The rise of the solopreneur is yet another change in our lives attributable to the Internet. What used to take years of networking and career building to make a name for one’s self can now be done in a fraction of that time with some hard-core social media networking and well-created (and disseminated) content.
According to a recent study by consulting firm MBO Partners, there are now 17.9 million full-time, independent workers. The number of freelancers has risen 12.5% in just three years. This flourishing independent movement is not the desperate reaction of people who can’t find work, but a new approach to employment and an open embrace of freedom.
What is your association doing to recruit these lone wolves?
What solopreneurs need for your association
While not every association represents people who are likely to go out on their own, if you see an increase in independent professionals in your industry, or the possibility of one occurring, you should think about how your association can best appeal to them.
Solopreneurs don’t have a company steadily feeding them work. They need marketing to thrive but spending time marketing takes time away from the work they get paid for. If there’s a way you can help promote them to their target audience, you can be assured your member dues will be worth it to them.
A place to shine
Having a group they can converse with, publish in, and ask for feedback is important but won’t be dues worthy on its own. Remember these folks must be good networkers to get business so chances are they’ve already joined many (free) groups with like-minded professionals on the Internet in spots like LinkedIn.
Remind them, or better yet have members of your association speak to it instead, that your group (most likely) has a more established reputation and publishing with you will be seen as more exclusive than posting something on social media.
Solopreneurs can have trouble getting work from complete strangers because no one has vouged for their work. Many freelancers may see value in joining your group as a way to establish themselves in your industry.
Unless they’re a freelance writer, creating content takes most solopreneurs away from what makes them money. Yet they need it to maintain good organic search rankings and web traffic, not to mention expert status. They need content for their site, newsletter, social media posts, blog, and the list goes on. While you can’t provide them with web copy, you can assist them in content for their other areas by sharing content with your members. Let them know they can use it with attribution. Encourage them to do so. It gets your work out there and helps them continue to establish their reputation in the industry.
How are you helping solopreneurs embrace their need for freedom? It’s a tricky task to get these lone wolves to join but if your association can offer them something they can’t -- or don’t want to -- do for themselves, they’ll gladly join each year.