One of the most common professional conversations I have is with people who are considering becoming an independent consultant or freelancer after years in the corporate world. (If you care to know, one of the most common personal conversations I have is whether anyone has fed the dog and who is supposed to take out the trash…..but I digress.)
If you are considering this transition or EVEN IF YOU ARE NOT and you just want to make a smooth career transition to another corporate position, here are Five things you can do in One week to make a positive step.
1. Update your resumes. Yes – your several resumes. You do have several, right? You should have a couple that reflect the corporate positions you could move into, your 140 character twitter resume, your LinkedIn resume and your list of accomplishments and references. Set a time limit. Update 5 of these in 48 hours. That’s it. Sit down, logout of Facebook and pound them out. A writer’s quote is “you cannot edit a blank page.” Even if you hate the material you create in 48 hours, you will have a start and something to work with or something to give to a trusted advisor to help them critique and polish your work.
2. Get Business Cards. PERSONAL business cards. With your cell phone, email, twitter handle and your strengths. For many years my cards said simply: Flora Delaney. Creativity. Leadership. Energy. And my contact information. It’s SUPER easy to create professional, inexpensive ones with www.vistaprint.com or I love the MOO mini cards at www.moo.com 100 with a great design for $19.95. Then give them to EVERY single person you talk to and mail them to anyone you talk with over the phone along with a written note.
3. Buy a URL. If you are serious about creating your own business now or anytime in the future, I highly recommend that you take control of your internet content and buy a URL that can become your launching pad. To begin, try to buy your name (like my www.floradelaney.com URL.) If you cannot get your name (or an acceptable variation) consider a more creative approach: a URL that attaches one of your strengths to your name like CreativeCandiceJones.com or OrganizedLarrySmith.com Try NOT to select a URL that only has a secondary domain extension like .ORG or .CO because 99 times out of 100 your audience will search you with the .COM extension and get something else. Just because you cannot get your first choice, does not mean you should pass up purchasing a URL. Buying one is a necessary step in becoming your own business. Also, do not pigeonhole your website with a name that will not transition well should you change careers in the future like selecting BusinessAnalystRaymond.com when you decide in the future to become a landscape designer. Once you have tied up your URL, move to step 4:
4. Create a website. It can be as small as 3 pages: A home page that talks about your strengths and capabilities, a reference page with clients or co-workers expounding on your talents and success and a contact page for people to send you an email. Get really involved and add a 4th page that is a blog that you update with some regularity just to keep your name in the Google search engine. All told, this should be achievable with very little cost. If you don’t believe me, contact ArtofRogue.com and see how affordable a great looking site can be.
5. Manage your Google content. Google your name and hometown and see what comes up. If it isn’t your LinkedIn profile and a few laudatory mentions in articles or blogs, you need to manage your own content. Do that by making sure you are an active LinkedIn user, getting your name and your website into publications and then publicizing those mentions across the internet, getting listed in freelance directories and keeping any poor publicity on the internet to a minimum. Consider writing an article for a publication or being a guest blogger on someone else’s site that would be a good connection.
If (and when) you are serious about making this transition, commit to getting every one of these done in five days. It’s a great way to prepare for the pace of life as a freelancer.