Where to start when you want to promote you business.

Promoting your business as an independent contractor (IC) can be a challenge. While hanging out a shingle online with a new website is a solid start, it is only the beginning of your self-marketing journey. For professionals like behavioral health professionals, couriers, drivers, home health care providers — getting your name out there for clients and businesses to find may require a few essential steps.

Get Registered as a Business (LLC, S-Corp, LLP)

As a registered business, you can significantly increase your opportunities and be instantly more attractive to companies that prioritize contracting with independent contractors who are an established business entity. For self-employed workers, setting up your LLC can move you one step closer to appropriate licensing as well as operating authority requirements.

  • LLC:limited liability company (LLC) is a business structure in the United States whereby the owners are not personally liable for the company’s debts or liabilities.
  • S-Corp: “S corporation” stands for “Subchapter S corporation”, or sometimes “Small Business Corporation.” It’s a special tax status granted by the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) that lets corporations pass their corporate income, credits and deductions through to their shareholders.
  • LLP: A limited liability partnership (LLP) is a partnership in which some or all partners (depending on the jurisdiction) have limited liabilities. It therefore can exhibit elements of partnerships and corporations. In an LLP, each partner is not responsible or liable for another partner’s misconduct or negligence.

Obtain Professional Marketing Materials

Every professional needs materials that represent your business, whether that’s business cards or fliers, so that people you meet remember your services. The more you hand out, the better. Along with your business card, you also need to be ready to provide a very brief “elevator pitch” about why you’re the one they should contract with.

Build a Social Media Presence for Your Business

Successful online marketing for ICs must also include social media. New social media sites pop up frequently, so find out which site is most likely to attract your potential clients and use it. After you have designed your personal branding for your business cards, use it to create a social media page; Facebook is an excellent place to start.

Ask for Referrals

Referrals are  important but often an overlooked part of marketing. When clients hear about your business from people they trust, it lends credibility to your skills. When asking for referrals, start by demonstrating value to a client and then wait for the right time to bring up the question. Be sure to put extra effort into maintaining relationships with repeat clients. Take time to say thank you, and letting them know how much you appreciate their business will go far.

Use Social Networks

Maintaining a social media presence is a great way to connect with current and prospective clients. Create a company page on LinkedIn or Facebook and post relevant industry updates or link to new blog posts.

One of the most powerful things you can do to increase interest in your services is to post testimonials on social media, turning your current customers into ambassadors for your brand. Once you master the basics, consider online video and social listening tools to further your efforts.

Liking, commenting, and sharing other people’s posts also provides you visibility and helps you build relationships with others. If you comment, make sure your comments are meaningful and insightful in order to build your reputation and establish yourself as a thought leader.

Make a Professional Website

If you don’t already have a professional website, now is the time to create one, especially because technology today allows you to create a low cost website for less than $20 per month. Follow-along templates, guides, and designs make it easy to create your own website.

When potential clients are searching for services you offer or are simply looking for more information about you, they will search online. Buyers want to be well informed before they buy. Create a website that provides them answers to their most common questions – who you are, what you do, and what value you offer.

A professional website will also help spread brand awareness. Most importantly, it will help you show up in search results.