5 Steps to Working From Home As a Grant Writing Consultant

All of us at one time or another have experienced the loss of a job, being in transition or just plain don’t like the job we have. It’s a tough situation to be in but it also gives us the opportunity to reflect on what we can do differently in getting what we want from our next venture.

If you happen to be floating along in one of these less than desirable situations, let me challenge you to do some radical thinking – have you thought about ditching a job search altogether and creating your own job? Self-employment is the hottest trend according to U.S. Labor Statistics and nonprofit grant writing consulting lends itself beautifully to working from home, making money and contributing to society’s improvement.

I started my own grant writing consulting business as a desire and need to be a stay-at-home working mom. There were just a few things that I needed to happen. One, I needed to make money. That was a given. Second, I wanted flexibility to work my job from home. And, three, I still wanted to contribute to the good of society by continuing my work in nonprofit.

In order to be a successful grant writing consultant, I realized quickly that I was going to have to get five tools working for me. These are very important and they’ll work for you too. Think of yourself as the mechanic of your career. And what does every mechanic need? Tools! Get these tools into your toolbox and see the success that follows.

1. Have confidence in stepping outside of your comfort zone. No luck securing the job of your dreams? Try something new and different by working for you. Thousands of others (including yours truly) have taken the leap and never looked back. Everything and everyone has a starting point. If it’s something you’ve been wanting to try, don’t waste any more time. You don’t ever want to look back and say “I wish I would have…”

2. In becoming a grant writing consultant, first learn correct grant writing techniques that will win grants. Well, duh, you might say. All I’m advising is that you pay attention to who you place your trust in in learning the cornerstone of your new business. Remember that guy with the question mark suit that promised a bunch of free money from the government? He’s an example of who to avoid. Also, read and learn everything you can about this skill. There are many reputable folks that you can learn from. And, practice makes perfect like with anything else in life. Remember the first day on your current or last job and everything just seemed so new and strange? You get over that. For those of you with experience in grant writing, yay!, you get to skip this step and move on.

3. Build and sustain meaningful relationships. This holds true for just about everyone you come into contact with in your business. Get to personally know the folks at the offices of the grant funders that you’re making application to. Like you, they put their pants on one leg at the time and they’re there to help. Take an interest also in really getting to know the nonprofits you serve. Don’t just tell them what you can do for them – actively engage yourself in finding out what matters most to them. Not only is this a polite way to do business – it consistently attracts clients that pay you.

4. Effectively market yourself to attract clients. There are two ways to market yourself as a grant writing consultant – locally and virtually. And, no, you don’t have to be an aggressive marketer to attract potential customers. As a matter of fact, my personality just lends itself to a more soft-sale approach. I advise my clients to hang out where the business is. In this case, it will be where nonprofits gather. If you’re interested in working locally, check out your local chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals ( http://www.afpnet.org ) and attend some meetings. All potential clients! Marketing virtually, of course, means establishing a website and connecting via social media for more clients. There are nonprofit groups on LinkedIn to engage in discussion and Twitter and Facebook are also good starting places.

5. Become known as the go-to person. You want to become known as the balm that will soothe your client’s pain. In time, you’ll learn to use speaking and other communication means to your advantage to establish this reputation and become a respected fixture in the grant writing world.

So, there you have it. If you’d like to learn more about the first steps in beginning your own career, be sure to visit my website and download a FREE copy of “You Can Become a Grant Writing Consultant.” You might also be interested in my step-by-step instructional program GRANTcoach – taking you from a grant writing novice into a successful consultant.

Here’s to Your Success!

Sports Marketing

Sports marketing is popular in developed countries and it is gaining popularity in developing countries. Even fast moving consumer goods like, soft drinks and beverages products are very aggressive in sports sponsorship and marketing globally, whereas, telecommunication companies are very aggressive at national level. Health related products like innovative technology equipments to loose weight and stay fit, and dairy products like goat milk and vitamins supplements are also very active in sports sponsorship and marketing.

The commercial success and acceptance of marketing through sports and sponsorship have made it popular in the Western countries and marketing can be in any form of media, like sponsorship in sports events, commercials on television, magazines, social media, placing advertisements in sports pages in newspapers and many more.

Marketers and advertisers see sports a trend and a vital tool to reach consumers these days. In America, there are academics that provide professional certification program in sports marketing and associations set up to support the agencies and promotion, like Sport Marketing Association, founded in Columbia.

For marketers in sports sponsorship and marketing, their first priority is to get the exposure as it can assist in promoting the brand. Companies can get an association with something that is good with the investment in marketing as sports are where miracle happens and are full of happiness. In addition, marketers will get positive brand experiences and this might assist them to increase their sales. Brand differentiation is another important factor that governs the effectiveness of the advertisement as marketers can open up a new avenue of advertising that will set them apart from their competitors. Of course, marketers can also invest in sports sponsorship and marketing by creating interesting game events.

However, being clear about the Company objective is essential when marketers are going for marketing through sports and sponsorship. Objectives can include targeting the mass market or raising the brand profile. Some people might have a misconception that the target market for branding through sports is mostly men. I wish to correct it by saying that it caters to women as well. An example is ESPN sports where around 45 per cent viewers are women. Overall the current global economic crisis impact on marketing through sports is still positive and also very much depends on the sport.

