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  • All networking is not created equal

    I get invited to networking events a lot. Women’s networking events, chamber networking events, technical networking events, speaker networking events. Sometimes I get invited and I have NO IDEA why.

    I rarely accept these invitations. Since the invites usually come in email, ignoring them is sufficient, but sometimes I decline in person. Since I suck at lying, I try to explain why I’m saying no, which usually ends badly, because these people don’t understand.

    Example: I will say “The people who attend that event are not people who will buy my services. They ARE business owners, but they typically don’t ...

  • Is your only value your technical skills?

    I’m betting you have more to offer a client than just your amazing coding skills. So why are you only promoting your technical experience? Here are some other attributes that many if not most customers will also consider important:

    Reliable with deadlines. Consultants who consistently achieve deadlines are unusual. And valuable.

    Easy to connect with. Some programmers go into a rabbit hole or never answer their phones/emails. If you aren’t one of those, why not remind prospects of that?

    Business or subject matter expertise. You may be able to advise your client on more than just technology.

    Provide additional services....

  • Don’t be afraid to define a narrow target market

    When I describe my target market, people wonder if it is too narrow. It is important to realize that some criteria may not be automatic deal breakers. Here’s what I mean. My target market includes small organizations of 25 employees or less. Does that mean that if a prospect has 50 employees I automatically tell them I’m not a fit? No. But I use that information as one of the items for identifying if I think I will enjoy working with this client. The larger the client, the more cautious I am.

    On the other hand, some projects do have ...

  • How to be unattractive

    There are two components of any marketing efforts:

    • Attracting the right clients
    • Repelling the wrong clients

    This is obviously a tricky game. You want to make sure you are appealing to the clients you want to work with, but while doing it you want to seem unappealing to the worst clients (or at least those who don’t fit your target market). Here are some ways you can accomplish this:

    Use a company policy

    As Indy Coders, we tend to think that saying we have a company policy is foolish. But having your own business means deciding on your own policies. ...

  • Smoke signals

    Consider these scenarios:

    • A high rate programmer who advertises on Craigslist
    • A “responsive” freelancer who doesn’t provide a phone number
    • A “smart and talented” indy coder who never asks questions about the assigned projects
    • A “careful” programmer with a typo on their business cards

    What do each of these people have in common? Their desired message is inconsistent with their actions.

    The most common reason this happens is that the freelance programmer tries to be all things to all people. Unfortunately, they end up being nothing to no one. They are sending up smoke signals, but no one can decipher ...

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