There’s no question, a layoff can hinder the best laid plans. But for those with years of experience in a particular field or sector, being jobless can bring you one step closer to entrepreneurship. If you’re looking to generate income during financial difficulties (or just to make a littleÂ cashÂ on the side that will allow you to save for a rainy day) considerÂ becoming a consultant.
“Think about small business owners who are looking for reasonable rates and how you can come in and help with certain aspects of a business,â€ says Dorethia Conner, a personal finance coach. “Many small business owners don’t want to pay the big prices for a major marketing firm.â€
But, how do you begin to establish yourself as a consultant? Conner and career coach Brian Mosser offer these tips:
Build your portfolio. To establish credibility as an expert, it’s important to show your track record by creating a portfolio, Conner says. “Talk about results you had while on the job,â€ she adds. Showing a measurable impact of your work will allow businesses to see the potential for a return.
Part of building your portfolio includes creating a list of references and possibly reference letters that also speak to your skill and expertise. “Testimonials are crucial,â€ Conner says. Don’t hesitate to ask previous clients or bosses for reference letters that speak to your accomplishments.
Network, socially and beyond. Along with building a portfolio, leverage social networks to build your brand and online network. Creating a personal Website is easier than ever with services by free sites, such as WebHero.com. Once you sign up, Web Hero provides easy-to-use templates that allow you to upload your portfolio, content or other information. “If you don’t want to do a full-fledged Web site, at least set up a blog and write about your expertise,â€ Conner suggests. WordPress and Blogger also offer free blog setup.
Also, spruce up your LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking profiles, says Moser. Include a branded summary, your headshot and experience. Use other social-networking sites like Ziggs, Naymz and Ziki to increase your visibility by posting versions of your biography and headshot. Create a personal “branding kitâ€ that includes business cards, resume, cover letters and portfolio. Also, create a “social media resumeâ€ which is a multi-media dossier that will give the potential hiring manager a layered and dimensional perspective on who you are and what you know. The networking method typically takes up to two months to get a bite, so don’t get discouraged, Moser says.
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