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#1
kevinpaulscarrott

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"Everyone for themselves, or should we share our experiences?


I’m
sure that many of you would agree that there is ‘advice’ and then
there is ‘good advice’. Anyone can offer ‘advice’ but ‘good
advice’ is not that easy to come by. Sharing experiences, both good
and bad can be helpful in many ways.
It’s a brave person in this
day & age that has either the will, the decency or the courage to
share his or her experiences when it comes to business and to making
money. Edith Piaf once said “when you reach the top, you should
remember to send the elevator back down for others”

If you’re freelance like me, now & then you may need to drum up some business to keep the wolves away from the door.
Being a good cartographer is one thing, being a good marketer is something else.

I’ve
found the best way to bawl out my wares is through a simple but
effective newsletter, nothing complicated easy flowing with a few
goodies or enticers, in other words “a carrot on a stick” (dangle
something in front of them in the hope that it may wet their appetite)

I
started by sending out an email newsletter to a few contacts in my
network, asking them to forward to others in their network. After a
while and after a few responses I ended up with quite a nice little
address book of potential clients, all now subscribers to my free
quarterly newsletter.

My email newsletter is in Norwegian but
for those of you freelancer’s that may be interested in checking this
out, here is the abridged English Web-version:

[url="http://"http://www.stavanger-guide.com/newsletter.htm"]http://www.stavanger-guide.com/newsletter.htm[/url]

Remember
the old cliché “you have to spend money to make money” ? Well
it’s true in a way, but at the same time it can be said that; you can
achieve an enormous potential if you do a lot of the footwork yourself,
the more you can multitask the cheaper you can operate your business,
resulting in more profit for yourself. A well thought out newsletter
can reach out and may lead to a variety of offers. Word of mouth
referrals from one satisfied client is the best form of marketing.

Have a great Easter and keep the spirit up. (or down if it’s a single malt)

kps
By
the way, my newsletter went out on Wednesday 5th April, come Thursday I
had a new client, along with a nice little contract totaling € 4000
So it does work, but remember: keep it simple, in other words “less is more”



"

#2
MapMedia

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Thanks for the tip. And those maps are beautiful - nice work!



#3
Derek Tonn

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"kps,

I
haven't been at the ""business of mapping"" for as long as a lot of folks
around here (six years as my sole source of income, though I started
making my first for-pay maps as early as 1992). However, the one thing
I DO have is seven years of marketing/management/economics courses
under my belt....which has been invaluable to me as I have attempted to
grow our firm. Our other designers on staff and I periodically joke
about how artists/designers (like the seven of us) typically have the
idea related to marketing that ""if you build it, they will come.""
Unless someone is VERY lucky, the world just doesn't work that way. You
could be the best _______ on the planet, but if you don't know how to
promote yourself (or hire someone who can), it doesn't matter.

A
newsletter is a great idea! I was doing that 2-3 years ago too, but
simply ran out of time to put it together on a quarterly basis. Related
to ""drumming up business"", I think that the three most important
activities BY FAR would be, in order:

1. Have a strong web site
that REALLY shows the quality and diversity of your work. So many
mapping web sites out there are SO lacking in coding and aesthetic
quality (NOT the maps themselves, but the way the maps are presented),
that firms are shooting themselves in the foot before they even get out
of the gate! It's not easy though....as it took me SIX YEARS before I
finally was able to invest and develop in a web site I can feel proud
of. It is a vital step for all of us to take, however, if we want to
ever evolve from simply scraping by, paying the bills.

2. Join
professional associations whose attendees are a regular consumer of
your services. So many people are reluctant to spend the time/money to
attend and exhibit at conferences, but they are missing out on a
tremendous opportunity to gain exposure and build relationships with
potential customers. I have exhibited at probably 20-25 conferences
over the years, and I have NEVER had another mapping firm at any of the
events we attend! I'm not sure if that is due to our particular target
markets (higher education, hospitals, conference centers, etc.) or if
it's simply due to the fact that a majority of our firms in the custom
cartography business are not exhibiting their portfolio and
services..... (?)

