5 Tips to Enhance Your Private Career Practice

By Michelle Precourt.

I’ve come to realize that operating a private practice requires a multi-faceted skill set and approach. I cannot simply sit in my home office and hope that clients will find me. Certainly, some have found me on their own, and that is always exciting, but connecting with others is very important. I do this in a few ways, and I’d like to share the key actions that have helped me along the way.

Seek Business Advice

Talk to successful business owners. My cousin has been in the painting business for over 20 years, so he must be doing something right! When I was contemplating launching my private career practice, he gave me a few pointers about pricing and marketing. He explained that it took some time to figure out how to bid on jobs.

It’s the same for private career practitioners. We need to determine what the market is willing to pay and what our services are worth.

Clarity about your client’s situation is important in order to be able to research what price the market will support. For example, a new grad isn’t likely to have the same career development budget as an executive would have. As for the value of services offered, I’ve learned not to underprice myself. Consider the training, experience, and past successes you’ve had, and don’t forget to factor in your expenses.

In terms of marketing, my cousin has a long list of testimonials on his website. Over the years, these testimonials have served him well. I’ve taken the same approach. When I wrap up a client project, I ask the person if they’d be willing to write a testimonial for use on my website, Google, or LinkedIn. The only way to build your portfolio of testimonials is to ask for them!

Regardless of the industry, speaking to others in business can help build your understanding of common considerations and pitfalls to avoid. Oh, and if you haven’t taken it already, CPC’s free online course, “Start a Career Practice“, is packed full of helpful information.

Watch, Learn, and Grow

You can learn a lot by watching other professionals from the sidelines. I follow several entrepreneurs, including business coaches and other career coaches. Some of my favourites are:

Shelly Elsliger = Globally Recognized LinkedIn Trainer

Adrienne Tom – Executive Résumé Writer

David Burkus – Keynote Speaker

Over time, some of us have formed relationships; we have gotten to know each other and have built trust. I make it a practice to tag my business peers and those I admire in my social media posts and they do the same for me. I have learned a lot by building respectful relationships with others in business and carefully observing how they operate. I have grown to appreciate my online friendships and the collaboration that goes along with them.

Build a Social Media Presence and Commit to It!

We know that social media works, but in order to gain maximum benefit from using social media platforms, you need to know your target audience. Posting quality content that your audience wants is important. Ask yourself:

  • What do you want your audience to think about?
  • What do you want them to believe?
  • What actions do you want them to take?
  • Would you be proud to show your mother the posts you write? Think about it!

Understanding your audience takes time. Take a critical look at your posts that fell flat and the ones that got traction. What differences do you see between the two categories? Was it the content? The time of day? The right use of hashtags? Track your analytics to understand what your followers want from you.

You also need to be consistent in your use of social media. I am on LinkedIn and Instagram daily. I take breaks from time-to-time, but consistency is important. If you can’t be consistent, skip it.

Network! Network! Network!

 I quickly learned how valuable networking is to the health of my private practice. I set a target of attending at least one networking meeting a week. My background is in HR, so I attend local HR events. At these events, I’ll often take pictures, then post and tag my peers for networking visibility on my social media sites. In addition, I’m a member of a business club that supports local entrepreneurs by hosting weekly meetings and providing a referral system.

I’ve also joined Toastmasters. There are numerous benefits to being a member of this global organization. Not only have I polished my public speaking abilities, but I have met some great people. In-person networking is key to getting noticed.

Lead by Example

If you offer to help your clients with personal branding, make sure YOUR personal band is strong, professional, and consistent. Whatever your skill set, be sure to demonstrate it through your own work. What you say, what you do, and what you write should always reflect and support your brand. Credibility is important!

I hope that I’ve left you with some ideas on how to make your career practice thrive and grow, but, remember:

“Not everything you see and hear is meant for you. Take what you need and leave the rest.” Michelle Risi – The Fabric of Our Soul

Image by Gerd Altmann on Pixabay

Comments

  1. All good points in this article. For me, it has been attending industry events to learn more about specific industries. In addition, what has worked is when I see something or hear of something that might be useful for someone else I will send them the info with no expectation of getting anything in return I believe in “what goes around comes around.” I will connect with those individuals who I know are super connectors-they seem to know everyone -they are a great source of referrals.

    Plus regularly posting on LinkedIn articles that are of interest to my different targets by sharing an article of interest. I also congratulate people have made career shifts and changes in jobs as many people who are looking at the change also see my info and I get calls as it triggers for them that they need to make a change!
    If you get referrals from others remember to thank them for the referral- I have one happy client who in the last 8 months has referred my six people all who have just contracted with me based on her recommendation and all are quality clients.

    • Thanks for taking the time to read my article Dorothy and for sharing your ideas as well. We can learn a lot from others. I appreciate your point of reciprocation. It is important to be grateful for those who have contributed to our success. In addition to share with no expectation! Your success story of your client who has referred 8 clients is amazing and speaks to the quality of your work. Clearly you have build a trusting relationship. Well done!

  2. Thanks Michelle for sharing your thoughts.
    I am also a member of Toastmasters (4 clubs actually…).
    I am currently working through an EAP, but want to expand my business.
    My son is currently reworking my franwatson.ca webpage to reflect my new branding.
    I have some testimonials from clients but can’t use their names. I thought I might still use them.

    Dorothy you made some really good points about using Linked-In in a better way. Thanks.

    Fran

    • Michelle Precourt

      Hi Fran,

      You can use testimonials without disclosing personal information – could be first name only or job title. I also agree that LinkedIn is a very effective tool to network and share your professional brand. Working at home, I count on my LI connections for “social interaction” when I can’t get to in person events.

      Thanks for your comments Fran.

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