The advantage of self selecting clients

When I first left the BBC and was considering whether to have a fancy corporate sounding name for my business, or to pretend that there was a whole team of people rather than just little old me, I decided to be up front and not pretend. I also chatted to my former boss about whether to adopt the dispassionate, third person tone of much consultancy and he said “Why be like everyone else. Be yourself. That is what people are buying”

Most of my work comes through referrals, speaking gigs or my blog and twitter. As those of you reading this will know I am reasonably forthright and open about what I think in each of those spaces. As a result people who I work with know what they are getting in advance. The advantage of this is that I get to work with those who I consider really, really nice, smart people!

Do your clients, or indeed your boss, know what they are getting up front?

2 thoughts on “The advantage of self selecting clients

  1. It's a tricky one this! As someone who just started my own business, it was something I had to think about. My issue was that whilst in the beginning it is just going to be me, I do have visions of growth and expansion. So in the end for future proofing purposes I went with a bit of the 'we' and 'us' stuff, but tried to make it personal at the same time, so that people knew who is doing stuff at the moment.

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  2. I've often considered what "Brand" I would use for myself if I was to work for myself and I can't really think of one that would suit me. This is probably much for the same reasons, I am 'Me' and that is what you get when you employ me. I recently changed jobs and I was more concious than ever before that people aren't paying for my time, they aren't paying me to sit at a desk, they are paying for my mind and the associations that come with it.I have spent the past decade building myself as a brand, people know 'Bob' and they associate me with my employer. When I moved on people were genuinely keen to know where I was going and if there was some synergy for them because, as I understand it, they liked working with me. Working on my brand now means that I get invited to speak at events, without needing to put myself forward, and people are interested to hear my opinion. I am not yet ready to work for myself because I haven't yet reached a point at which I have stopped growing through working for other people and I like to know the (large) mortgage is being paid every month.I have little doubt that I will naturally progress to a point at which organisations find it easier for me to be freelance because the suggestions are already coming. But I watch other freelancers in my sector, occasionally see a hand-to-mouth existence and think that I would like to be more secure. There is still time.

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