What are you doing to build credibility?
After being in this line of business for 9 years, I often come across people just starting out and their enthusiasm is contagious, their vigour to make a break with their past equally strong. I have to admit I also made the same mistake and I am moving away from old beliefs on it. If you are about to set off on a major career change, whether it is a completely new industry, a new skill, etc… you may well relate to this or have even done the same, namely ignoring or hiding your previous knowledge and skills.
To support myself through college I worked in call centres and having a few languages up to fluency level is very handy, but in order to find a career in management consultancy I originally had to hide those talents to be even considered for business jobs. So that strategy worked for me in building a career in change management.
When I originally started my business and had my first website designed, I nearly had my full cv posted as part of my profile. Initially it was one of the reasons why people bought from me, then over time I felt the results with clients spoke louder and testimonials started replacing the full pofile, because I felt in the end of the day that is what matters.
However when I teach graduates of coaching courses i am always fascinated at how desperate they don’t want to be known for their previous career and completely rule out any connection with it. For most of them thought hey also forget that it is in those previous skills that they have a niche market, which can be potentially very lucrative and if you have read the book ‘The long tail’ all you want is a niche an inch wide and a mile deep or the tail end of the bell curve. Most people in the professional service industry tend to want to be all things to all potential customers, that way you definitely become a wandering generality with probably an equally wandering income.
In the last number of months I have been busy tailoring my market offering more specifically and splitting the business into 3 distinct niches with different demands and matching price and service levels. Regular followers of my blog would also have noticed I put up some more information about my credentials and career as an entrepreneur as well as before then. It is my way of going back to basics, especially when the basics are what sold in the first place.
Obviously my blogposts will build on my credibility, the articles that are published in business magazines and the snippets of wisdom that make onto tv and radio equally give further recognition.When you know me a bit better, you will also realise that for most of my achievements to date, I would see them as in the past, they were enjoyable and I am proud of them, yet my focus is on the future and where to next. I also recognise this pattern with a lot of my high achieving clients, who often hit massive goals and immediately focus on ‘next’. If this sounds very familiar then my advice is to start building a public list of achievements, so other people can buy you for what you are worth based on previous knowledge, experience, skills and credibility, as well as what you can deliver for them.
In the social media age, managing your reputation and uniqueness is going to be increasingly vital. If you are in the service business right now or looking to be upwardly mobile in your company or industry, then it is time to start building an online profile that you manage pro-actively. You largely control what goes out on your website, blog, linkedin profile and to some extent Facebook also. If you want to be a somebody going forward and Google can’t find you (apart from having a name that you share with lots of other people), then you are missing the mark and credibility factor. If you do share your first and last name with a lot of other people, you then need to become creative either with middle letters or short descriptors that truly state who you are such as for example ‘An -the coach- Coppens.
What else can you do right now, to build your credibility?
I asked myself that question and I am pursuing a goal of doing advanced research into entrepreneurial performance, so that I can become the go-to expert in this field which to me is an extension and deepening of the knowledge I have in my business only I will have more researched findings to back it up. Same focus, same business, just more researched and potentially way more effective.