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Starting out? Show off your skills

Date: Jul 05 2012

It’s been nearly two years since I first started working for myself. I thought I’d share some of my experience, what works, what doesn’t and more. First up, getting out there.

My first step was going to a local business seminar in Bournemouth where I thought I’d discuss my business idea and come away with a plan. I met my first client there, we’ve worked together ever since and I’ve never looked back.

Perhaps I was lucky, but I like to think a little judgment helped too.

It was clear, the best way for me to get business was to just get out there, meet people and show them what I can do. As I’d been out of my local circuit for six years, working out of town and commuting a daily 120 mile round trip for three of them and then having a career break to have two children – I had a lot of ground to cover to get back into my stride in my home town.

So I got active. I joined the freelance forum and met other PR people already doing what I wanted to do. I still meet with them every month and we all benefit from the opportunity to share, learn, offload and sometimes share leads which is of course a real benefit for a newbie like me.

I also joined the CIPR Wessex committee, giving me a chance to get involved in events, meet more people and practice what I do – or should I say practice some of the things I can do but I’m not currently hired to do. Everyone wants me to write copy in various guises for them and manage their communications but it’s only recently that I’ve had the chance to organise events for my clients. Most of my clients just don’t need ‘big events’.

The other thing I did was get involved in some charitable projects closer to home. This helps me to reach into other areas and opportunities that I don’t really get to handle on a day-to-day basis. These projects help me to keep my knowledge and skills fresh and my experience live, while doing something I love and meeting some amazing people.

So if you are considering a career change, or just starting out in the world of freelancing remember to:

  • Network
  • Keep your knowledge, skills and experience up to date
  • Work with your competitors and other professionals, and get to know them, you can be a great support to each other