This is the second of a two-part workshop series open to humanities and social sciences graduate students. Building on the services you designed in Part 1, Part 2 guides participants to communicate their services to prospective clients and create the conditions for strong relationships, clear expectations, and effective management of projects as they develop. In the startup world, removing obstacles from your sales process is often described as “eliminating friction.” Another way to frame your approach to sales is in terms of modeling the relationship that you want to have with your client for many years to come.

In the early stages of your business, it is likely that many of your early clients will come to you from within your own network or as referrals from colleagues, personal connections, and your other clients. Those referrals are the strongest catalysts for business and the moments to understand how your value is perceived, what you can offer, and how you want to operate. If you treat every interaction with a potential client as an opportunity to sharpen your communication and spark a relationship, you will plant seeds for both immediate work and long-term professional opportunities. Your early projects are also an opportunity to refine your business strategy and listen to yourself. These experiences can help you recognize what you enjoy and feel motivated to keep doing.

Through the lessons and exercises provided, you will learn to:

  • Clarify your value proposition for your target client.

  • Draft a clear and compelling “about me” statement.

  • Write effective emails to attract new clients.

This workshop builds the foundation for diverse applications such as meetings with prospective clients, customer discovery interviews, pricing your offer, managing projects as they grow, launching your business, and getting paid on time.

Register here for a Zoom link for both sessions. For questions, contact SueJeanne Koh at sj.koh@uci.edu.

About Erica Machulak and the Hikma Collective

Erica Machulak (she/her), PhD, is the Founder and Lead Facilitator of Hikma, a social impact startup with a mission to mobilize scholarship for the public good through consulting, capacity building, and storytelling. Over the past two years, Hikma clients have secured $6M+ in research funding, informed new policies, and published their work in media outlets such as Forbes and the CBC.

As a writer, editor, and facilitator, Erica believes that the world needs to hear more from people who resist easy answers. Since completing her dissertation on Arabic influences in medieval English literature, Erica has written articles for Inside Higher Ed, Intellect Ltd, and Humanities, the magazine of the National Endowment for the Humanities. She holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania (BA), the University of Oxford (MSt.), and the University of Notre Dame (PhD).