Guest Post by Ownr
When you run a contracting business, the independent nature of your work can sometimes make you feel like you’re on an island alone. In reality, the independent contractor business is a significant piece of the national workforce, representing 1 in 10 employees in the U.S.1
Unlike a traditional job where an individual is tied to the same job for the same company year after year, independent contracting allows people to go from working for one company to another, often working for multiple businesses simultaneously.
One of the things that make contracting unique from a traditional job is that growing your business is always top of mind. Because contractors are going from job to job, it’s a good idea to always be thinking and networking toward the next opportunity or client you want to secure. Thankfully, there are ways general contractors and freelancers can grow their networks and client base.
Brainstorm where your skills and clients’ needs intersect
Take an honest look at where your strengths lie in terms of your contracting skillset. Next, try to brainstorm what businesses or local organizations could benefit from what you have to bring to the table and reach out to them.
Get a professional website
If you haven’t already, invest in a personal website that details your expertise and allows potential clients to find and contact you for business inquiries. A simple website can bring credibility to your contracting business that can be the deciding factor whether a client will go with you or your competitor.
Annually review your pricing model
One of the barriers to securing as many contracting jobs as you would like could be pricing. Consider annually evaluating your rates when it comes to other similarly qualified contracts in your local area and on job sites to ensure you keep your competitive edge.
Get involved in your community
Another way to meet more prospective clients is to get involved in local organizations they tend to frequent or be associated with. Consider reaching out to the board of directors of your local Business Improvement Association (BIA) or similar organizations specific to your client base. This simple gesture shows that you care about your local community, which can help create a connection between you and your potential clients.
Consider becoming a subcontractor
Another great way to top off your monthly income is to become a subcontractor. Subcontractors complete jobs secured by contractors that have established credibility and can lead to long-term job gains as your contractor learns your skillset. You can often find subcontractor listings on job sites, but make sure to research the contractor thoroughly before taking on the job as their professional reputation may affect your job prospects if you become officially associated.
Promote, promote, promote
One of the things that differentiate an employee’s approach to work from a contractor is that a contractor is always working to secure their next client. This means that cold calling, marketing and networking should always be part of your weekly to-do list.
Testimonials can go a long way
One of the hidden weapons of a contractor is word-of-mouth business, which happens when happy clients become advocates on your behalf to other prospective clients. You can harness happy customers by prompting them to write testimonials about your services to feature on your personal website or LinkedIn.
Whether your goal is to secure more or better clients, it’s important to research and get to know your target audience. This is because knowing who you’re talking to is the first step to knowing how and where to market to them. To help determine whether you understand your target audience, consider where you’ve had success and where opportunities may lie, within the following two client categories:
1. Those who have a heightened need or want of your product or service
2. Those who are likely to buy it and continue buying your product or service
Now that you’ve explored which segment of clients you’d like to secure more of, you can begin to target them using different platforms like Instagram, Facebook and mailing lists. Platforms such as these provide robust reports on your business pages and ads, which means you can get granular about who you’re talking to. For example, are you an accountant who wants to target middle-aged business owners in the Greater Bay Area that have started their own business in the last year located in the larger Greater Bay area? Facebook ad targeting can help you do just that.
While some people view the world of contracting as less secure than a regular job, having your skills in demand by multiple companies has its benefits and can be seen as the more stable option. In addition, by having a registered business, whether it’s incorporated or a sole proprietorship, contractors can bring a level of credibility to their client work that helps protect their job prospects in the long run.
Entrepreneurs that are ready to take the next step to register or incorporate their business quickly and affordably can do so with the help of Ownr. Unlike other companies, it simplifies the process and saves you money while keeping you connected to in-person support by phone and email.