By Hucky Austin
One of the questions I’m asked most is, “How do I find work?” It can be very difficult to secure bodyguard or executive protection contracts and I’d like to address what I perceive as a shortcoming in terms of landing good jobs: Self-Promotion.
If going solo is your desire, go after the work diligently and persistently. Sales and marketing is very much a numbers game. You’ll be rejected or ignored a hundred times for every nibble or yes you’ll receive. It’s rough going at first but in time, if you conduct yourself well, apply yourself to personal and professional development, your reputation will bring work to your door or nowadays, your email inbox.
Marketing only just begins when the client says yes. Everyday, every action, every report, and every oral statement you make is marketing for yourself. You have to earn each and everyday of employment in the private sector as there’s no union or civil service to hold your spot open if you’re content with just getting by. There’s no job security in the private sector unless you personally take charge and build that stability for yourself.
There are different approaches to Marketing and you can determine which approach you need based on what stage your business is in. For example, if you are basically starting out, which means not many people know of you, then your market approach at this point is – Public Relations. First, a good website will help with this, especially if you want to do assignments internationally. You’re still working but at the same time you’re promoting yourself by doing a better than great job. Then, you would move forward to asking your employers to give you testimonials/recommendations, which most employers will be more than glad to recommend you to their family and friends provided that you have done a better than great job for them. At this time you would ask them if it is ok to post these testimonials with pictures on your website. If they say yes then great! However, if they say no, then you must respect that. As you become well-known for performing quality work then all you have to do is allow your professionalism to do the marketing for you, which will translate into word-of-mouth which in this business is the best marketing you can have at little or no cost to you!
Everything in the private sector boils down to marketing. You can have the finest training and experience in the world but if you want to be self-employed or if you want to sell yourself, you have to be savvy at marketing.
Certainly there have been libraries full of books written on the subject; however, I just want to communicate the mindset necessary for success. Everything is marketing and marketing is everything!
Once you obtain an interview with a prospective employer, ensure you enter the meeting with great confidence and have intentions on landing the job. Listen well to what the interviewer has to say and try to sense what they are looking for. You’ll know quite swiftly if they’re on a ‘fishing trip’ or just invited you out of curiosity. Just be cool, honest and leave a good impression. Dress for success. Leave the bridge open because you never know what a meeting may lead to.
These are just a few random and spurious thoughts for your consideration. I’m not the guru of anything but I’ve kept myself gainfully and for the most part passionately employed since 1983. I’ve made more mistakes than most but each one has taught me valuable lessons and helped me get to where I am today. Don’t be afraid to make a few mistakes yourself. Failures are just rungs on the ladder to success.