How to Pave Your Own Entrepreneurial Path as a Coder
If you’re looking to break away from a more traditional style of employment in favor of your own dreams for the future, you might be a bit intimidated about where to start. Creating your own brand begins with an idea, purpose, or service that you have in mind. As a coder, and as a woman, you might face some challenges along the way.
Today, we’re going to talk about the best ways for coders to network, gain traction, reputation, and potentially more customers, while protecting your assets when you decide to work for yourself.
Don’t be afraid to show off your skills. Social media is a wonderful place to show the world that yes, you are female; yes, you are a coder; and yes, you are fantastic at what you do. The proof is in the pudding, as they say. Work that speaks for itself is free marketing in and of itself. You put in the hard work and the hours to come out of a project being proud of your accomplishments. Nothing helps build your clientele like other satisfied customers, so share as much as you can about past projects and happy customers (with their permission of course).
While it’s possible that you might experience some hesitation or pushback from individuals who are still stuck in an outdated mindset, I think this tactic is a wonderful way to combat that. If you don’t have a ton of projects to show the world at this time, there’s no better time to start a portfolio. Reach out to the people you know in the industry or the people you know might need some help with a project and then go from there.
Think about how you are different and what you have to offer that is different from everyone else — this is how you start to build your own brand. With each new project, ask for feedback that highlights your unique talents and share that positive feedback with potential customers. Before you know it, you’ll be growing as an entrepreneur, a businesswoman, and a coder.
The fact of the matter is, you’ve essentially got to start from scratch and build a reputation from the ground up, which is not an easy thing to do. However, networking is a wonderful way to start building your confidence and gain access to new potential clients. After you have a bit of a portfolio formed, it’s time to start introducing yourself to other leaders of the industry. Also, never question whether you deserve to hang with the rest. Confidence in yourself and your brand is what will get you noticed among those who may already have embedded themselves in your niche.
In this instance, you can always use the fact that you are a woman to remind yourself of how strong you are. The idea that females can’t be coders is obviously going out the door; it’s an idea that can’t last. As such, you’ve likely learned some difficult lessons during your time as a coder that many other coders haven’t experienced. You have some extra insight into what it takes to work harder than the rest — probably what it feels like to be paid less, to be given less respect, and to still come out successful in the end.
That alone is a reason for people to want to connect with you, but you can use ideas like this to help you discover that “it” factor that sets you apart. Remember what it is that sets you apart from other coders and entrepreneurs trying to break out into your niche. If you connect with other leaders in the industry, how can you show them that what you’re doing is exceptional, necessary, and even crucial to coding? That is what they need to see.
What’s more, when networking, you’ll likely want to attend group events that can expose you to new potential clients. So, how do you make them choose you and not the competition? Be yourself. It sounds too easy to be good advice, but it’s truly something that is easy to forget. There are so many entrepreneurs out there that are trying to dazzle clients with new ideas, farfetched ideas, and future plans. However, those who often gain the client at the end of the day are just plain good at what they do and can prove it. This definitely doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have ideas for the future. It simply means you maybe shouldn’t use something that isn’t yet tangible to reel in potential leads and prospects. The best tips for networking include being noticeable, being confident, consistently following up, and being honest and genuine.
Now, if you can repeat steps one and two (marketing and networking) you can keep your image fresh and always bring in new clients. However, even the biggest companies and entrepreneurs might run into some financial problems now and again. When you’re working for yourself, an interruption in your income is a serious (and sometimes fatal) problem for your business. In order to save yourself from stress, there are some things you can do ahead of time to protect your business income so that you can keep your brand alive.
First, evaluate any weak points that have to do with your business or how you operate. Are there any issues that could put you out of business temporarily? For example, is your office space reliable? Do you have everything you need to conduct your business on the go? Are you vulnerable to things like theft, natural disasters, and/or power failures that could put you out of business for a while?
After you examine any potential weaknesses in how and where you run your business, you can start to address such issues with helpful programs like business insurance. In addition, it’s imperative that you come up with an emergency plan if you run into one of the disasters above. Even though insurance can cover some of your losses, you’ll likely have to make some sacrifices in order to get back on your feet.
Sometimes you might experience problems that extend farther than the issues listed above. For example, if you happen to lose a large client or an employee (if you have employees) that was crucial to your operation, it’s important to talk with any partners you might have to come up with a plan of action in a worst-case scenario. If you have no partners or employees, you should still sit down and think about possible backup plans, should you experience a drastic change in your income.
It’s scary to start working for yourself as an entrepreneur. In addition, you may be wary to take on an industry that has historically been dominated by men. However, If you believe in yourself and in your capabilities, your brand, what you stand for, and how you plan to operate, your stellar reputation will form itself. Your clients will see that your skill isn’t linked to your gender — only that, perhaps due to your gender, you have become stronger. With some confidence, persistence, determination, and maybe a little insurance, you can build your own coding business from the ground up.