If no one’s hiring you, the good news is, fixing it is completely under your control. The bad news is, it will take some elbow grease, and a long, hard look in the mirror.
If no one’s hiring you, or even giving you the chance to get your foot in the door, then it means 1 or a combo of several items from the list below.
So let’s be blunt and get right to some of the root causes:
- you don’t have the open sign out,
- people don’t know what you sell,
- you appear desperate,
- you appear o.l.d. / irrelevant,
- people can’t find you.
Let’s dive into what each of these mean, and then discuss the top 7 ways we can get it all fixed up.
1. Are You Open for Business?
We’ve all seen those stores, where they sort of look open, but we can’t tell if the lights are really on. And if there’s lights on, is anyone really home, because there’s no cars in the lot. It’s a PROVEN fact (and you can observe this yourself any given weekend), that people gravitate to ‘social proof’. Ever notice the following things?
- you park in an empty lot, or away from other cars, and shortly thereafter someone comes and parks right next to you? (this happens in restrooms as well)
- a store with cars in the parking lot will get more cars in the lot and more people in the store. A store with no cars in the parking lot will rarely get more cars until there’s that one brave soul who parks and enters (that’s why most owners will park their car in front of their store). No one really wants to be the first or only one in a store.They don’t want all that attention.
- a table at a craft show or flea market that has 2 or more people at it will attract more people. A table with no people rarely attracts more – until that one brave souls meanders over.
- how about when you were dating, in love, or married….that’s usually when other people wanted you wasn’t it? We naturally want what others want.
am i right? or am i right?
Same thing for you as a speaker, or an unemployed person. When you have a gap, or your name isn’t appearing everywhere, or you don’t have any referrals or recommendations – people don’t know that you are open for business or if you’re reputable or in it for the long haul, there’s no social proof. Seriously. And this is a huge issue for many speakers and the unemployed.
It’s not bragging, and it’s not a weakness telling people what you do, or that you could use some referrals, because ‘you are definitely open for business’. Time to get some cars in your parking lot, an Open sign in the window, and to start creating waves of client business.
2. Huh? What do you ‘really’ do? (or sell)?
When you are a speaker, a creative, someone that works on the computer, or you are unemployed, people have a really hard time understanding what it is you really do. And let me be real honest about this – that’s a legit concern. We’ve conditioned ourselves to ‘brand’ and understand someone by where they work or their job title, what they own. (re: ‘we let other people brand us instead of us driving the branding’). So when you are involved in several different projects, or always starting something new, OR cannot tell someone what you do in 10 – 30 seconds so that they want to know more, this is another big issue. Addressing this and #1 alone will immediately start sending the right smoke signals for you.
So by not having a quick 10 second goto tagline that hooks people to ask more, most people assume you are lost or desperate when you don’t know what you stand for. Say you’re an accountant looking for work, or you speak on records management…you could say something like: Lose a Penny, Find a Penny – I help you build your bottomline by finding the dollars & cents that matter – or something like that. How about if you are a golf instructor? You could change that to something like: “I get women quickly up to par, swinging a club with confidence, so can grow their bottom line now.” Get the idea? You want to drive intrigue.
It’s up to you to create interest in what you do – even if you are unemployed. This is part of your stage. The more people know about you – the less they have to ask what you do, and the more they automatically start referring people to you (if they like you ). (One side note, unemployed people, especially those out for a while, carry that burden so vividly out loud. Simply changing posture, dress, and mindset helps change the language, and the projections. You have more power over how you are perceived than you think. If you need help with this, call me!)
3. What me? I’m not Needy!
Maybe we liked needy people when we were younger because we wanted and liked the fan club, but typically, everyone can spot a needy person from a mile away. They are too eager to please, too available, too hesitant and unsure in their communications. You can even spot it in the way they walk and in their body language. You DO NOT want to be THAT person, especially on stage, or on a resume. Even if you swallow that ‘i need this gig, i need this sale, i need this job, etc.’ mantra you have going on, it still comes through and cuts through the noise like those new effervescent cop car lights that blind you from 10 miles away. You must completely shift your mindset – as close to reinvention as possible, if not completely reinventing. Being needy puts you in the center, when it should be all about the customer.
4. Face it. You’re O.L.D.(c)!
O.L.D.(c) It’s related to relevancy. Hate to tell you this, but I’ve seen it COUNTLESS times over from all my coaching clients, classes, and seminars. Except in the rare instance where there was a COMPLETE company shut down. I can, in about 90% of the classes, tell who was let go and know why, or who’s not being hired and why.
Relevance and being O.L.D. (On-Line Deficient)(c) – encapsulates image, dress, mannerisms, language, online usage, proficiency in current events, etc. When you are O.L.D. (on-line deficient)(c), you are not keeping up with current culture or language, showing that you have a fear of technology, that don’t like to stay current / that you stay close to your tribe (side note: this does not apply to those who are actually out living, doing, learning, sharing, etc to the fullest extent. Even then – if those individuals don’t find a way to be active online, it will be perceived the other way).
When you are O.L.D.(c), you are perceived as old – aged – behind the times – irrelevant. (yes, being online TOO much, unless that’s your ‘job’, is also bad, but not as bad). You are ‘perceived’ as not being innovative, full of ideas and creative solutions, able to communicate to all types of people. That’s not you right? But maybe it is, and you’re giving me excuses right now – ‘Rae-Ann – I have too much going on / have a life / am too stressed out / don’t have the time / my company won’t let me’. You name it. The longer you wait to master anything online and demonstrate you have a voice or some expertise, the longer you will be without a job or paid speaking opportunities.
