Become an expert and tell others.
I can hear you now: “What? How arrogant!”
Well, yes, if you play it that way. But everyone is looking for someone who does it better, who can articulate and guide them to success.
Here’s a story. A new counselor in my group has a penchant for helping young career women. She’s new to counseling but not new to careers; this is her second. The idea of helping young women navigate the beginning from office politics to work-life balance is her passion. So, what do you do when you are passionate about something? You learn everything there is to know and you incorporate it into your way of working. That’s what Rebecca did. She took specialized coaching classes, interacted with young entrepreneurial women at networking events, read everything she could get her hands on and developed an expertise on the particular issues facing young women in the workplace. She became an expert! And then she started to help. She spoke at women’s events, offered her services for lunch-and-learns, and taught a monthly course at the YWCA (and negotiated attending another course as payment!). She showed up, spoke out, and offered advice. At every turn she handed out a business card and reminded her audience of her expertise and her practice. It’s paid off nicely, with a full practice and a portfolio of experiences she can be proud of.
Start a mastermind group of like minded entrepreneurs in different industries.
I know. I am really pushing you out of your comfort zone now. Let me explain. When I became a therapist, I worked in very different settings: an industrial complex with an EAP and various nonprofits with populations that were of interest to me. I came across all sorts of people, from engineers to entertainers. The difference of opinions and processes helped me think outside my own box. It was kind of a makeshift mastermind group. A mastermind group was first suggested in a 1937 business book Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. It remains one of the top-selling motivational books. In essence, Mr. Hill developed 13 principles of personal achievement and they are the basis for groups that support and promote members in their goals which can be personal or professional. An easy way to start? Go to Meetup. com and look to see if there is already a group in your community. Or you can invite, through social media, four to six individuals who share your goals of growing their new business. Spend some time (virtual or in-person) getting to know each other. Then, develop an agenda, take turns facilitating, meet on a regular basis, and get started on your goals. It works. It especially works well when you invite others from different industries for a fresh perspective. We know from CBT that having homework and being accountable for your goal setting is effective, so make it effective for you, too.
Develop a high profile in one charity or nonprofit.
Here’s a way to engage with others that gives back, too. Pick a favorite charity. I seek out educational nonprofits or that brings awareness to mental health issues. Become involved on several fronts: offer to do outreach, host an event, or even buy a table at their latest gala. Develop a high profile and immerse a couple of hours a month. If the charity is a part of your niche, that’s great. If not, the satisfaction of giving back and the practice of interacting with others outside your regular contacts is a good exercise in widening your circle of influence.
Spend time on one online arena and master It.
Here’s one that doesn’t even involve leaving your office. Take an already familiar online arena and expand your influence. For instance, LinkedIn is an intuitive and easy to use website that’s primary purpose is to network. Develop a presence and a point of view and engage in online discussions, groups or thought pieces. For impact and visibility, master one source before moving to another. A colleague of mine devotes one hour a week to posting to groups in his area that primarily focus on workplace violence. He’s developed virtual relationships with other clinicians interested in his comments and he in turn, has made a point of meeting them in person at conferences. As a result, he’s been asked to be on panels and when a referral was needed in his area, one of his online colleagues suggested him.
Why do these strategies work?
You know how your day goes. A few sessions behind closed doors, a couple of phone calls, charting, paperwork and suddenly, it’s the end of the day. Marketing in any way, shape, or form is the last thing on your mind. However, if you decide to focus in on any of these strategies for a short amount of time each day, it will pay off. Doing it first thing, before your energy goes to the clinical work, allows you to start the day taking care of yourself and your business before you turn your attention to your clients. You’ll feel accomplished and model for your clients and your colleagues a proactive way to get what you need.