Creating opportunity is no easy feat, especially without the backing of a large company’s sales and marketing department. As such, the Free Agent created this guide which contains a few tips and tricks that may help further position you for success in the gig economy. By no means is this to be considered the ultimate guide to sales and marketing, but merely an overview of some of the best practices we have seen from our most successful “Free Agents”.
“Productize” your skill set- Believe it or not, there are many strategic consultants that do not have a good handle on what it is that they offer. At the Free Agent, it is our belief that this is a fundamental first step in preparing for the gig economy. Spend some time reflecting on your experience and areas in which you can provide the most value, the quickest. While it is great to learn a new skill, most people do not have the luxury to learn a new trade as earning income is a priority. Take an inventory of your skill set and distill this down to the lowest common denominator- what is it that you do and do well? Positioning yourself for gigs and providing your elevator pitch to prospective partners will be significantly easier from this point forward.
Create an Executive Bio- Once you have a grip on “what you do”, it may make sense to create a document that illustrates your background and offering. This is not a CV or resume, but an executive summary that highlights your experience and unique selling proposition. The purpose is to have something that you can quickly share which exemplifies the value you can add to an organization. While generally one-page, this endeavor can be quite time-consuming, however, so it is strongly suggested that you outsource this type of work to a specialist. This is not a service we offer, but are happy to make suggestions on whom to reach out to should this be of interest.
Reach out to Colleagues and Friends to let them know what you are up to- Reaching out to colleagues/friends, etc…is often easier said then done. Our research suggests this may be one of the most overlooked steps in setting out on your own. What we have found, however, is that most people are very open and supportive of those going out on their own and receptive to listening. Reach out to your network and let them know what you are up to. You never know when they may have a need or come across partner that does.
Network, Network, Network- Networking is critical and an offshoot of reaching out to colleagues and friends. When we speak of networking, we are referring to industry events, tradeshows, associations, reaching out to partners and colleagues, utilizing social media, etc… Becoming a frequent face at relevant events can further establish credibility. One word of caution, however, it is very easy to get sucked into a world where you attend too many events. So, finding those events that work best for you is critical, quickly eliminating those that do not add value to you and your objectives.
Post Relevant Material- This is one component to the overall equation, but posting and creating relevant material to your specific industry is critical. Especially if you are trying to establish yourself as a thought leader in your space. While original content is always preferred, this is not the only thing acceptable. Spend time researching your industry and find other thought leaders to connect with and start a dialogue. Commenting or adding to their suggestions can be powerful in building rapport and furthering your initiatives. Creating LinkedIn “groups” and participating in industry discussions is another way to stay on top of industry trends and get added exposure.
Participate in Panels and/or Speaking Engagements- Similar to posting material, participating in panels and providing industry presentations is another important component to the overall strategy. This is not for everyone, but participating in panels/discussions provides a tremendous amount of visibility and can further position you as a thought leader. You will be surprised as to how many people will approach you after and event in order to “pick your brain”. Seems there is something disarming about someone that is on a panel and/or providing a presentation.
Create a Website- This is more of a nice-to-have versus a must-have, but upwards of 25% of our Free Agents have their own web presence, further illustrating their brand, offering, etc… While this can make your brand appear more established and credible, this can also be a huge distraction and may be something to table until your business is growing.
Work with Sales Enablement Platforms- This is not a silver bullet, but can be a nice compliment to the aforementioned strategies. There are many sales enablement platforms, similar to the Free Agent. Not all, however, are created equal. Find the one that aligns best with you and your initiatives and reach out to learn more about the company and value they add to you and your journey.
As initially written, this is a list of tips for better positioning yourself for the gig economy. No one activity will provide success, but more so a confluence of activities that will help position you for success in the future. Of course it is up to you to determine which to employ and in what order.
About the Free Agent- The Free Agent utilizes a vetted bench of battle-tested experts that work directly with companies in hyper-growth. Simply put, we provide the right strategic experts at precisely the right time in order to accelerate results. If you are interested in learning more, or joining our vetted and curated platform, please do not hesitate to reach out: firstname.lastname@example.org. We live and breathe the gig economy and are always interested in beginning a dialogue.
Beau Billington- the founder of the Free Agent, a consulting company immersed in the strategic-layer of the Gig Economy-