And think about this – you cannot really build a stage if you you’re completely offline. Maybe you actually can…but that’s a lot of extra work. Wouldn’t you rather be getting paid for your time?
5. Last but not least – are a lost ball in tall weeds?
Obviously, this is not necessarily a stand alone issue – that you can’t be found – because it is deeply rooted in many other, deeper issues. BUT – once you’ve gotten online, you have an open sign, people know what you do, YOU know what you do, and you’re not desperate, you will still need to be findable – and that needs a few simple strategies.
Top ways to ‘Create Your Stage’ in 3-6 months:
- Develop a good strategy. We all forget to take the time here – to ponder, self evalutate, design, plan. This sets the stage for successfully building a stage. A game plan post for this is coming soon. Start by thinking about what you stand for, what you want to accomplish this year.
- All serious speakers & people looking for a job, MUST have a website, in one form or another. See how to set up a website in 10 minutes here . One of the beauties of taking the time to build a good website – and taking time to develop it – are actually very beneficial steps in working through and creating your business plan, forcing you to create a strategy & build a dream. Now – you can do step #1 first, which will make this step easier, OR you can use this step to help you build #1 in tandem. Building a successful website requires you to :
a. do all the things in #1, identify and know in abosolute detail, the products and services you sell – to whom, what it solves, etc.
b. truly identify and know your target markets, so you can capture them and build relationships, and guide them through.
c. think of all kinds of ways to serve your targets and alternative targets. (taking you away from gadgetry / design / and things that distract)
d. and help you define and id all the ways someone may come into your funnel, and the info you need to deliver where and why.
3. You need to start building your coordinated stage. Think of a movie or play – the trailer, the ads, the movie itself, the ancillary products, etc. Each piece of information – each ‘seed’ – is capturing your audience somewhere else where they may be interacting. The more you cross their platforms, the more they will register you as being bigger than you are, because in their world ‘you are everywhere – and ‘everyone’ likes you / wants you / knows you’. This is why you need to be on several platforms, and need to be strategic about it. The more you come into someone’s ‘active memory filters’, the more awareness and branding for you. This is what you are striving for! From this point, you will begin weaving your story and creating integrated marketing and branding.
4. You want to id and hone your message, your tagline, what you are about, and just like a Miss America Beauty Pageant Contestant, this all becomes ‘your platform’. This is critical. It empowers communications with people, it provides people with an easy way to identify with you and what you do AND more importantly, being able to share ‘you’ with other people that will be relevant. This is where we will also need to address out personal image and brand. You want to reflect what you want to attract. Think about that – take a minute. If you’re shy, quiet, reserved, embarrassed by your weight – you will dress like that and won’t attract the success you want. If you are serious about building a platform and a successful brand, you have to transform ‘your look’. As if you don’t have enough to read, you’ll have to read my ‘Tao of Rae: Insider Secrets for Quickly Building Your Personal Brand’, due out the end of February.
5. Develop a core portfolio of goto topics / talents – that can be used to address issues, solve problems, and deliver something of value to the audience. From this a core set of materials which will reside on your website with a special link for you to include on your business cards. This is your compelling set of information why someone needs to hire you.
6. Develop the promotion machine / process. Sometimes we all go into overwhelm because of all the things we have on our plate, and each client, each interview, each speaking opp is like it’s the first one. Create some organization and templates up front (like the ones in the Speakers Toolbox), and you will save yourself lots of time and headaches. Once you have a process is place – it’s a lot easier to customize for the pitch, to get info out faster, and to turn into a sale quicker.
7. Make it easy and rewarding for you to follow up. Half of our losses, if not more, are lost because we are afraid, or don’t know how to follow up. Paint your phone gold. Add a $10 bill to the business card of every pitch you sent (kept in your filing system). There are all kinds of things you can do to ‘game the system’ (you can even create an app which is what I’m in the middle of doing). When you follow up and close the deal, you get the $10, or whatever ‘treat’ you put in place. Use it to go get your nails done or something that’s special only for you.
Obviously this is all simplified, but it outlines the overall plan with some ideas to attack.
The idea is to take back control of your destiny by using some of the tools and knowledge you already have, using assistance of technology, and adding a little bit of elbow grease to create your own stage, build your own audience, and be the leading lady / man of your own show. You have the power to create your own stage and build awareness of who you are and what you do – creating a funnel of opportunity and potential. Really getting this and the power behind is very liberating and empowering!
This post also tries to explain what I will do for all of our Emerging Speakers dedicated to getting paid to speak in 3-6 months, or looking to get a relevant job in 3-6 months. Each step will be it’s own sets of posts and plans, with work that needs to be done for each phase. It’s what my exec clients paid me a couple grand to do one on one for less time (way back when) – but we’re all bootstrapping here. I am doing this to truly demonstrate the value of this Bureau for your career – if, and only if, you are committed to that.
As with anything right – you get out of it what you put into it. Not getting hired is completely under your control. “You must first become the change you seek” Ghandi
I hope you found some value here, and identified what’s holding you back, so we can attack it together. Let me know what you think down below.
To your success,