If you've recently taken the step into the world of self employment and fell for the lure of working hours that suit you, being your own boss and ultimately being in control of your own earnings, then congratulations, you've taken your first step into an entirely new way of working.
How to become successful by working for yourself
The first thing that you MUST realise when working for yourself is that the ride is not easy. Working for yourself is not the 'cushty' option (although many people will think you live the life of Riley – oh and that you are rich!) Working for yourself requires a passion for what you do, a willingness to go that extra mile and the will power to still do what you did when working for someone else – you still need drive, stamina – and of course you are also responsible for getting the work in.
Get it right and you will live the life you envisage, but getting it 'right' is where many people fall. People fall at the most simple of hurdles and one of the first hurdles that catch many people out in those early days is first impressions.
First impressions count!
Believe me, I have seen it all when it comes to first impressions, and I think you would be amazed at some of the shockers that I have come across. From the person who turns up smoking to the person who talks to their customers like they're their best mate. First impressions matter and your customers will be watching.
If you want to make the first impression count to your potential customer, avoid these mistakes:
Is your van clean?
Cleaning your van – both outside and inside creates an impression that you care. Even the best sign written van won't look the part if it's not kept clean. Mud and dust creates a poor impression and if your customer is the type who polishes their car every weekend...then they're not going to rate your van very highly! I've seen countless vans filled with takeaway wrappers, newspapers, receipts etc. It doesn't look good to your customer and they will worry that you will make a mess in their house too!
Is your clothing clean and tidy?
Your customer will not expect you to turn up in a suit (that would be a bit OTT!) but they will expect you to look clean and presentable and not bring in mud all over their cream carpet!! A polo shirt with your company name and logo is a great idea. Your customer will know who you are and you will appear professional and proud of your business. When quoting, wear clean clothing, you don't want to be turning up covered in silicone!
Mind your language!
Tailor your language according to your customer. As a simple example you wouldn't speak to an elderly lady the same way you speak to your work mate. The same applies when working. Loud talking with swearing can make the householder (who doesn't know you) feel edgy. Being professional and personable with your customer and talking to them as a human on their level will build their confidence in you. I have seen countless times electricians talk to their customers as they do their mates in the pub. If you are positioning yourself as the expert electrician in your area, you need to come across like a professional electrician. And always be polite!
Mind the habits!
We never like to be told to change how we are, but this could be the difference between getting work and not getting work. If you smoke, do not smoke in sight of your customer, it creates a bad impression and try to avoid smoking just before you see your customer as the smell of smoke also creates a bad impression. Avoid bad habits like picking your nose, coughing and behaviours that may intimidate your customer. These may seem like small things, but to your customer they are a big deal – and will be noticed.
Put yourself in your customers shoes
Too many electricians adopt the attitude that 'I am the way I am and if you don't like me......' When you run your own electrical contracting business, you cannot afford to adopt this way of thinking. Creating good first impressions is not difficult and first impressions do last.
You will know if you are a good electrician, however your customer won't know that. Chances are, your potential customer will decide whether or not they are going to use your services within a few minutes of first meeting you. It's all about customer communications!
Make those minutes count! :)