Comedian Steve Martin’s Advice to Solo Professionals

By Steve Slaunwhite

I was flipping through the television channels and came across an interview with comedian, Steve Martin. You know, that “wild and crazy guy” who went on to make The Jerk, Cheaper By The Dozen and several other popular movies. When the interviewer asked Steve to provide some advice to those viewers with dreams of breaking into show business, his reply surprised me.

He said, “My advice is to be so good at what you do that they can’t ignore you.”

At first I thought Steve was just being flippant. After all, he is a comedian. But then I started thinking more about his advice and came to realize how bang on it really was.

There’s a lot of emphasis on the Internet these days on promoting your services effectively and getting clients. And a lot of that information is great stuff. However, effective marketing alone isn’t enough to build and sustain a professional service business. You have to get good at what you do.

For example, I work with a freelance designer who helps me with my website, emails and other graphic design needs. He really knows his stuff and does great work. So, guess what? I use his services over and over again and refer him to just about anyone looking for a designer. People find out about him in other ways, too. They are attracted to his expertise and skills. He’s good at what he does—and that fact is like a magnet that draws opportunities and clients to his doorstep.

Like Steve Martin says, people who are good are difficult to ignore. They get noticed. They get the best clients. They earn the highest fees. I realized this years ago when I interviewed sales coach, Tom Stoyan for The Sales & Marketing Report newsletter (now defunct). He told me, “Early in my career I knew I had to get better—fast. So I committed myself to spending one hour a day during the week, and two hours a day on weekends, getting better.”

I’m not sure exactly what Tom did during those hours to get better, but whatever it was, it worked. Today he’s one of the top names in the business.

How do YOU get better? Study books, take a course, get some coaching and mentoring, and practice, practice, practice. Make the commitment to being a more skilled and effective copywriter. There are a lot of marketing tactics that can help you get clients. But “getting good” is by far the most effective.

STEVE SLAUNWHITE is a popular marketing coach, speaker and bestselling author. His many books include The Everything Guide to Writing Copy and The Complete Idiot's Guide to Starting a Web-Based Business. His latest, The Wealthy Freelancer, recently won a "2010 Best Small Business Book Award". Steve is well-known for his Marketing That Means Business® approach to helping business owners attract more clients, increase sales, and make more money. To learn more about his coaching and consulting programs, books, and workshops, visit

By Adam

June 03, 2011