After participating in a panel on ‘The Portfolio Career’ at the Arts Enterprise National Summit, I felt a need to share some practical advice on how I find more of the right work at P&G and in the ‘real world.’ Here’s how:
So.. you’re freelancing… or in human terms… you have some skill you want to use to make some extra cash. But no one is buying it!
Well, don’t just sit there, find someone who can use your help and PROPOSE to help them.
Your job is no longer to do XYZ.
Your job is now to:
- find people who can benefit from you doing XYZ,
- explain to them how you doing XYZ will help them, and
- THEN do XYZ.
Here’s a bit more practical advice on getting this done…
- Do an 80:20 Analysis. Look at how you spent your time this week… if you really get objective, you’ll notice that about 80% of your positive results came from 20% of the time you spent. Summarize what you do well, most easily, and try to do more.
- Develop your tagline. Write down 2-5 words that summarize what it is you do well, across all the work you find yourself doing. Maybe you’re a ‘Product Developer’ or a ‘Musician with Project Management Skills’ or a ‘Visual Artist with Creative Leadership’. Use this to quickly introduce to others how you can help them.
- Try the Harvard Business School Elevator Pitch Builder if you’re really stumped.
- Develop your portfolio. You need a quick, simple, and engaging summary of great work you have done in the past. Use this to prove to other that you can help them.
- Build your page on About.Me. It’s really simple, looks great, and it can aggregate your content from other social media. Only aggregate the content if that helps support your tagline and it relates to what you learned in your 80:20!
- Start writing proposals. Now that you’ve defined ‘This is me. This is how I can help.’… go find people who could use your help and write a quick email, or better yet, physical letter dropped off in-person explaining, ‘This is you. This is me. This is how I can help you.’ Include your tagline and links to/a copy of your portfolio. Make sure to spend some time to understand their problem, and if possible, find a reference or person you can connect with directly, rather than just leaving the proposal with someone random. Drop them off, and follow up on them.
Creativity comes through restraint… find a way to make the most of the resources and skills you already have.
Here is more thinking on how to sell what you already do.
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