Putting yourself out there as a brand new consultant can be nerve-wracking.
You worry that people will not trust someone who lacks experience, or someone who is younger than the average consultant in your field. But, by working on establishing a strong reputation early on, you can win clients and respect.
Here are some tips to be taken more seriously as a new consultant.
Offer excellent service every time.
The first few clients you win can help you build an iron-clad reputation. Go out of your way to over-provide, giving them the most in-depth, excellent service possible.
Pay great attention to detail. If they are happy with your work, they are likely to become ambassadors on your behalf.
And, that sort of social proof goes a long way toward getting others to take you seriously. And, don't be afraid to ask for testimonials! These positive messages can help convince others to give your services a try.
Be of service to your community.
Is there a mentoring program at a local high school or college near you? Participating in this sort of program can help cement your positive reputation.
You get to share your skills while also showing that you care about your local community. You can also help out and build your reputation by being helpful within your industry.
Volunteer to help at local conferences. Answer questions on Quora, Reddit and other social media outlets. By reaching out for a few minutes every day, you can establish yourself as the go-to expert in your field.
Establish yourself as an expert.
Starting a blog, podcast or video series takes a few minutes and uses equipment you probably already have. This sort of outlet can help you showcase your skill and knowledge in your area.
Brainstorm a list of common problems or issues people in your industry face, then deal with them on your outlet of choice.
Publish regularly so that people know when to look for new material from you.
Cultivate a strong online presence.
At the very least, you should have a LinkedIn profile that is fully completed and up to date. You should also have a webpage, an About.me profile and possibly also a Twitter, Facebook or other social media account.
Make sure that all of these outlets show current and complete contact information. A solid online footprint makes your consulting practice look more serious.
People are more likely to hire you if they can see that there is plenty of evidence of your professional activities online.
Surround yourself with good people.
Partner with others in your industry so you can all build your reputations together. It can help to have older mentors who can help guide you as you build your consultant practice.
And, you and other professionals can give one another referrals. A group blog, a network website and other endeavors can all help you bolster one another's reputations and build stronger businesses.
Make being new part of your pitch.
As a new consultant, you aren't calcified into old or outmoded ways of doing things. You are fresh, and in touch with the newest technologies and practices.
Showcase your up-to-date knowledge and openness to new ideas in your profiles and posts online.
The fact that you are new can actually be a strong part of your appeal, particularly in businesses that have been burned in the past by other consultants.
Establishing a strong professional reputation takes grit, time and patience. It can take dozens of calls before you land your first client.
But, by doing the work you need to do every day to establish a positive reputation, you will find that people take you seriously and are anxious to engage your services.