So lately i’ve been wondering about how things seem to happen for some people, and for others, well… maybe not so much.
I was struck lately by a blog post by David Airey called Self-employment advice for designers. In it he gives some excellent advice for those starting out, and actually much of it applies to everyone, I highly recommend it.
But what struck me particularly about this post, is the intro in which he states that he has been self-employed for 5 years. I think he has been in the design industry at least as long as I have, but has only been self employed – working under his own name – for five years. He’s done an awful lot in that 5 years and it shows. At his 5 year anniversary, working on a totally different continent, I know his name. I know his work. I know his book. I read his blogs. I follow him on Twitter. And chances are, that you do too.
Now why is this? Well certainly, first and foremost he is quite talented and skilled at what he does. But what does he do that many of us don’t? He provides others in the industry with interesting and valuable content. He offers excellent advice, shares articles, and writes great content that is downright entertaining and interesting to read. In short, he is an excellent marketer who is extremely generous with his knowledge and his expertise. and because of that, he has positioned himself as a trusted expert in the field and people pay attention.
Design is and has always been a highly competitive industry. But keeping everything you know inside for fear of someone stealing ideas or running off to steal your clients is not a healthy state of mind. Nor is it the way to get noticed and grow your business.
If you have talent, ideas, great customer service and can be innovative and inspriring to others, tell people about it. Share what you are good at, shout it out loud and market your expertise.
Sharing your knowledge and providing advice to others does more than just make you feel good about yourself. It helps to establish your value as an expert. Do people flock to follow newbies on twitter to learn about new articles or technologies?? Not usually. Usually people flock to those who are strong at what they do, and who are experienced and have the confidence to provide real honest advice to others without feeling territorial of their knowledge.
Getting out there and introducing yourself to people isnt enough to build your reputation as an expert in this highly competitive industry. You ( and I include myself here) need to use the skills that you posses as great communicators to write, to pose questions, to provide advice, to create a stirring and get people interested.
Its a difficult time out there. meeting people definately helps, and we all should be doing it. But at the end of day you can’t force people pick up the phone and call you. You need to position yourself as that expert that people need to call, because they know that you are the person who can help them creatively solve their problem.