really can do these new styles and methods.
3: Keep marketing all the time: You must have time scheduled into EVERY work week to market yourself and what you do. You cannot and must not rely on one channel for your work. Keep the word out there so that you can keep your clients coming.
4: Keep your work load diverse: Try not to just work with one type of client. Mix it up. It keeps it interesting for you and makes sure that what you’re doing cannot become staid, predictable or boring.
With all of these things, you’ve got to remember: This is YOUR business. It would be a crime for you to be bored and boring doing something that you OWN! Be wary of the comfort zones in what you do and where your limits lie, for therein lies your competition’s advantage.