So, you know what you want to do? You have a “What You Do” statement ready, rehearsed and refined? Okay! I’m so proud of you!
Now, it’s time to start transitioning from vision phase to reality phase. It’s going to be hard for me to cover all the bases of making a transition from dream to reality for everyone. It’s quite individual, after all. With that in mind, I’m going to give you some more questions to ponder. These questions are designed to give you next steps. These next steps are designed to give you some action items.
Break your goals into actionable items.
I truly believe that when you can break a goal down into simpler steps, you can accomplish more and not get lost in the details.
Here’s an example. I asked my daughter to go put a basket of clothes away this morning. As soon as the request was out of my mouth, hers was flying with excuses and objections. For most of us adults, putting a basket of laundry away isn’t that hard. It’s hard when you’re 9.
So, instead of letting her not do the chore, I did something different. I broke the task down into steps:
- Take the basket upstairs to your room.
- Put your clothes on your dresser.
- Put your sister’s clothes on her dresser.
- Separate the hang-up clothes from the drawer clothes.
- Put them away and bring the basket back downstairs.
I then gave her a deadline – dinnertime today.
What are YOUR next steps?
That’s your assignment in taking your next steps. Your task for today is to take 15-20 minutes and define what you do next. Here are some questions to get you thinking?
Do you need training? Do you need financial capital? Do you need to research vendors? Do you need an updated resume? Do you need to write a cover letter? Do you need to put together a portfolio? Do you need to do some work for free or trade to get some samples?
I want you to take one or two of those questions and explore it. Break it into parts. I’ll give you my example of how I did this and it will make a bit more sense.
Separate larger goals and then plan tasks.
When I decided that I wanted to be a freelance writer at home with my kids, I broke my goal into two parts – find work and start marketing.
Those are two different goals (related but different) – and enormous at that. My next step was to break these down into smaller tasks.
When I look at my goals – find work and start marketing – I get things a little twisted up if I don’t separate them.
Finding work and marketing are very similar goals, yet they have a key difference – one is seeking a sale and the other is establishing yourself as an expert or go-to person in your field. One pays the bills and the other gets the phone ringing. Do you get the difference? You’ll see when I break it down below:
Goal 1. Where could I find freelance work?
I’d read lots of blogs and books on this topic, so I had a general list of how to find freelance work. I looked into several options:
- Approach companies to determine freelance need.
- Respond to freelance ads.
- Bid on projects on freelance sites.
- Ask people for introductions to people who may need marketing help.
- Follow up with people who respond to my marketing on social networks like LinkedIn.
Goal 2. How do I market my expertise?
When I think of marketing a business, I think of this as establishing the expertise or need for the work I do. These efforts are slightly different than the “sales” side of your business or finding a job to work at home. These are more indirect efforts for finding work, but they are important.
When I think of marketing a business, I think of this as establishing the expertise or need for the work I do.
Here’s what I did:
- Identify areas of specialty to promote in blogs, social networking, and cover letters.
- Spend time on LinkedIn and other social networks answering questions about marketing and writing to establish some street credit in the field.
- Send out X number of letters of introduction to target business list.
- Build an email list of contacts who may find marketing news and insights beneficial.
Goal 3. What marketing tools do I need to support my search and marketing efforts?
Think of marketing materials as the support for your sales efforts. When I was the marketing writer for a sales team, I developed materials such as scripts, case studies, and brochures for them to “have a reason to contact a prospective customer.” That’s why it’s important to have a library of materials ready to go. For instance, I needed a resume, portfolio, and cover letter to respond to ads.
Here’s a graphic to explain it better:
Here are the steps I used to develop all of these materials:
- Gather samples from my jobs to use for a portfolio.
- Create a freelance resume and cover letter template.
- Build a website to showcase my work and expertise.
- Write and save email and phone scripts in my email program, so I can access them anywhere.
- Start a contacts database for easy communications.
- Get business cards made.
Developing a marketing library that’s all about you is a difference maker when you are seeking a work-from-home job or working as a freelancer.
What if I’m not looking to freelance or contract? What if I’m starting a business or selling a product or service?
Your materials will be different if you are selling a product or service. You may not need a resume if you are going to sell pillows on Etsy and in flea markets, but you will still need some of these items – business cards, a brochure or flyer, a contact management system, a website and social networking profiles. You’re a smart mama. Sit down with your notepad and brainstorm what materials you’ll need. Look at similar professionals and see what they use.
How can I help YOU?
Do you have a question about starting a work-at-home business? I’m building a library of FAQs and plan to start a reader question column soon. You can either comment below or send me an email to amandacbrandon at gmail dot com.
And don’t forget to sign up for my Mama Marketing Minute. It’s coming in July. Be blessed, my friends.