Ask for the Sale

I’ve just returned from a two-day conference with a select group of online entrepreneurs. This event gave me plenty of great ideas that I’ll be putting to use in my business, especially as I launch my series of e-books in 2004 (on the topics for which I also offer talks and workshops).

The most important lesson I drew from this conference was about building my business. See, I’m an independent writer, editor, and trainer. I’m in business for myself, and no one is going to build my business but me.

This CONTENTIOUS weblog is a key tool for attracting clients – but I haven’t been making the best use of it in that regard. So far, I’ve been far too understated in how I tell my readers I’m actively seeking new projects and speaking engagements.

My colleagues at this conference looked at CONTENTIOUS and said, “Uhm, Amy, you’re not really asking for the sale.”

DUH! They were right! I did have a link to my Gahran.com site, which explains and advertises my many services (and which I recently overhauled in order to more accurately reflect the kinds of work I’m currently seeking). However, nowhere on CONTENTIOUS did I specifically clarify that I am available for hire!

OK, I’m now taking steps to fix that….

BLOG LAYOUT: You’ll notice that now the top of the right-hand column on every page of CONTENTIOUS now says “Hire Amy Gahran!” – with a brief explanation of what I do, how to contact me, and how to find more info about what I do. That’s step 1.

E-MAIL ALERTS: I’ve also updated the template for my e-mail alerts to include similar information. Thousands of people around the world get my e-mail announcements, and many of them forward my announcements on to their friends and colleagues – a marketing opportunity I definitely need to leverage.

RSS: I’m currently working on tweaking the template for my RSS feed to include a footer with information about my services and a link to Gahran.com. When I implement that, I’ll announce it here.

WHAT ELSE? I’m sure there’s more I could or should be doing. I’d deeply appreciate suggestions along these lines from CONTENTIOUS readers. Please e-mail me or comment below.

It’s not that I’m desperate for work, but any self-employed person must perpetually “feed the pipeline.” I’d like to do this more effectively and efficiently.

And of course, if you’re interested in my services, please contact me. Also, feel free to pass along my name and information – I love referrals!

ABOUT ASKING FOR THE SALE: I’m grateful to my entrepreneur colleagues for pointing out the obvious. Since I come from a journalism background, rather than marketing or PR, I tend to focus mainly on delivering information, analysis, and commentary more than “making the sale.”

I definitely don’t want CONTENTIOUS to become nothing but a crass marketing vehicle. Still, I cannot overlook the fact that marketing my services is one of the main reasons why I publish CONTENTIOUS. I guess sometimes it takes an outside perspective to remind me where I’m going and what I’m doing.

I know a lot of CONTENTIOUS readers also are independent professionals, who (like me) may be neglecting to “ask for the sale.” To help you out (and myself, too), I’ve just looked up a couple of great articles on this theme. Enjoy!

2 thoughts on Ask for the Sale

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  1. JB wrote below, “It might help your sales if you provide examples of your work.”

    Well, in my site’s “projects” section I do provide links to many sites and publications I’ve worked on, and you can find much of my work there. But I’ve found with editing and consulting work, references make more sense than online samples — and I provide client references upon request.

    And then, of course, there is CONTENTIOUS — which is in many ways one big sample of what I know and what I can do.

    And the e-book series I will be introducing in 2004 also should do the same.

    But I will give more thought to a sample library.

    – Amy Gahran
    CONTENTIOUS