Starting your own business isn’t difficult. Shocked? The truth is that starting an LLC. is as easy as filling out some documents online and paying a state fee. Follow the basic steps outlined for your region and within a few months, you can be ‘your name here LLC.’ and enjoy the tax benefits that come with it. In fact, the hardest part of starting a business is often figuring out how to get more clients.
While going independent does mean losing access to cheaper health insurance and many of the other benefits that can come with a full-time job, the freedom, and excitement of starting something from scratch can more than makeup for it. Still interested? I’ve been in business for over three years now and the highs and lows of working for Nomadic Matt while trying to run my own side business have been full of life lessons I’ll always be grateful for. Below I’ve compiled a list of the seven best tips I could think of for those just getting started and building a client list.
Seven Tips for How to Get More Clients
Ask for referrals
Any marketer will tell you that word of mouth marketing is invaluable. If you want to sound cool you can call this your ‘downstream network’ as in working the people close to you for new business.
If you want to get new business, especially when you’re just starting out, you need to be aggressive. Nobody should be off the table when you’re hunting for your next client, call grandma, your neighbor, and even your favorite convenience store clerk. You never know who you know, knows. Ya know?
It’s less advised by me to accept a referral as a form of compensation, but if you’re just getting off the ground you may consider doing work pro-bono. If a small project turns into a full-time deal or access to a larger pool of wealthy clientele, it may be worth the consideration.
Just remember that clients talk, so defend your reputation at all costs. Performing regularly good work means better referrals, so straighten up soldier!
Ever heard the old saying, “the cobbler’s children wear no shoes”? Welp, me either. At least not until I looked it up to include in this article, but you’ll get the point when you read the next sentence.
In today’s world, ignoring your own needs just because your busy is a quick way too long term failure.
Building a client list is a component of building a brand for yourself. Something to protect and define. Spend money on marketing for yourself, hire experts to do the work you’re not trained in. Does it make any sense for a professional accountant to design their own logo? Spending money on marketing yourself should create a return on investment which justifies the expenditure.
Partner with communities
Subcultures are growing and the idea of community has never been stronger with the internet in play. Finding local, international and online communities that take an interest, or need, in your work is a key to finding new and repeat clientele regularly.
A key to success in marketing is defining consumer personas. If you can do this and find the communities these personas are apart of you’ll save yourself the time of trying to regularly identify new customers. Partnering with these communities by sharing and exemplifying their values will keep them loyal to you, ensure long-term growth and success.
Try sponsorships, put on events and embrace causes. Getting involved in the community helps make a difference and helps to guarantee your presence is known.
Start a newsletter
Sharing news of your business exploits, knowledge and hard work can help you maintain business and attract new clients. Starting a newsletter can be easily done by utilizing a template and mail service like Mail Chimp.
Try to keep your newsletter concise and focus on a specific topic that provides value relevant to the work you’re marketing. For example, if you’re trying to market your SEO skills, I wouldn’t include a section about the Cheesecake you made for your boyfriend the night before.
It’s good to get personal and it’s important to forge connections when trying to build a client list, but anything you use to market yourself online needs to be straightforward and offer value.
For my newsletter templates, I use Stripo.email. The yearly plan has helped me create newsletters for tons of my clients. It’s flexible and very easy to get the hang of.
Join freelance sites and job boards
If you haven’t created a profile on Toptal, UpWork, Creative Circle or any of the other freelance job websites, I’d highly recommend you consider it. Although you’re technically going through a 3rd party and these wouldn’t be your clients, these are good ways to find freelance work and meet business owners.
An introduction can go a long way, take every great work opportunity that comes up and soon enough you’ll have a strong lead pool and list of clients to make you never regret you took the risk and started your own LLC.
Conferences are admittedly expensive, but they can be very helpful for meeting clients and discovering partnership opportunities.
Running Remote is a popular remote work conference for digital nomads and it often features an array of small business leaders that are pioneering entirely distributed teams.
Web Summit is the leading technology conference that brings together freelancers, entrepreneurs, CEOs and thought leaders to examine the future of tech and web.
DNX Festival hosts digital nomads, entrepreneurs and more, with a focus on those who try to lead a more holistic lifestyle.
BlogHer has been inspiring and empowers female entrepreneurs and content creators since 2005.
7in7 is a conference created specifically for digital nomads. This conference requires that you’ve been working remote for at least one year in order to attend.
IRCE is an enormous internet retail conference and expo where e-commerce giants and newcomers co-mingle and share the secrets to selling online.
Travelcon is the ultimate conference for travel bloggers, videographers, media, marketers, and people who love to explore the world.
VidCon is an annual video-focused conference in southern California. If you’re looking to learn more about and mingle with the cutting edge video crowd, this is your conference.
There are dozens of possible conferences and expos you can attend. Just don’t be swayed or overcome by the offerings. These are expensive and you should plan how you approach each one carefully. Don’t be afraid to skip tracks and spend time exploring the floor, looking for potential new business.
Attend plenty of after party’s and make sure you take every chance to socialize. While finding the golden nuggets of information from each speaker can seem the most valuable, the price of admission is really only worth the new business discovered at these events.
While not my favorite way of getting new clients, sometimes offering a commission in return a lead can turn a profit. From my experience, the only time paying for a lead really works out is from investing in yourself. Whether it’s marketing, brand building or a new pair of really comfortable socks, investing in myself is what helps me get more leads. Purchasing client opportunities outright has worked for some, but I’d consider it a last resort.
. Once you have one though, the chances of attracting more become exponential, especially if you use these tips! I wish you all the best of luck in building out your client list! Feel free to reach out to me, too – often times I have friends looking for part-time remote workers!