Just recently I negotiated a rate for a new project 30 percent higher compare to the last project I just finished. It calculates to be thousands of dollars more pr year. If I Pushed harder, I could have gotten more money. I felt the rate I negotiated was based on my skills, experience and problem solving techniques and I was very satisfied. How I really nailed the contract was a whitepaper about XML and Mainframe programmers I published and sent it to the prospect.
I positioned myself as minu-guru of IT. To position yourself as an expert will get you respect, recognition and more money. Your phone will ring with opportunities and when you interview for a contract, a very good chance on getting it with the rate you quote.
Part of me is networking. I enjoy being out and meeting new and old acquaintances. Just the other day on the train ride home from the client, a friend from a previous project sat down next to me. We rode the train for an hour talking about the past and future. I emailed her the very next day asking that if she needed a mainframe Cobol guy this summer. She immediately emailed me back saying GREAT and will keep me in mind. Today, Sunday, I am emailing my copy of my published whitepaper to her.
A goal I do have is to make a lot of money doing what I enjoy and love to do. I'm sure all who are in the IT field do. But according to statistics, ninety percent will only be average and make average money. Some will make below average money and then there is the ten percent that will be making most of the money. They are the guru's and minu-guru's.
My intention is for you to be educated on getting in the top ten percent of your target market. It is hard, consistence and persistent work. Do not take anything for granted. You must be willing to work hard, be consistent and never give up. Be kind, respectful, recognize to those who help you and your clients, then you will get to the top ten percent. Once there, it's a dog fight to the top one percent. If that is your goal.
When you hear about experts today, you hear names like Dr. Phil McGraw on relationships, Dr. Robert Atkins dieting, and Donald Trump commercial real estate, just to name a few. For them to stay at the top of their game, they need to be willing to be famous. And they are. Books and TV shows and arguing with other celebrities to keep their name and face out in front of their fields. These people are not the smartest in their field or the most educated. They do promote themselves well with all or some of the six tips in this article.
These types of experts are guru's and have a broad niche. It's difficult to get into and stay there. I recommend target market focus and then specializing within that market. This type of expert is called a minu-guru. That is, you have a target market then become very specialize within that market.
Mini-guru is one who can decimate information about their topic in a clear and concise manner and offer it to their specialized target market. Keep focus and do not go wide on your market. Do have more that one specialty. Example is Dan Poynter. He is a guru on self-publishing and parachuting and other fields. Focus on a couple of different markets and try not spreading yourself too thin. The reason one does this is just in case one or two fields take a hit due to market conditions you will not be left out to dry with nothing.
Work alone at first planning each or some of the tips. Take one tip at time. Scratch out on paper your goals and plans. Once you got your ideas on paper bring it to your spouse, friends, and/ or business associates to brainstorm a plan on executing it. Then take action on all in any shape you want Remember, you will not do this in one day. But do take action.
Be focus and enjoy the ride. If being number one is not in your cards think Avis Car Rental, being number two is good because we try harder.
So let's take a look...
Having a PR campaign will get your face and/or name out to your target niche.
A good PR campaign for independent computer consultants is to get your name out in front of clients and prospects so they will contact you for your service or product.
The fastest and cheapest way to successful PR is to do it yourself. I am a big fan on getting help when needed. Outsourcing it to a PR firm can get expensive especially as an independent computer consultant. YoueyHe might enjoy it. It’s fun to see you name and face in lights. Think movie star.
Two items I do that are fast and cheap are press releases and letter-to-the-editor. Both are free and are great advertisement to get your name to the media who distribute to their magazine.
Press releases and letters-to-the-editor are done to your target market trade magazines. Don’t rule out any publicity that you can take advantage of. Recently, received an award about my business and the local community where I live. I immediately did a press release and sent it the local newspapers who will publish it. Then talking to a friend in town who said he saw the press release and congratulated me on the award. Local news is good for some things.
There are 7 ways to write a letter-to-the editor.
1) You are reading a trade magazine on the train commute to
the client site.
2) You notice an article that gets you upset because it right, wrong, incorrect with facts or needs additional information.
3) Take out notebook to jot down your ideas on what's wrong. State fact's.
4) When you get to your desk or home that night, open a word document and write the letter. Make sure you are fired up when writing. You want passion on this. State facts as why you disagree or agree with the author of the article.
5) Look up where to email, fax or mail letter to editor of trade magazine.
6) Proof read it. Keep with amount of words that letters ask to be written.
7) Fire it off.
If it's a good letter-to-the-editor, you will either receive a call or email to verify all the information and then get the magazine and watch for it. Boom, you are published and your name it out in the target market.
One idea to getting the most of the letter-to-the-editor is to fire off a press release saying you just got published and offer free copies of the published letter to all who ask. Again, make sure it’s to the target market.
Have a consistent PR campaign. Doing one press release every few years will not get you anything. Be an opportunity seeker by observing everything around as it relates to you target market. If you see news or have an idea, jump on it.
A good press release course is at www.PublicityHound.com/pressreleasetips/art.htm
Teaching is a great way to get one's thoughts together and great personal rewards. Teach at local college and create programs for adult education companies are two I have done with success. Another one is teaching seminar teleclasses. One online teleclass seminar is at http://www.teleclass.com/ . To be a seminar leader at teleclass.com, you have to take a teachers class. It’s about six 1 hour weeks and the benefit is you can connect worldwide with people teaching seminars.
