ma, 15/07/2013 - 16:05 -- Greet

In my job I meet a lot of freelancers, I also meet lots of people on the verge of becoming an interim manager, or still doubting.

And also because I’m  an interim manager myself, I kind of start having an idea of what goes on in the freelance interim manager’s mind. What are the pros and cons of being a freelancer?  What are the pitfalls?  What are do’s and dont’s? How do I make a decent living? How do I make sure I get that next assignment? etc.

Now, here is the good news, I see it as my goal to help those (soon to be) interim managers when they have questions, doubts…  And let’s start with your brand.

Because that is what it’s all about. You may be that extremely talented, experienced Interim Manager. You won’t do as well as a well-branded, extremely talented, experienced Interim Manager. So, let’s build that Interim Manager’s brand. Let’s build your brand. Let’s be a YouBrandBuilder smiley

I recently conducted a little survey among interim managers. I asked them what keeps them awake at night. Luckily lots of the interim managers I know don’t have trouble sleeping wink But still, one of the things that they are worrying about is their next assignment. Will I find it? Why will they choose me over my “colleagues”?

More or less the same question I’m often asked by those people thinking of becoming a freelancer, is: “Will the market like/need my profile/experience?”.

My answer is: it all starts with a good USP! A Unique Selling Proposition!  

Your USP will accomplish 3 things for you:

·         Unique – it sets you apart from your competition

·         Selling – it persuades others to buy your services or products

·         Proposition – it is a proposal or offer suggested for acceptance.

In other words, how is your service (or you) different from that of your competition? Why are you unique? Why should your target audience buy from you?

But how do you go about it? Here are the 5 steps to write your USP:

  1. Step 1: The Basics

Start by answering some preliminary questions that recap what you are selling, who you’re selling it to and why you’re selling it. You might consider taking a look at this W9 questionnaire from Sam Horn (in her book “POP”) :

·         What am I offering?

·         What problem does my idea or offering solve?

·         Why is it worth trying and buying?

·         Who is my target audience?

·         Who am I and what are my credentials?

·         Who are my competitors and how am I different from them?

·         What resistance or objections will people have to this?

·         What is the purpose of my pitch?

·         When, where, and how do I want people to take action?

  1. Step 2: Relief The Pain With Your Magic Cure

It’s number 2 in the W9 questionnaire, but go a little deeper. What’s my target audience’s pain? Your USP can’t be something only you think is so wonderful that people would be interested. It should be something the prospects or clients want. Your USP should clearly state the benefits and not the features of your service.  Make a list of 3-5 of the biggest benefits a client gets from choosing to work with you that they could not get from someone else. And again, think from the clients’ perspective.

  1. Step 3: Differentiate or Die

Why is your solution better or different from your competition. What makes you so unique?

  1. Step 4: Make A Promise

This step combines the elements of the previous steps. Keep in mind that you USP essentially implies a promise, or a pledge, you are making to your customers. While this can be implied instead of spelled out in your USP, write down the promise you make to your clients in this step. Be careful to ensure that you can deliver! Your USP should have promises and guarantees that capture your audience’s attention and compels them to respond to you. Having a strong USP can make you, or can ruin your reputation if you don’t deliver on it.

  1. Step 5: Sleep On It

Keep it simple. Don’t overwhelm yourself. Cut it down to 1 sentence. Rework it. Do several drafts over the course of a week. Bounce them off people that are going to give you their honest opinion. It may take several tries, but once you hit the perfect USP, it can be an integral element of your YouBrand.

To see what the final result should look like, Wikipedia has some good examples of successful USPs

►►►Now it’s your turn. I’d like to have some feedback. Does this help you? What problems are you encountering when coming up with a USP? Please leave your comments below. Thanks! 

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