Do things, tell people.

Loren BurtonJuly 18, 2013

I came across this gem on in a HN thread, Ask HN: Becoming a Freelancer in 6 months?. I liked it so much I had to share it. Full credit goes to TamDenholm (website).

"Golden Rule: Do things, tell people.

Seriously, coding skills matter less in the real world than you think, those will get better with time anyway. Eventually you'll get to a point where you can work in places where coding skills do matter, like dev studios, startups, big companies etc, but for non-tech small to medium businesses, they only care what you've done, not what the quality of your code is. You can make a damn good living setting up wordpress sites, installing a theme, adding content and managing it with social media accounts if you wanted, and that requires the least amount of skills out there.

Lets take the above scenario of being a wordpress installer. First, its about selling yourself in the right light, you're not a wordpress installer that makes people websites. You're an online presence consultant that helps SME's engage with their audience and thus increase their profit.

Second, get your first client, ask everyone you know to put you in touch with small business owners, get meetings and show them the package you're offering, do it for $500 or something, hell do it for free if you have to, just get something you can use as a case study, anything, a local pet shop, whatever. Once you've got your case study, get your own presence setup, put your case study on your website, get business cards printed up etc. Prepare a powerpoint presentation and a few handouts with the benefits of an online presence, making sure your contact info is on this.

Now join your local non-tech business groups, chamber of commerce, networking events etc, and get yourself speaking engagements, make presentations to local SME's explaining that they can increase their profit and talk to their customers using an online presence, tell them about social media accounts and how successful companies use them, show them they can build a mailing list, show them stats on how well conversions work using the mailing list, and at the end, show them how you did all of this for your local pet shop.
You are now the expert in all these guy's minds on how to do this, they will call on you if they need it done, they will recommend their friends to you cuz you knew what you were talkin about. Get their email addresses and add them to a mailchimp account and send out a weekly newsletter re-iterating techniques on how to communicate with SME's customers online.

Work will flow in. Now, i've used a very low skilled example for you, i dont know if thats what you want to do, but this can be applied to just about anything you want to go for, generic stuff like iOS/Android apps or specific stuff like ordering and invoicing systems for oil and gas companies.

Do things, tell people."