A shop without a front door
Editing corporate reports is one of many things I do as a freelance journalist. But it’s a job I particularly like doing because the reports themselves often make fascinating reading – and sometimes come with valuable insights that I can apply for myself.
The piece of work I looked at this morning, on the changing nature of the consumer, is a good example. And one point it made really made me stop and think: a business without a website is like a shop without a front door, it said.
In which case, my own humble little freelancing shop is rather short on an ingress. For I confess that I don’t have a website of my own. Nor am I anywhere near as active on social networking sites as I should be – my Facebook and LinkedIn profiles are woefully under-developed and why my poor Twitter followers stick by me is anyone’s guess given the rarity of my posts.
I suspect these shortcomings are evidence that I’ve fallen into a trap many freelancers will know all about – that one of the difficulties with the way we work is balancing the need to deliver to our clients with the need to find new sources of business for the future.
As it’s the existing clients who pay the bills, we understandably prioritise their requirements. That’s as it should be: losing your current customers is an even bigger mistake than failing to find new ones. But nor can freelancers afford to depend on those clients staying with them forever. Widening the customer base is as much about diversification – reducing the impact of one client leaving due to circumstances beyond your control - as expansion.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to find out how to build a website.