Re: Ideas for side work
If you are starting new without existing clients, I agree with Christian. Not sure of the benefits of Guru and similar sites - a lot of competition from the Far East with very low prices.
I work for myself and now get most of my work through referrals and recommendations. But in the early days (about 15 years ago) I was in the same position as you. If you want local then attend networking meetings and other business events, look to see who is advertising in the local paper/webs/yellow pages. Look at what you have done in the past - is there something there with which you can target local companies because you know the industry or have a in depth knowledge of a particular functionality which would be of benefit to them e.g. appointment making, CRM, POS, health & safety, HR.
Basically it is a numbers game, people need to know you are there. Not sure what the figures are these days with the web etc, but it used to be roughly for every 1500 prospects (i.e. they are aware of you) you would get one bit of business. This improves over time.
What constitutes an ideal target market is very much up to you. It depends on your personal skills and experience and what is available locally. Whatever company it is it needs to justify any expenditure on software which will save them money and/or improve their own sales opportunities so I would avoid solutions which can be easily replicated in Excel or easily solved by a competetively priced turnkey system - unless you want to do it as part of your strategy.
Ensure you offer a professional service, provide a properly specified quote which can be discounted if you want (at least if you don't make enough money it is because you have either not specified correctly or have discounted too much - either way, your fault and a learning point for the future!).
You also need to decide your strategy, are you offering to develop an open source solution which the customer then takes on the maintenance themselves using their own resources or do you provide a locked down system with a mainenance agreement, or something in between.
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