Focus on Education Over Selling to Demonstrate Your Value

Katie Corbett holds the book "The Referral Engine"

By Katie Corbett


I run a freelance writing business. Not surprisingly, sales is now a large part of my regular business practice. Authenticity is an important quality to me, and I want to tell you about a technique that helps me stay true to myself and get new writing leads at the same time.


The book, “The Referral Engine,” by John Jantsch, recommends focusing on educating rather than selling. Focusing on educating others helps me avoid being spammy or desperate. It can help you in your efforts, too, because you can apply creativity to your job hunt. Here are some ideas:


  • Start a blog or podcast where you post content that is relevant to those who might be looking to hire you.
  • If you enjoy interviewing guests, this could be a great way to get your audience involved and meet more people.
  • Consider other areas in which you are an expert and create content around that; I made a list of 25-30 ideas before I settled on business books.
  • Attend mastermind groups and offer to help when you can.
  • Look for opportunities to speak to share your expertise.


The hardest part about this project will be to get started. It can be as easy as posting frequently on your Facebook or LinkedIn profile, or as complex as starting a company to solve a specific problem. Find a way to be seen as an expert. It will help give you purpose and bring others to you who want to know about what you have to offer.


A word about building awareness: I recommend setting metrics that you control to evaluate your success, such as posting regularly or sharing your work with a certain number of people. This practice will keep you from getting discouraged if it takes you longer to build a following. I focus on posting one time per week, and that keeps me motivated to keep blogging.


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