How To Find Your First Client, or More Clients

A lot of people think, if they build a website, they will come, or if they put up their portfolio on Behance, clients are just going to magically show up. Well, I got a harsh business reality check for you. That’s not going to happen. People say, “I don’t want to be salesy. I don’t want to have to cold call. Reaching out to people makes me really uncomfortable, or they’re not going to want to hear from me.” Well, here’s another reality check. Businesses expect to be pitched. They expect to have people reach out to them for business. That’s how business works. So they’re not going to take it personally that you are reaching out to them for business. What really matters is how you’re reaching out to them and where you’re reaching out to them, how you’re going about it. So in this blog post, what I want to share with you are 11 ways to find your first or more clients. So whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, pushing your products and services on a stranger is not going to be your most favorite activity. It certainly is not mine. But there are two ways of going about it. Number one is you going out to them, you approach them. I like to call that active pursuit. Number two is getting them to come to you. What I like to call an active attraction. Now you’ll notice that the word passive doesn’t figure into this at all. There is no passivity in getting new business. You have to do something to get new business. And this blog post focuses on an active pursuit that can lead to attraction. 1: Reach out to family and friends.

If you want to reach out to your clients in a meaningful way. You don’t want to send a form letter. You don’t want to send something really impersonal. You want to include a personal note, and you want to describe the kind of work that you do, and also the type of work that you want to get, and the type of companies that you want to attract. You have to tell them and describe to them how they can help you. What do you want? Do you want referrals? Do you want them to share a message on social media? What it is that you want them to do for you. You have to make it easy for them to do it too. So if you can provide them with a little snippet of writing, or a little tweet, or whatever that is that they could share, they could send out in an email to their contacts, which will help them share your services to other people. And then always make sure to include a really sincere thank you. Examples of the type of people you can send it to our true family and friends, or you could send it to people you know from organizations you’re involved in, like a church, or an association, or a club, or a sports team you play on. You could send it to old coworkers, or old school alumni. There are all sorts of people that you can send this sort of personal email to. 2: Search Craigslist, or search local Facebook groups.

Don’t just list your services, but look for people who are looking for your types of services. You can also, on Craigslist, branch out. So just not looking in the city that you live in, but other cities as well. There should be no barriers to who you do business with. You can also look at neighborhood Facebook groups or the chamber of commerce websites. There’s a number of places that you can look for, for people who are looking for your types of services. 3: Send a LinkedIn message.

You can either send direct messages to people you’re connected with, or you can pay for InMail to connect with and send messages to people who aren’t in your connection circle. You want to make sure you keep it short and to the point, and you describe what it is that you do. You might want to also include a link of some sort of interesting comment or some sort of valuable information that could pique their interest. And then also, you always want to remember at the end to say, “If you aren’t interested, is there any way you could forward this to someone who you think might be or respond back with someone I might connect, who you think might be interested in my services?”. Always kind of try to extend the net in any kind of communication that you have. 4: Actively participate in online forums.

So this could be Facebook groups, or LinkedIn forums, or websites, or communities, or blogs. You don’t want to just be passive. You want to be active. You don’t want to be a lurker. You want to really get involved. You want to ask questions. You want to help answer other people’s questions. One of the things that I’ve found to be really effective is to offer up a freebie. Offer up a free website audit, or a free copywriting audit, or a free design audit of their brand identity. It gives people a reason to engage with you, and everyone wants something for free. When I was part of a very large online mastermind community, one of the first things I did in the forums to meet a lot of people and to get attention, honestly, was I offered up a free website audit, a free brand design audit. And a lot of people took me up on it. It gave me an opportunity to meet people, gave me an opportunity to learn more about their businesses. And it also gave me an opportunity to showcase my expertise on this larger kind of format forum. And, to tell you the truth, it brought me a lot of business. So this sort of thing can really help build your client list, either to get your first clients or to get new clients. 5: Use must-open email subject lines.

