Self-employed folks tend to focus on the services they provide—and why not? I am a writer, so I’m always eying the next big copywriting gig I can snag, or trying to find a cool story to pitch to a magazine. But sometimes, it pays to focus on the many skills you have within your career because those can provide other avenues to reach prospects, grow revenue, establish yourself in the field, and develop your natural aptitudes.
NOT ONLY DID I MAKE EXTRA MONEY FROM TAKING ON THE PROJECT, BUT IT BROUGHT A CLIENT BACK INTO THE PICTURE THAT OTHERWISE MAY HAVE NEVER CALLED AGAIN.
Case in point: The phone rang the other day and it was a client who had used my website copywriting services several months ago. I figured he wanted another piece of collateral written, but it turns out, he had other plans for me.
He wanted me to write his resume.
What’s behind Door #2 of your skill house?
And that’s cool, because I write resumes. It’s not my bread-and-butter service, but it’s something I do. I promote it to my clients—everyone knows somebody who can use a better resume, right?—now and then. I often mention in my newsletter that I am a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), which is how the client knew to call me when he needed a resume in a pinch.
Not only did I make extra money from taking on the project, but it brought a client back into the picture that otherwise may have never called again. That can be a game-changer for your business. It can reinforce ties you already have. Please the client and it could earn you a testimonial you may have not otherwise received. The possibilities, really, are endless.
That’s a plus for having ancillary services based on your abilities. In my case, I knew I could attract individuals with resume writing, whereas the rest of my business is tailored at other companies. It opened me up to another market. It’s brought me down to a one-on-one level, which differs because the content I usually write is meant to reach the masses. It enables me to connect with individuals in a different way than my usual interactions with project managers. And in acquiring my CPRW credential, I took it a step further to show that I not only write resumes; but a leading career organization says I’m good at it, too. So it looks sharp.
I never know when a resume client may know someone who needs a copywriter. So I can also generate my bread-and-butter projects from it.
Expanding your skill set
Resume writing is just another room in the house, so to say, and I am always building a new wing. My house of skills is not so big that I can’t manage it—but at least it’s got more than one room. I’ve got one for copywriting, one for blogging, another for magazine publishing, a library to represent my growing collection of authored books, and yes, the resume-writing room. All under the house of Kristen. I like to think of it as a mini-mansion; well, at least it’s not the shack it used to be when I began freelancing. While I have no desire to live in a mini-mansion, I want to reach for the very best and one day have a palace of skills and accomplishments.
Opening up other sources of income not only helps make sure you always have dough coming in; it can lead to other benefits. For example, I’m often asked to contribute my thoughts from a resume writer’s perspective, and have been featured in career publications. It also makes me a well-rounded writer that understands different types of writing—a huge plus for clients that need more than just marketing collateral. It gave me part of the platform to write my latest book as well.
How big will you build your house?
So, what are your skills? What area can you expand into? And what will the benefits be? Maybe expanding your skills brings in more work, gives you something to write about in your bio or newsletter, or leads to press opportunities. You really don’t know where it can lead, but chances are others will want a tour of the house, so to speak. It could open up a whole new sector of your business.
Niches are nice. They’re cozy. And I’m not saying they don’t work, or that having one isn’t a marketing advantage. But when you think outside of the box and open yourself up to all the possibilities that your skills can unlock, it kind of makes you want to explore them. My advice? Don’t be afraid—go room by room and see which doors you’d like to open.
Kristen Fischer is a born-and-raised Jersey girl, and the author of When Talent Isn’t Enough: Business Basics for the Creatively Inclined. She has been a full-time freelance copywriter for more than eight years. Learn more at KristenFischer.com.