We recently had a massage therapist ask me if she could start a business concentrating on holistic products and services. As I conduct massage therapy all the time I knew she would be able to sell these very same services, but she wanted to know if she could build a complete business in the massage therapy practice and not just sell the massages. This re-writer recently discovered that she did not want to just sell massage therapy, she also wanted to build a complete business in everything that she knew! This included product knowledge, business planning, tax information, insurance selection, writing calming yet seductive script applications, editing scripts to the specific commands of the clients, preparing daily application commissions and also all the associated administration such as listing, filing, pricing, ordering, filling out, etc.
Most recently she had re-written her curriculums to include a healthy body as part of wellness and to include stress management in her quest to calm her clients before her classes began. She planned to start her own business as a wellness coach to provide valuable information to her clients to help them manage stress. She is writing her Bachelor of Arts degree in Life Sciences in order to pursue her Studies in Psychology and to learn more about the anatomy, functions, allergies, diets, etc. She is planning on starting her business in the near future; specifically in two months.
Did you know you are able to take a “Chart of Accounts” showing all the services you have performed for your clients to date? Do you update your clients list on a regular basis? Do you build and maintain a current profile on LinkedIn or other social networking sites? If you do, you have taken major steps to begin earning money as a freelance service provider.
Ask yourself if you are telling your clients, “Whatever I require, you can give me.”
I recently had a client ask me to write her a description of what she wanted. She asked me to describe what her personality was like and what kind of person she was. She wanted to know what I would describe as her personality. This client was quite surprised because I am usually able to discern what others perceive, but not what my personality actually is. I told her I could do it if she would give me a clear and concise description of what I do. She said she would do it, and I encouraged her to try.
You will be surprised as to how your clients are varied and how their personalities can affect you in ways you never dreamed of. I have had individuals who were in for a total loss of everything as their house has just been sold, and they have to leave everything behind as if they were never there. You can have a fairly normal conversation with people and they will listen carefully and think seriously about what they are saying. Some clients will talk easily and are articulate and clear meaning they can explain exactly what they are talking about, making them a bit tough to follow. Others will talk in a monotone and you have to wait for them to finish their sentences. A client may talk about a “Bad Hair Day.” What does that tell me? I don’t know, I just know it is something I don’t want to hire my boss to be doing.
While clients may find you are both easy to get to know and talk to, you will also have to be a professional at all times to avoid tweeting drunken stories or other such social advancements that could be detrimental to your future business interests. Twitter and other social media websites are becoming more and more popular for commercial purposes, and if you use them appropriately and not professionally, you will get noticed. Some of the biggest forms of social media have become forms of networking that perhaps, more than anything else, connect us with our customers.
While social media may be a fun and exciting way to interact with our peers and with businesses that may be prospective clients, it is not a good place to be if you are serious about operating a successful business. I may seem completely impartial, but I honestly believe that serious business people use social media for functions other than interaction. The two primary reasons are that a professional and a business use of social media interactions creates a brand and personal name for the business and should be used sparingly. As you become more familiar with networking and developing a name for yourself as a business professional, you should limit social media use to uplift your friends and family or post regularly about your business, product, or opinions.
A business is also a name that has a long history behind it and something that makes people believe in it. Once you have a business name you can use it as a component of a name, but you could also use the same name in referring too your friends and colleagues in a friend group or whatever social group you belong to. This is a great way to network without actually using your name which makes you miss being you and come across as someone else.