E-skills, and by that COLIBRI means the skills you need to run an e-business, or, for that matter, your own bricks and mortar operation, can also help you get a job at one of the always growing number of internet-related businesses.
With little tweaks you can pursue a solopreneur career and be job-ready at the same time. This is because:
- Most businesses are “internet,” at least when it comes to marketing
- E-skills are highly transferable from a solo operation to a corporate-type gig
Successful Solopreneur E-skills
As a successful solopreneur, your number one e-skill is (drumroll, please!):
- Writing and content creation. While the web is a fascinating mix of sounds and images, most of what you see on the web is text-based. Even many of the videos you see online resulted from written scripts or at least storyboards. The foundation of excellent content creation is great writing.
As a solopreneur, you must write copy for posts, marketing materials and maybe even navigation for your website since you are wearing all the hats. If you get good at writing as a solopreneur who promotes products and services online, that same skill will be valuable if you decide to apply for a day job.
To take it further: Learn HTML, CSS and a photo editor such as Photoshop. If you’re feeling really frisky, take a graphic design class. These skills are practical no matter which direction life takes you.
Other critical e-skills include:
- Community management. Solopreneurs and startups rely on the web for many aspects of marketing. One way to inspire customer loyalty is to create community. In a busy world, people are looking for connection. If you are a good community manager that skill will serve you in any marketing position you consider.
- CRM software. CRM means Customer Relationship Management. COLIBRI used to handle this with a rolodex and stationary, but today it is managed using SaaS (which means Software as a Service). Think: SalesForce.
- Analytic skills. Unfortunately for us marketing and content creation types, if you can’t measure it, it doesn’t (pun alert!) count (hee hee). What COLIBRI means is, nowadays anything you do online can be measured and analyzed. One of your most important e-skills is understanding how to capture, measure and make changes and improvements to your marketing based on data. Not all of the competition is doing this, yet, so the more you have a handle on this particular skill set, the more you can Wow!
COLIBRI has said this before: Don’t be intimidated! You may not know how to do it now, but there are plenty of online resources that explain simplified SEO (search engine optimization) and analytics for beginners.
The Tried And Trues
- Public Relations. The ability to network and create relationships with journalists and other influencers never goes out of style. Today, more and more journalists work online. It is important to identify where they hang out and figure out ways to be a resource to them.
- Email. People can predict the end of email all they want, but, in fact, email is still the most effective online marketing tool. According to Kissmetrics, “email has nearly three times as many user accounts as Facebook and Twitter combined. That’s a whopping 2.9 billion.” The article explains that people find email both more personal and “businessy.”
Takehome: Learn to manage email with Mailchimp (COLIBRI’s fave) or similar.
Other E-skills to Consider
- Content curation. Content creation is an e-skill no brainer for solopreneurs. Curation is is selecting, or triaging, information. There is so much to get through on the web. Being able to find and share truly interesting and useful information helps you become a resource.
- Consistency. While technically not an e-skill, being consistent with all of your social media and online marketing efforts is important. You will slowly build reach if you make a schedule to post content and you stick with it.
- Organization. Also not technically one of the e-skills, being organized goes along with being consistent. If you organize and prioritize your time, you can learn more and be more productive.
- It’s-not-about-youism. In all forms of marketing, remember to put your target audience first. The e-skills listed above help you understand what your audience wants and then deliver it.
What do You Think?
Are these skills both solopreneurs and corporate types can take to the bank? Did COLIBRI leave anything out?
Bnonn. 5 Reasons Why Email Marketing Crushes Social Media for B2B. Kissmetric blog. July 12, 2012.
Dunford, April. 6 Skills That Will Get You a Startup Marketing Job. Rocketwatcher, April 18, 2012.
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