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No one wants

Cheryl Gittens

No one wants

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This week, I wrap up our series targeting the Solo Professional. I want to expand on a few points I made in the article Passion To Profession, as it is fairly common for many professionals to have great services that can improve the quality of life for many prospective clients but are still not attracting paying clients.  
Of course. Part of that has to do with the recession (both real and imagined.) The other part has to do with the fact that many professionals think that marketing is a dirty word.
I certainly used to think so. But let’s get real – why would you go to the trouble of opening a business doing something that you love, which you believe solves somebody’s problem, and then keep it to yourself? Oh, and not to mention, throw a pity party themed Nuhbody Ain’t Spending Nuh Money. Surely you see the humour in that.
So today I want to expand a bit on this notion of marketing and selling for the solo-professional. Solo marketing and selling cannot be driven by nor patterned after the marketing and sales strategies of larger companies.
Companies market their images and products, solo-professionals market themselves.
Solo-preneurs tend to start businesses based on their passions and among the many enduring myths is that when you are focused on your passion you tend not to be very good at anything administrative. Many solo-professionals also see themselves as having talents that they turned into businesses and so struggle to “peddle” their talents for money.
So when I hear language like that it reveals to me that there is an underlying belief withholding the solo-professional from success. First of all, you have to examine your own belief around whether you are even worthy of being paid for your services.
Digging deeper, you may want to explore whether you really believe your service has any value, and even deeper, do you feel worthy of even having the talents you do?  
Quickly you will find that the question is not about marketing skills at all but about self-worth and confidence about owning your talent and accepting that it truly has value to others. This could take some serious self-discovery, but attracting clients is far more than creative marketing techniques.
Once you feel that you and your talent, passion and service actually is valuable, then you need to tell people about it. I will not go into advertising and promotional ideas but rather speak to the mental space from which you may opt to do so.
Many solo-professionals detest marketing because they equate it to selling. The truth is that in this day and age, no one should be selling anything unless they have been asleep for the last decade. People don’t like being sold to, so are off the hook. What they do like is being served by people they know, like and trust. The good news is that people who love what they do are easy to like.  
Clients are attracted to you when you stick to being the person who shares what you love and focus on getting them to buy the thing(s) you love. When you turn up wanting to serve, your prospect gets an opportunity to know and eventually like you.
Guess what? People do business with people they like. Wow! Puzzle solved.  Now you can focus on creating relationships with your clients the way you do with anyone you like. I am pretty sure if you discovered a healthy alternative to a product you use, you would share it. The marketing and advertising devices you choose will be a function of your own creativity.
The challenge in life is that we think everything must be hard and we keep searching outside ourselves for some technique to attract our clients, when the essence of that attraction is ourselves. Our unique authentic drivers which include our personality, our motives, and certainly our passion, values and beliefs will help us to
self-select the techniques that match those drivers. That is the blueprint of your marketing strategy. What attracts your client is how attractive you are. Now you can stop selling and serve.
• Cheryl Gittens is a life performance coach to professionals and a lecturer at the University of the West Indies.