I am working hard to build a client base at the moment. I am particularly keen about building and fostering long term business clients and associations. Of course every business needs to make money. However, I don’t want my business to pick up the odd job here and there, I want to establish a reputation for my work. The sticky thing is, starting out in a profession, by definition, means you do not have a history of happy clients... yet.
I have touched on the subject of marketing before, a massive subject for any business, even if it is small. You have to master it, then keep on perfecting after that! No matter which way you slice it, word of mouth, a personal recommendation or a review, is pure gold. Therefore, I thought to myself, what better way to promote the skills I possess than to have previous happy clients publicly say how wonderful I am?
It seems simple enough, doesn’t it? So I immediately wanted to put this into action. I will put a review section on my website! Oh wait, I have the option to take reviews on my Facebook page….or perhaps it would look more business-like if it came from a LinkedIn profile…or perhaps a register I have joined would be more practical. Aaaaand so my mind rambled. When in doubt…ask.
So this is the point where I took a few days to phrase my question, bite the bullet and simply ask. I opened a question within one of my wonderful groups on linkedIn. I received a deluge of responses and it turns out this is a very awkward area for even the most seasoned in editing circles. Quite simply, it just feels like you are saying ‘Please validate me by telling the world I am great’. It feels desperate and needy. Every single response I received all ended the same way, that they had settled on a system for recommendations, but it is all a bit awkward now, isn’t it?
Well, I think I will break that barrier down in my own way. Unlike a physical product that can speak for itself, intellectual service providers like proofreaders and editors need word of mouth to spread their literary gospel. There should be no shame in that. It is not being needy, it is asking for a satisfied client to specifically espouse that your service stood out for a reason. I have always been a big believer in leading by example. I will practice what I preach and get into the practice of leaving reviews on sites when I am happy. I will also proudly, yes proudly, request that people leave reviews about my service on my LinkedIn review page with the full knowledge that I will post them on my website. After all, those gold stars buy a solid reputation that will improve my service to others in the future.