Getting Out of the WE Trap

When I started freelancing and consulting, I fell into the trap of saying, “WE at this company…” It is very difficult not to want to say WE even though it is really only you. We do this kind of thing in order to impress the marketplace and land that big client. We instinctively think two thing:

  1. BIG clients have BIG budgets, and
  2. BIG clients only work with BIG vendors.

We think they want and need a team of highly trained professionals to do the job. What BIG clients want is the same thing that smaller clients want: high-quality results and a solution to their issue or problem.

A few things to point out.

  • SMALL clients have BIG budgets.
  • BIG clients will work with SMALL vendors.
  • No one is impressed with who you are anymore, but are impressed with what you can do for them, what service (or solution) you can provide for them, and what results you can produce for the budget.

The thing to do is not present yourself as a We-are-the-solution but present yourself as THE solution to a client’s specific issue and problem. If a client (big or not so big) sees that you have a solution for them, then they will contact you to discuss how you can apply that solution to their situation.

Think about it this way, when big client calls little ‘ol you, how many people are on the phone? One person calls or emails another person. Hopefully it is the CEO or top decision maker calling you. It is not all of them calling all of you. It is one of them calling one of you. It is a person-to-person thing, a connecting-the-dots thing.

I am currently challenged with helping a very talented architect who has not embraced the personal-branding approach to marketing his skills and his company. He has done the “We at this big company…” approach for so long that he cannot simply say,

I am the company and here are my skills. Just look at my portfolio of work, and if you see that my solutions to other people’s problem will work for you, then please contact me to discuss any questions or details.

My advise to anyone is to:

  1. do good work,
  2. showcase that good work, and
  3. get others in front of your work.

In a changing world, changing economy, and changing marketplace, this is the way to go. It is a simple yet effective blueprint herald by some of the most successful entrepreneurs today.

The 5-Step Web Design Process

Those who know me know that I am very systematic in my approach to almost everything, even being creative. I use the following process on almost every project. Although the teams I worked with as a systems engineer at Cisco, DirecTV, and NDS Americas used this same exact process on all their projects, I am lifting these steps from an article written by Mike Locke. He is a mentor to me, although he does not know that. Mike is a Web Designer and is one of the people who inspires me in what I do in my web design efforts.

So, below is the 5-Step web design process that I follow. I following this process on every project.

requirements-specifications
Step 1: The Kick-Off (1 Day)
Objective:
– Discuss the project and business goals
– Discuss design direction
– Gather all business requirements
Step 2: Research (1-2 Weeks)
Objectives:
– Design Inspiration
– Market Research
– Competitive Analysis
market-research
wireframe
Step 3: Design (1-3 Weeks)
Objectives:
– Create wire-frames
– Produce a full-color mock-up
– Begin reviewing frameworks
Step 4: Development (1-2 Weeks)
Objectives:
– Produce full-working XHTML/CSS prototypes
– Develop and code using SEO concepts
– Cross-check across all popular browsers
coding
requirements-specifications
Step 5: Test, Launch and Monitor (3 Weeks)
Objectives:
– Complete full testing and QA
– Cross-check across all popular browsers
– Monitor website for several days after launch

Should You Have a Personal Website?

gina-background-docLooking for a new job? Starting your own business? Renewing your professional standing in the marketplace? Have a service or consulting business? Answering YES to any of these question means you should have a personal or professional website. Since there are some difference between a personal site and a professional site, I will discuss the professional sites in a different post. However, here you will find the benefits of having a personal site.

What is a personal website?

This is a website that starts by having the domain-name (the URL) as your name. For example, JuanSidberry.com. It contains basic information about you and who you are to the world. Here are some of the things a personal website will contain:

  • Your resume
  • A clean and clear picture of you
  • Highlights of your proudest achievements
  • Portfolio of Work. Examples of the things that will promote you
  • A clear description of what you do best (i.e. what you want to get paid for doing).
  • Your contact information

In the age of LinkedIn, do you really need one?

Well, yes! Having a personal website can boost your professional development in a few key ways:

  1. People will take you seriously. If you have a website and showcase your work, then you must be serious about what you do.
  2. You’re accessible. How easy is it for recruiters, hiring managers, and clients to find you just by Googling you?
  3. You can craft your image. Having a personal website allows you to tell your story in your own creative way.  It enables you to present yourself in the best light, which is perfect for showcasing your greatest hits.
  4. You can sell yourself. Show your awards, articles, videos, etc.

Will a personal site make a difference?

First, a personal website can significantly enhance your job search.

Donna Schilder, a leadership and career coach based in Long Beach, California says that having a personal website, “gives an employer an additional experience of you. It adds dimension to their understanding of your skills and personality.”

In today’s job market, having a personal site is a must. Particularly for self-employed individuals because showing your work can make a difference. If you are a photographer, fashion designer, web-designer, designer of any type, hair or makeup artist, advertiser, architect, landscaper, artisan, speakers, etc.—then it’s important to have your own site. That way, you can present a portfolio of your best work. I don’t call these personal sites, I call them professional sites.

Who’s going to build your own site?

  • You can do it yourself with a WordPress or some other framework.
  • You can hire a college student or a relative.
  • You can recruit a professional web-designer, like me, to take care of all the details.

A personal website can help anyone get employed. Although the millennials have embraced this, other demographics can benefit from having a personal website too.  A personal website allows everyone (young people as well as advance careers in transition) to showcase their true talents and be found online by recruiters and potential employers. A personal website is a significant but inexpensive investment in anyone’s career.