7 Ways To Get Your First 3 Clients For Your Professional Services Business
By Fernando BiZ
Being an entrepreneur or starting an own business can be very exciting. But after a while, the big question comes in; how do you build a client base? Or better still, how do you get your first client? It’s not enough to be hopeful; you will need practical steps to help you attain your goals. I have met many upcoming entrepreneurs who started out well, but then they decided to sit back and wait for clients. Now that is an absolute No! because by the time they realize that building a client base requires a strategy, a competitor would have gone off with their money. I would hate for that to be your experience so I’ve put together a list of tried and tested tips that will help you get your first few clients. Whether you’re a freelance writer, video editor, music maker or affiliate marketer the formula is basically the same and once you master the secret behind it, trust you me, you’ll go far. It could also very well be that your first client will be a five-figure client. With only 2 or 3 clients of that nature, you are more than sorted.
First things first! Marketing yourself doesn’t always involve SEO tools, blogging or being active on Twitter. It’s not about link building or even email marketing. Instead, you’ll need to start by knowing your strengths, what you’re good at. Once you identify this, seek to present it to the prospective clients. And where do you find these prospective clients? Have a look below;
- Online forums/ platforms; Look at online platforms where people with similar interests come together to comment, share and inform each other? These are rich hunting grounds for your first client. Let’s assume you’re a professional photographer looking to get your first client. Go to Facebook pages and groups for instance, where people share photos and ideas about weddings. You could also join groups selling wedding gowns or those that offer wedding catering. Be bold enough to introduce the services you offer, and of course, leave your contact information. You’ll never miss a few interested people making enquiries and as such, you can convert them into actual clients. Basically, make your presence known, leave a trail by identifying forums related to your services and reach out to potential clients.
- From competitors; competitors are called that for a reason, because you are competing for the same clients. There’s no harm in visiting your competitor’s pages and identifying clients whom they’ve worked with. Try to make business proposals. As long as you do it ethically, there’s no crime in seeking to win clients from a competitor.
- Referrals; getting your first client is probably the hardest task. If you prove your worth by offering professional and satisfactory services, then the chance of that client referring you to others is very high. You submit a project to a client and he pays £ 100, and later commends you for a job well done? That’s a good sign; you can easily get the client to refer you to more clients. But if you send a shoddy submission, the client may not have kind words about your services and they certainly won’t refer you to other potential clients. A quick tip though; anytime a new client is referred to you, always try and charge them slightly more than the one that referred them. There’s something called brand authority and it allows you to set your own rates depending on the worth of your services/brand; you could charge £130, £150 for the same project for which you charged £100 to the previous client that recommended you.
- Craigslist; craigslist is synonymous with all sorts of perverts, from the promiscuous bloke that posts images of his manhood, to the professional hooker seeking high end clients. But that’s just one corner, Craigslist has other categories where services are offered and sought. There is a category for almost every field, from Web Design, IT, Writing & Editing, Software Engineering, Video Production, etc., the list is endless. Post an ad mentioning the services you offer and you’re likely to get an interested client.
- Friends; don’t keep quite once you’ve started your business. Design business cards, share them with friends. Attend events and seminars related to your business, pass out your business card to contacts you meet. Tell them in case they need your services or know of someone that does, they are most welcome to get in touch.
- Emails to potential clients; assuming you’re a web designer and are seeking to get hold of your first client. Think of visiting the site of a potential client, this could be a company or business you know. Visit their website; take note of weaknesses or areas that can be improved. If you’re a writer, visit the Home Pages, About Us pages and scout for mistakes or careless blunders. Then draft a very balanced email to the client. Make them know that you are familiar with their brand and that you have taken time to acquaint yourself with what the company is all about. Then point out genuine areas you have noticed which can be or need to be rectified. For instance, note that their website has too much text and that in this era of Smartphones and hand-held devices, there’s something called a mobile-friendly website. Tell them that you can help design such a site so that a visitor using their hand-held device can enjoy their experience visiting the site and navigating through it. Once a client realizes that you have taken time to study their brand and can help them grow or perform better, then he or she will want to see how you can work together.
- Special Websites; there are some special websites that connect employers and employees. Clients seeking services are connected with those offering such services. For instance, in freelance writing, sites like Upwork, Freelancer and Textbroker are extremely effective in helping writers meet employers. There are top academic writing websites where you can register, sign up and be part of a community that includes dozens of high level employers. Some of these sites will require you to share a part of your earnings in order to continue being on their platform.
Dos and don’ts of getting your first client;
- Before you make any proposal to a potential client, know your worth. You’ll come across many clients who are not willing to pay you for what you’re worth; others will want to plainly misuse you. So, know your worth, set a standard and try to maintain that.
- In your efforts to find a new client, don’t act desperate. Sometimes a client will even take a month or two before responding to your proposal. Resending the same email over and over again could be an indicator of desperation, not to mention how annoying it can be.
- Even the most successful entrepreneurs didn’t start with the number of clients they have today. Thus, be ready and willing to start small even with a few clients and work your way up the ladder.