How to get a contract with a company is an important component of setting out as an independent contractor. As an independent contractor, you have a lot of freedom to conduct business on your own terms, most importantly setting your schedule and determining the number of clients you’ll work for over a given period of time.

However, you can be excellent at what you do, and whether you call yourself an independent contractor, consultant, or contract worker, if you don’t develop the knowledge and ability to attract enough clients, your business will fail. Marketing skills prove every bit as important as the skills you bring to the job.

Steps to Marketing Your Business

Regardless of what business you want to promote, there are several key actions you should take. You can do them yourself or hire a marketing consultant to work with you. Follow these steps:

Create a Marketing Plan

If you can’t articulate exactly what it is you do and explain what benefit a client will derive from doing business with you, then you can’t realistically expect someone to hire you. This is different than a business plan, which you should have as well. A marketing plan should include:

  • A basic list of services that you offer.
  • The advantages you offer over your competition for each item.
  • An initial list of the companies you know will be your target clients.
  • A marketing budget that includes costs for website production, printing costs, industry memberships and any other expenses that relate to the way you intend to promote your business.

Develop a Website

These days, a website is an absolute necessity. You can use much of the content you developed for your marketing plan, although while the marketing plan tends to be an internal document, your webpage is how you want to present your business to the world. It should give an overview of what you offer and, of course, have all your contact information.

An added benefit to having a website is that you can have a blog page on which you can share information with potential clients and establish your expertise in your industry.

If you haven’t done so in your business plan, now is the time to determine your pricing and create your independent contractor contract. It’s always best to follow industry standards when you’re starting out. You should be able to explain the basis of your charges, such as whether you charge by the hour or according to the project.

This can be tricky when you’re seeking new clients because although you might be willing to take less just to attract work, if you charge too little you may not cover your expenses or even be viewed as unqualified. It’s best to have a range and learn to feel your potential client out through the initial proposal meetings.

Become an Expert

Creating a blog for your website can help establish you as an expert, but don’t stop there. There are undoubtedly hundreds, perhaps even thousands of blogs on the Internet for your industry, and they are all hungry for content. Offer to guest blog, which will help you reach an even wider audience that may visit your website or follow your blog.

It’s also a great idea to write for influential trade journals and even arrange speaking engagements with your local Chamber of Commerce and other business groups, as well as at industry gatherings.

Get the Word Out

Reach out to as many contacts in your industry that you can think of and let them know you are available for contract work. Be careful to avoid violating any non-compete agreements you may have with a current or former employer. It’s also a good idea to become a member of important industry groups.

You should also be approaching local businesses that can use your services. Have a brochure or information packet prepared to distribute at any meeting. Although social media is a fine way to reach customers, printed collaterals still have their place in today’s business world.

These are a few of the steps you should take to establish your business. Of course, it goes without saying that the most important factor in getting contract work with companies is to do good work. The absolute best way to attract new clients is through word of mouth, either through positive referrals or as references.

To learn more about how to get a contract with a company, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel’s marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.