3. Partner, partner, partner. Find people who
offer products, services, different design styles, etc. who are not
necessarily a competitor to you and figure out a way to market each
other's services. It's the simple ""strength in numbers""
philosophy....and the firms/individuals who pursue collaborative
efforts will ALWAYS ""win"" in the long run from a revenue and marketing
perspective.

I hope my message isn't sounding too ""preachy""! I
just am continually amazed at how content so many people are out there
to operate their own one-person shops in a pseudo-vacuum....just
waiting for the phone to ring and clients to hire them. That's not
unique to ""mapping"" per se, but any industry or service that is
populated by lots of small businesses and/or freelancers. I made the
decision 2-3 years ago that just being able to barely eek out a living
for my wife, daughters and I (when the economy wasn't in recession)
wasn't good enough anymore.....and we've actually been moving forward,
guns-blazing, ever since! I don't try and be ""predatory"" in my business
development activities. However, I also am periodically faced with some
tough choices along those lines as well....as my first responsibility
is to my family and the 27 total individuals who our firm is supporting
in some way, shape or form (designers, their spouses and kids).

Anyway, sorry for the long reply! I probably should have taken your ""less is more"" advice from your initial post! :P "
Derek Tonn
Founder and CEO
mapformation, LLC

datonn@mapformation.com
http://www.mapformation.com

#4
Hans van der Maarel

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Derek,

Interesting post, as always :P

One
thing I always found to be a great help in winning projects is being
enthusiastic about the map you're going to produce. Help your clients
find the best solution...

Never be afraid to take up a challenge
in order to learn from it and expand your capabilities. Be confident
about what you can do and honest about what you cannot. If you have a
good partnership going on with another company, cherish that.

Of
course the tried and tested methods that apply always: be punctual and
professional. If you say you're going to have a proof ready by day x,
have it ready by day x. If you're going to miss a deadline, let your
clients know.

Especially for me, being in a small market, this
has proven very important. Reputation and word-of-mouth is a very
important form of marketing.

Just my 2 cents...
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
Red Geographics
Email: hans@redgeographics.com / Twitter: @redgeographics

#5
Polaris

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"drumming up business...

here's my take on it (in no particular order)

>Networking, personal contacts
>keeping in touch with past enquiries and clients (but not being a nuisance),
>prompt
and thorough follow-up on ALL enquiries (even the ones you KNOW won't
go anywhere - you still have a chance to make a good impression),
>keep up a steady trickle of cold contacts as you discover folks you might like to work with,
>provide lots of up front free consulting to potential clients,
>do
a fair amount of volunteer work for organizations whose work is
meaningful to you - it's great exposure/networking opportunity - often
cool projects!
>(second Hans - ""Help your client find the best solution"")

>>>gradually build goodwill as wide and deep as you can...

My
website is very simple (and not very stylish), it is updated only a
couple of times a year, but is fairly comprehensive and has become
largish over the years... the web site generates perhaps half of my
enquiries.

All of this takes a lot of time and $$$ and does not
generate a paycheck, but any way you slice it, generating work has a
cost - you might as well invest it in a way that suits your
talents/tastes/personality... I'm not interested in (or can't afford)
trade shows, newsletters, cold calls, mailings, ads, etc. so I don't do
them.

I AM very interested in partner/partner/partner! (ala
Derek) - actively open to ideas, and pursuing possibilities in this
direction, but still mostly on my own.

e
"

#6
Hans van der Maarel

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"

>(second Hans - ""Help your client find the best solution"")


I forgot to add this:

Helping
your client find the best solution can also mean that you have to tell
them that you're not the best candidate for a certain project. If you
tell them that, it will still leave a good impression, even more so if
you can recommend somebody else who can.

All 
of this takes a lot of time and $$$ and does not generate a paycheck, 
but any way you slice it, generating work has a cost - you might as 
well invest it in a way that suits your talents/tastes/personality... 
I'm not interested in (or can't afford) trade shows, newsletters, cold 
calls, mailings, ads, etc. so I don't do them.


Most
of this is a lot cheaper (in $, not necessarily in time) than doing ads
or trade shows. If you're a small business, you don't have a big budget
for promotion, so any free exposure you can get is welcome. "
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
Red Geographics
Email: hans@redgeographics.com / Twitter: @redgeographics




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