I have done all and have enjoyed it. One tip I do offer I learned while an assistant scout master for a local boy scout troop. When we taught merit badges for the boys, the scout master said, “keep one step ahead knowing your material.” Great advice.
Be a specialist and not a know it all. Years ago when Howard Cosell was alive, he hosted a radio show to discuss anything and everything. The show had a short life span. He must have been the guru of everything. So he thought.
So be prepared, practice and enjoy.
I know what you are thinking – I am computer person and I don't speak well. Well, get over it. You are reading this and you are ready to be famous, so let's have a positive attitude and now let's get out there and speak.
The reason why people fail at speaking is that they fail to prepare enough. Do you know what a good speech is? How may points go into a speech? Join Toastmasters to help you perfect speaking. Even if you think you are good, you can be better and toastmasters can help you with that. Go to www.toastmasters.org to find a club near you.
Once you learn what goes into a speech, nobody will get you to shut up. And that is good. Practice speaking at lunch with your friends, business meetings and at the water cooler.
Record yourself speaking. I am recording myself reading this article to see if it sounds good. Whew, the first draft of this article was garbage. So get going and speak.
By the way, a good speech is someone who knows their audience and there are three points to a speech – opening, body and closing.
Writing is a great way to collect your thoughts and get them on paper. Having it publish is fairly simple.
Writing for the independent computer consultant is broken down into whitepapers, case studies, ezines, articles, books, and tip sheets and publishing all six ways.
Let look at each:
1) Whitepapers - whitepapers are technical paper on a company’s particular product. Companies write whitepapers to get their product notice to their target market. It shows how to solve a particular problem. Engineers and computer people are asked to write them for their company’s products. This helps with the sales process. Whitepapers are a great selling vehicle for sales people. They are pretty simple to do and another step
to positioning yourself to being an guru.
A great website is www.bitpipe.com.
2) Case studies - usually a one page study on how your company solved a particular problem. I have used it for companies to increase their sales with financing options (leasing). A great sales tool and should be published on your website.
3) Ezine - self-publishing an ezine is a simple process of writing up several articles, tips, what's going on with your company and emailing out to a list. I keep my list in excel spreadsheet. When it's get to big to manage, I will upgrade to a service.
I usually send it out monthly. Every time I sent out my ezine titled Dan's leasing letters I get a response and opportunity to make money. Have a sign-up form on your website.
4) Articles - writing and publishing articles is as simple as writing it and putting it on your website. Then you are considered published. Trade Associations have magazines that need content as well as trade publications. Getting a copy of writer’s market book will assist you in finding out your target market trade press.
A great website to publish you articles is ezinearticles.com
5) Books - I have not done a book in many years, and it's a great recognition builder. If you published a book, either self-publish or through a publisher, you will be recognized as an expert faster.
6) Tip Sheets - these are very easy to create. Like this article 10 ways to… or 7 pillars to ... all to solve a particular problem. What is nice about tip sheets you open up a word document, figure out a particular problem then make a list to solve it. Put it on your website, send out a press release or print it off and hand them out at networking events. Very easy and again, you are published.
A great website to publish tip sheets is http://www.topten.org/ .
Have a value, attractive website. Here are five why's you website may not be attracting prospects and do the opposite:
1. It’s boring - it's about you and your company. Nothing about your client/prospect.
2. Confusing - too crowded with words and graphics.
3. Name - hard name to remember or get to.
4. Antique information - fix by updating site frequently. Keep content fresh.
5. Value - you do not provide content for your client/prospect.
Overall, have a website that has value for you client and prospects to keep coming back. Include on your website -- ezine signup, articles, and contact information.
This is my favorite section. I enjoy creating from my ideas how to improve a business problem. Creating creative solutions for your clients and your business will help get you in the top ten percent.
Just this morning I was sitting down to map out a plan on a 15 minute presentation to a prospect. But first I need to prepare for the presentation which is having coffee before a networking event. I prepared researching her and the company she works for. I lay out how my company can solve her problems. I compare and contrast me and my competition and their company and their competition and how their competition is killing them with a service similar to mind. Whew, that’s a lot. This case it’s installing a vendor leasing program.
This is just a real example of being fun creative. One type of creativity is mix and matching existing services with different products. How your service or product
can be sold like another service in a completely different field?
Another example on a larger scale compared to me is Richard Branson Virgin Atlantic Airlines. My wife and I just flew them to London and they are incredible. Highly recommended by a world traveled friend, when the plane lands Virgin Atlantic has a limo waiting for the first class passengers. WOW! That's service. Branson's success is inventing new ideas by combining, mixing, matching existing ideas to create the best business. Remember this, there is no perfect business. All businesses can improve.
To learn more about creativity, start ready books, listening to tapes and CD's on creativity. Then get started by practicing creativity daily. Have a notebook handy to jot down all your ideas.
Some great creative stuff to get - -Earl Nightingale, Michael Michako's book Thinkertoys. So get started right this moment.
Dan Singleton enjoys computer contracting. Currently he’s trying to land with Fidelity Investments again. Wish him luck at : Danfirstname.lastname@example.org.