Self Employment's Sweet Spot: Marketing

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The jobless are turning to self employment to extend their unemployment check, make ends meet until they find full-time positions, or test out the entrepreneurial waters.

No surprise, the Huffington Post, which focuses on the current economic struggle, took a look at Etsy.com. It's an online site where those who craft handmade goods can sell them and consumers can purchase them.

The good news is that there are many platforms like Esty.com, both online and offline, from which to start and operate a small business. The bad news is that age-old challenge in small business: marketing. In the Esty.com article, Colleen Fields, whose Esty shop is called Gemstones and Wire, admits that she has to learn to promote herself.

So, how do you get the hang of marketing, especially if you spent your life assuming that self-promotion is crass? Here is how to jump in:

1. Go to the public library.

The online card catalog will direct you to the section of books on marketing. Take a seat and bury yourself in the more recent ones, both general such as 'The Guerrilla Marketing Handbook' and those geared toward the Web such as 'The Digital Handshake.' You know you're getting somewhere when you have figured out the four or five tactics that are necessary for your particular enterprise, based on factors such as the stage of your business and your particular strengths and resources as an entrepreneur.


2. Put together a short list of immediate tools to try to work with.

For example, if media relations are useful, jot down plans to write and manually distribute a press release in your state, route a pitch letter about your business to the local paper or alternate weekly for a possible article, and start a blog as a platform for ongoing outreach. Implement that, pronto. Analyze results. Do more of what is effective. Try out other tactics.


3. Study how competitors put themselves out there.

Ruthlessly borrow, as long as it's legal. Here it's useful to bone up on copyrighted material and trademarks.


4. Go big.

"Big," as in sponsoring a free special event at your local chamber of commerce on an aspect of your business.

Position and package this as a public service. Ask if you can invite media.


5. Continue to devote about 25 percent to 40 percent of your time to marketing.

No business, no matter how busy, can afford to ignore marketing. That's job No. 1.


Next: How to Market Yourself Effectively With a Blog >>

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