When you’re sending out emails, you want to pay really close attention to your subject line. You want to make sure you’re creating an openable subject line, something that’s really enticing. Like something you would use in the forum that I mentioned in number four was, “I’d like to give you a free website audit,” or, “Can I send you this cool PDF?” And then offer them up some sort of freebie, or lead magnet. It’s a conversation starter. It’s a way to start developing that relationship, and it’s a way to get them to engage with you. And the first engagement is just opening that email and possibly hitting reply. So making sure that you have openable subject email lines is really critical. 6: Give a free seminar or a mini-training course.

Undoubtedly there are continuing education places in your vicinity. So that could be a school, or a university, or some sort of learning center, or even coworking spaces sometimes host these things. Offer to give a free seminar, or free training course, or extremely low-cost one, and then talk about something that you know about, something that you can offer up as a service when you offer your goods and services to people. That could be how to improve your Facebook page, or how to write better tweets, or how to use color better on your website, or how to take better photographs. 7: Give a mini-training course.

People will come, you’ll be able to expand your network, meet new people who might be interested in that thing, and you’re given the opportunity to kind of exhibit your expertise in that. The great thing about it is that a lot of people will learn about it, but they’ll eventually really not want to do it for themselves, and they’ll want to hire you to do it. So it’s an awesome way to develop new business. 8: Guest post on websites where your clients hang out.

Websites are always looking for more content, so it gives you the opportunity to exhibit your expertise, and it also, you’re showing up in a place where people are not usually coming in contact with you. So you just want to reach out via email from the contact page of whatever the website is to the person who manages that website and then pitch them on doing some guest posting. Keep it really short. Possibly give them examples of the types of articles that you would write or articles you’ve written in the past. And I guarantee you, it’s a great way to get out there to a whole new range of people and potential clients. 9: Twitter.

A lot of people don’t take advantage of the search capabilities of Twitter. But if you search for phrases that people would be using, who are the type of people who would be wanting your goods and services, you can locate people to start relationships and conversations with. For instance, if you’re a business consultant, you might search for a phrase like, I need to start my own business, or even, I hate my job, whatever that is. You can search and you’ll come up with people’s tweets who are posting these questions, and then you can reach out to them with direct messages, and either offer help, offer answers to their questions or pitch them with your services. Designers might look for phrases like, I need a logo. Before I did this blog post, I actually just did that. I searched for it, just to see what would come up, and there was a whole range of people who were looking for new logos. You can reach out to them directly and offer your services. One thing I would recommend, though, is before you reach out to them directly, just check out their profile, see if they’re legit, vet them a little bit, look at their website to make sure they’re someone you would actually want to be reaching out to. 10: Share something of value that’s easy for other people to share.

So for instance, you might want to share an infographic, or a mini ebook PDF, or a listicle, or something like that. You want to make it easy for people to share it. You want to share it on social and then invite other people to share it more broadly. Things like infographics have a tendency to get shared very widely. When you create something like that and put it out into the world, you want to make sure that you brand it. You want to make sure that you put your name, your business name, your contact information on the JPEG itself. So as it gets shared around the web, people are going to know who to contact, or who was the smart person who came up with that thing, and that’s a great way to do business development. 11: Advertising.

Advertising still works. And really, when it comes down to it, you have to spend money to make money. The good news is that you don’t have to spend $5,000 for a full-page magazine ad anymore these days. You can spend $5 a day on Facebook and make an impact on your advertising. You can advertise on Google AdWords. Spend as much or as little as you want. You can advertise on Craigslist. You can advertise on online magazines, or on blogs, or websites. Also, locally, you can advertise on local chamber of commerce websites. It’s really cheap to do that and they really welcome it. And then you can do the physical stuff, right? You can do flyers. You can leave your business cards in businesses around where you live. You can create swag. You can do key chains and fridge magnets and koozies with your brand name on it. Whatever it is, you can create advertising and should create advertising, and take that active role in pursuing new business. And finally, I’d like to ask you a favor. If you could, down in the comments below, leave any ideas that you use for active pursuit of new business that I might not have covered in this blog post. I’d really appreciate it, and I know the rest of the subscribers and tribe and community that follow my blog post would really appreciate it too.

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