How to promote yourself as a pharma freelancer without commercials.
One of the hardest parts in being a freelancer is promoting yourself. Sure, it’s more or less the same as applying for a job in-company, but it feels a bit different. Suddenly, you think more in terms of prospects, projects and profits. A company becomes ‘a client’ and you feel a kind of commercial urge.
Does this feeling gives you the creeps? Do you begin sweating when the word ‘marketing’ and ‘sales’ comes to your mind? Take a deep breath: you’re not the only one.
Today, as more and more people choose a freelancing career in pharma, you need to promote yourself to stand out from the crowd. And yet, most people become very nervous when realising that.
Let’s face it: selling yourself is probably the hardest thing to do when you’re not the diehard selling type.
And believe me, even when you’re in the sales department, getting ‘sold’ your experience and value might be the most challenging job you’ve ever done.
So let’s break up this whole promotion project into 5 steps that you can do.
- First, make sure that you are very clear about your own experience and ambition.
Why not consider yourself as a product? What are your strengths, what is your experience, what is your value to a company or client?
After all, if you want to promote a product to anyone else, you have to know your product, right?
- Second step: visualise your ideal client.
What kind of company is this? What are the kind of products or services they offer? Is this a big pharma multinational or a little producer in the chemistry? What kind of people work there? Try make the image of your ideal client as lively as possible.
Visualising is a very good way to make sure you use the language that is common in the environment of your ideal client.
Even more: various people that have used the visualisation technique, have reported to have ‘attracted’ just the right client they’ve dreamed of.
So: why not trying this step, since it can do no harm at all?
- Third step: Show off your qualities in as much ways as possible.
It starts with a good, complete and attractive profile on Cortexpert.
You can extend that with a profile on different social media. Watch out for congruency: make sure that the image of your professional talents and ambitions is congruent on all platforms.
Remove any quotes, pictures or other information about yourself that can harm your professional career. But make sure you CAN be found by any search engine. In times of ‘Googling’ as a natural reflex for all of us, finding nothing about someone is a bit strange. It even raises the question if you exist at all…
Think outside of the box for this third step.
Why not starting a blog about your professional interests? Why not sharing the articles you write, on professional platforms? Sure, it takes time to make a good article, but unless you aim for the Pulitzer Price, your “hm, it’s all right” is probably good enough.
Consider the articles you write as a gift to anyone who reads it. When opening your hands in giving something, you’re also ready to receive.
- Fourth Step: Extend your network and keep in touch.
This should be an ongoing process. Too many people just add some contacts to their network and then forget about it.
An easy way of keeping in touch is sharing your articles (from step 3) in your network. That means that once a month your contacts get an email with valuable information, insights, experiences, … from you.
Does that will get you any project? No. But it will help establish your expert status. That is exactly what a potential client needs when choosing you instead of any other expert in your field (let’s presume for a moment that your ambition is not the be the cheapest in your branch)
Think about it: if a potential client sees your profile on Cortexpert, and he has read some interesting articles from you, you will be considered much faster for a project than your colleague who dwells in the dark.
- Fifth Step: Dare to ask, with moderation and wisdom.
A lot of people find it difficult to ask a question. That hesitation comes from the feeling that when you ask something, you become obliged to someone.
If you have made the other 4 steps, you already have given so much to your network, to your contacts, to the pharma world and beyond, that it feels much easier to ask something.
You won’t be in debt, since you have already given so much.
Off course, there’s no need in ‘bombing’ your network. If you are looking for a new project, try to pose the question to your best contacts.
If you find it difficult to boldly ask if they will consider you for a project, then asking if they know anyone who can give you more information, is a good alternative.
If you have taken these 5 steps, you will not only have enhanced your self-confidence. You will also have the habit of prospecting without feeling it. Getting interesting projects and jobs will be an ongoing process, not just something you dive into from time to time.
We wish you good luck!