Be Ready When Someone Asks, “What Do You Do?”
I really like the 60-Second Solutions videos on Entrepreneur.com. I thought that the recent video by communications coach Carmine Gallo on creating a 60 second strategy to tell your story was especially useful.
Sometimes it’s hard to explain to people what it is you really do. Many people hear the word ‘freelancer’ and don’t quite understand what it means, other than you probably work from home in your pajamas.
Gallo suggests you come up with one sentence answers to the following four questions to keep your “What I Do” story to 60 seconds.
What do you do?
Are you a graphic designer? A freelancer writer or photographer? Do you have a niche or topic (like small business, agriculture, health) that you concentrate on? Turn this into one sentence. Example: I am a freelance blogger and I write about small business financing for several online magazines.
What problem do you solve?
If you don’t solve a problem…then why do you exist? Maybe you are a wedding photographer and work with couples to capture their big day. Maybe you have an MBA and share small business advice for newspapers and websites. Maybe you create logos to help companies better brand themselves. Whatever you do—put it in the context of how your services solve a problem. Example:
I help small businesses create and implement a social media marketing plan.
How are you different?
Competition is everywhere, and you need to know what makes you better than the next guy that does the same thing you do. Why do you prefer to shop at Home Depot rather than Lowes? Target rather than Walmart? Pat’s Pizza rather than Jason’s Pizza?
Is their customer service better? Prices better? Does their pizza delivery guy show up faster? Use your talents and experience to tout yourself. Example:
I have an MFA in graphic design and stay up to date with the latest trends and technology by attending professional development workshops twice a year.
Why should people care?
Tell people how you are going to make their life easier. Maybe you are a whiz at creating compelling websites and will take the time to teach your clients how to manage them on their own. Maybe you have contacts in the media and can help promote your clients news and events effectively through press releases and social media marketing. Maybe you know of a way to help your client’s business run more efficiently, saving them money in the long run. Example:
I have a database of media contacts throughout the state and can help you promote your annual fundraiser by creating press releases and writing stories for the local newspapers.
Once you get these sentences down, practice them in front of a mirror. Then head out to a networking event and try them out. Someone might not ask you all four questions at the same time, but it’s still good to have a response ready and waiting.
By keeping your answers to one sentence, you keep from rambling on about yourself. Being succinct shows that you really know your business and are comfortable and confident talking about whatever it is that you have built your freelancing career on doing. Don’t be afraid to ask other people the same four questions—see if their responses are as good as yours!