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What do I need to do to market myself as a carpenter?

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Adam’s Answer

Updated Montreal, Quebec, Canada

I spent several years working with professionals on how to market their businesses. As a carpenter, there are a few great options for you.

If you're comfortable with technology:

  1. List your business on Google. Google allows you to list your business for free by going to https://www.google.com/business/. Fill out as much of the info as you can and when people in your area start looking for carpenters, you'll be part of the results mix.
  2. Instagram. Start taking photos or videos of your finished work and posting it to an Instagram under your business name. There are a lot of great ways you can promote yourself on Instagram, but for now, don't worry about that. Just worry about posting photos, and then once you've done that a few times, you can start looking at hashtagging, joining conversations, etc.
  3. Instructional videos on YouTube. You have to be comfortable in front of the camera, but if you are, then start posting videos of yourself working on projects on Youtube. A lot of pros over the years have said to me that they don't want to do DIY instructional videos because they want people to pay them for their work, not teach them how to do it. But, the truth is, most people who watch DIY videos will never do the work themselves. In fact, what will usually happen is that they'll see the video, realize how much work it is to do something properly, and then call a pro. And if there's a pro ready to do the job right there in the video, they don't have to look very far.

If you can afford to spend money:

  1. Pay for Facebook advertising. Facebook advertising is still a relatively affordable way for small business to advertise themselves to local users. As long as you keep it simple, the Facebook advertising platform can be pretty user friendly.

If you're not big on technology:

  1. Create a mini referral program. In fact, you should do this regardless of whether you're doing any of the things above. Most of the professionals I know who are established don't market themselves anymore. They rely solely on word of mouth to get new business. Over time, if you do good work, this should "just happen," but there are ways to accelerate this. For example, if you do a job for someone, give them a few business cards and let them know that you'll pay them a finder's fee if they refer you a new client (note: it's important to make it clear that you'll only pay the fee after you've been paid for the job). You can also ask customers who are happy with your work to leave a review on Google, Yelp, Facebook or whatever other review platform is popular in your area.

There are many more options, but just with those, you should be in good shape to get started. That said, don't make one of the biggest mistakes I've seen small business owners make when they're first starting out: focus too much on your marketing, and not enough on your product or service. At the end of the day, you can have the best marketing in the world, but if you can't deliver, you won't be able to make a living.