Don’t Feed the Trolls

It’s going to happen eventually. If you have a comments system, or a submissions box, or anything that allows the anonymous public to send you input, it is bound to happen. The more publicly visible those submissions can get, the higher the likelihood of it happening.

I’m talking about trolls. Those rabble-rousers of the Web, the ne’er-do wells, the obnoxious jerks and put-downs. How is one supposed to deal with them?

A Short Biology

What is an Internet Troll? Someone who likes to disagree for disagreement’s sake; someone who just likes to argue. Someone who seeks to make others upset. Those who ridicule as an end-goal, who like to insult others at the slightest provocation. They are the online equivalent of the aggressive person at the bar itching for a fight. They want to cause trouble, and they’ll either find the first opportunity to fan the flames or just instigate it themselves.

One of my clients has been getting some trolling on their company Facebook Page. For the past couple days their posts have been attracting crass, rude, and usually unprovoked comments. These words weren’t directly aimed at the company themselves, or even fellow commenters. The remarks were aimed at the organizations referred to in the status updates.

But the tone and verbiage of those comments was unmistakably aggressive. This was no complaint, but an irate rant. Insulting and profane, these comments had no place on the otherwise benign atmosphere of the company page.

Feeding Habits

So what to do about this? The proper way to deal with a troll first demands knowing how trolls work. Like our aggressive friend at the tavern, the thing they want most is a fight. A direct clash. Therefore, do not give that to them.

An Internet Troll is hoping to raise some ire. They want someone to take the bait to their scandalous comments. They live for the sucker, he who falls for the lure; the person who argues back.

Arguing with a troll is like trying to stop a fire with gasoline. The more intense and impassioned your retort, the more you fuel the troll’s efforts. The longer you draw out the conversation, the more you saturate the troll with the attention they crave.

Therefore, do not give them sustenance. They are already starved for attention; if they realize that they’ll not get any from you they will eventually move on. Don’t feed the trolls, and the trolls won’t stick around.

Deny them the satisfaction of being the center of attention. Don’t cater to their self-righteousness by giving them the opportunity to argue and let them prove they’re right on some twisted interpretation of the facts. Evade their desires to vent their anger and frustration; if they get no release they’ll have no incentive to stay.

Trollhunter

So what to do when a troll shows up on the company Facebook Page? It would be tempting to delete the troll’s comment. But while you might think that solves the problem, you’ve fallen for the troll’s trap.

A delete, or even a ban, is tantamount to an argument. Try to silence a troll by force and they’ll come back louder than ever, no doubt with cries of unfairly being gagged from voicing their freedom, or that you’re hiding what the public ought to know. Using force on a troll only incites them further. To them, it means that they’ve succeeded in getting under your skin and forcing you to deal with them. It’s playing into their game.

You could always just ignore the troll. And that could work. It does deny them what they crave. Chances are they’ll still throw a tantrum and try to vandalize more of your page, but eventually they will leave for greener pastures.

But that still looks bad. Even if the troll leaves, what they’ve left in their wake is a bunch of very unflattering things on your page. While it’s of not fault of your own, it makes any incoming visitors awkward to sift through your content only to come across some profanity or obscene remarks.

Time to look at this in another perspective. Dealing with trolls is not a chore, or something to dread. It’s an opportunity, and a great one at that.

Respond to the troll. But not in an angry, combative, or otherwise aggressive manner. Respond to them calmly, thoughtfully, and succinctly. Do some quick homework; view their profile and glance through their interests. Is there some sort of common ground, something they hold sacred and dear that you can appeal to? Some trolls are just outspoken grumps, and if you appeal to them where they’re soft, they’ll relent.

But maybe there is no chink of rationality in their armor. They’re the type of troll that is purely looking for violent engagement. Respond, but do not engage. Make a benign and diplomatic reply, nothing stuffy and disingenuous, and move on. Keep your response snappy and limited to one post. Do not give them any more than that.

If they continue to rant, do not meet them in kind. The goal is to not be dragged down by their arguments, but still be able to respond to their presence.

When done with class, wit, and sincerity this accomplishes many things:

  1. It makes you come across as classy, witty, and sincere to onlookers
  2. It shows that you can diffuse situations and reinforce / win over others with such a display of “people skills”
  3. It adds an air of professionalism and expertise. Only the petty fight.
  4. It deals with the troll, and leaves evidence that can discourage future trolling

It’s easy to ignore and dismiss, but it takes skill to acknowledge and negate. When performed well, the troll may even relent or simply skulk off on their own accord.

Dealing with trolls can actually give you a boost in your social media engagement and reputation, not sully it. Acknowledge the trolls, but do not fight them. Be above their mudslinging, but not so aloof as to lend them credence to any claims of pretentiousness.

You can not only find the silver lining to being trolled, you can make this a golden opportunity for yourself.

What do you think? Is this the best way to deal with trolls, or are there better ones? Share your best tips in the comments below.