Occasionally we get questions from someone just starting out who doesn’t have the resources to hire us, but would like some pointers on how to jump start their business and get some revenue in the door. We decided that that sounded like a great topic for an ongoing blog series to help lots of people who are just starting out at once.
Today’s question is pretty straightforward: “How do I find clients when I am just starting out?”
I actually love this question! You’d think that it would get tiresome after a while, but to me it’s just pure excitement- because it means that people are taking risks and going out on their own! I can never be upset because someone is giving something new a try and wants some advice.
The best way that I can answer this question is with another question- what resources do you have? Do you have money to work with? If not, can you find some time to work with? (I’m sure you can! Without either, i’m afraid that you’re up a creek my friend!)
If you have a little money to devote to advertising, then the hands down best money-for-your-time-value will be to make a short video showing how to solve your clients problems (Remember, you are selling a future- not yourself!), then run a basic Facebook ad campaign targeting your area. Split test various interests such as Facebook groups, job titles, and interest categories to see which ones will resonate with your audience. Offer this free video to them to learn how to do it themselves in exchange for giving you their email address (So you can market to them again later!). At the end of the video have a simple call to action to get those who realize how much work it is to solve their problems to call you for a free consult or other applicable offer. This will work for you day in and day out to generate leads around the clock without putting much work past the first set up.
Now on the other hand, if you don’t have any cash for that kind of marketing just yet, then build yourself a list of every email address and linkedin profile that you can find for potential clients in your area and build yourself a kick-butt portfolio that really shows off your work and approach all of those potential clients directly and show them what you’ve got. If you’ve got a decent social media following you can also use organic marketing methods such as posting about your success stories to help generate some initial interest and momentum among your followers.
Finally, the most time intensive (but free!) option is basic direct outreach combined with a special offer. The gist of it is that you can create a special offer for clients in exchange for a discount and message those people directly. When they respond you fulfill your service at a discount for something like a referral, a testimonial, or a free trial period so there is no risk on them. This allows you to build a client base that you can use for case studies and referrals later on.
These options highlight a few of the most time-tested and proven techniques for generating clients when just starting out in a new business in today’s world. If you are able to put one, two, or all of the strategies into play in your new business I can guarantee that you will be able to drum up some new clients to get you on your feet.