How do agency leaders start their business? How do freelancers make their ‘side gig’ a full-time career? Learn from experts who have created their own careers as they discuss what it takes to become your own boss and sustain an independent business in the marketing communications field.
1. Foster Positive Relationships
Marketing communications is all about relationships. Each day practitioners conduct client relations, media relations, consumer relations and more. When meeting someone new in the industry or a prospective client, it is crucial to make a good first impression. Even if this connection does not lead to a contract or new opportunity, it can lead to a positive referral or collaboration down the road.
Maintaining positive relationships with current clients means client retention and the maintenance of a consistent flow of work for your agency or individual consultancy practices. Clients who have a positive relationship with you and your work will be more likely to make referrals and provide testimonials that can be used to attract prospective clients.
2. Identify Your Niche
Find your niche in a broad industry to create a specialized draw for clients. To do this, find your lighthouse client, the client you can always deliver results to because you have a deep understanding of their needs and how to fulfill them. When you recognize what industry this client is in, research their industry on an even deeper level.
Once you create a strong relationship with this client, and begin to develop your niche in that clients industry, you will find yourself organically networking with other prospective clients in a similar space. By leveraging your expertise, these new connections will have more buy-in to contract with you, or your firm, because of your record of success with their market.
3. Always Consider Your Reputation
It is critical that all marketing communications professionals develop, understand and follow their individual and organizational code of ethics. Conducting ethical practices and being honest with clients upfront are two of the most important aspects of maintaining a positive reputation.
It can be uncomfortable to have conversations about adjusting expectations with clients or expressing that a partnership may not be the right fit for success on either end, but it is important to state these concerns. Not all opportunities will be the right fit for your skillset or agency expertise and it is important to recognize and honor those situations to avoid damaging your reputation by producing low quality work or under delivering on set expectations.
4. Become a Lifelong Student
Marketing Communications is a fast-evolving industry. New trends, digital platforms and industry standards are constantly changing and it can be difficult to stay relevant without recognizing and responding to new practices. In order to best serve clients, create engaging campaigns and continue to reach new audiences, marketing communications professionals should be following industry publications, attending professional development and networking events and exploring continuing education opportunities.
Interested in more tips about how to "Create Your Own Career" in marketing communications? Watch the full session recording below.