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Can One Failed Business Affect My Future?

I worked at a small company for three years but it went out of business in May. A lot of former customers have a negative image of the former business. As an independent contractor, I am hesitant to mention my association with the company in fear of being judged for what I had no authority over. How do I avoid the negative image and the aftermath from interfering with my future?

As an independent contractor, you are a business owner. And as an owner, it is up to you to create your own image – based on the experience others have of you and your work.

If you are selling your current services based on work you did for the older company, you can simply use your “story” of that work as part of your sales script or narrative.

It sounds as if your target customers had dealings with the previous company and know some of the history. If that's the case, your honesty will always be the best policy in these situations. Be open and honest about your role (if asked), and be careful not to add “fuel to the fire” or speak negatively about the company, as your prospects may not judge your association with that company, but will certainly judge you on how you speak about the past.

Bottom line is your prospects are not dealing with the past company, they are dealing with you. Create a compelling story for your services and start to build your own reputation – which ultimately is based on the service, value and results you can deliver for your customers.

Related: How to Use Social Media to Build a Following -- And a Business 
Related: How to Get Customers to Help Build Your Brand 

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