Caroline Ceniza-Levine left a career as a corporate recruiter to co-found the career coaching firm SixFigure Start with Connie Thanasoulis-Cerrachio, formerly a recruiter for Merrill Lynch. Their New York-based company has grown revenues 600% in four years. Meanwhile, Ceniza-Levine also serves as an adjunct assistant professor of Professional Development at Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs.
I met Caroline when we both worked for Time Inc. a few years back, and was impressed by her clear and realistic view of the business world. Since then have found her to be an insightful source for career articles. When I found out recently that she was running a free online workshop called 5 Strategies for Growing Your Business on Friday, March 23, I asked her if she would share some of her revenue-building ideas with $200KFreelancer readers. Here are her tips for the indie crowd.
1. Find ways to profit more from your work. “As an entrepreneur, you don’t have a lot of time,” Ceniza-Levine says. “Figure out how to do double duty with everything you do. If you get paid to write a story on a particular topic and do a lot of research, is there an extension you can do that can be pitched back to the client–or become another article altogether?”
2. Pay close attention to your revenue streams. It takes time and effort to develop each market, notes Ceniza-Levine. Before branching out to brand new ones, look carefully at your largest existing sources of income during the last 12 months. Are there ways to find more clients similar to the ones who are already generating most of your revenues?
3. Look at cash flow from a long-term perspective. When you’re first starting out and building your business, you may be grateful for whatever paying work you can get. As you become more established, finding ways to build a more sustainable income is a smart practice. For instance, if you mainly work with very small clients on individual jobs, you may want to make it a goal for next year to bring in more higher-paying, corporate clients on an ongoing or retainer basis.
4. Listen closely to your clients. The guidance they seek from you may point to income-generating opportunities that you might have overlooked. ”If you’re an expert in something, things that may seem very basic and commonsense to you may not be to them,” she says. Don’t be hesitant to solicit questions from your clients or prospects. Ceniza-Levine, for instance, asks subscribers to her enewsletter to submit questions on their most pressing career concerns. “Over time, I’ve collected thousands of these questions,” she says. They’ve been a guide for her next steps in growing the business.
A good related post on this topic is Six Questions To Determine If You Are Cut Out For Freelancing. Do you have the entrepreneurial energy to take the four steps outlined above? Tell us in the comment area.