In this video, I’m going to walk you through three solid methods of finding new clients. First, make a list of friends and family members with a small business that could use a little help online. Think about the people you know, who love CONNECTING people: the go-getters, the networkers, and the business-savvy, entrepreneurial types. You know the friend who loves saying “You know who you should talk to?!” Add that person to your list.
Next, place a few calls and send some personal emails announcing your new role as a website creator. Ask to pass your name along to OTHER small business owners who would use a new website or other online help. If you’re totally new to the game, with absolutely no work experience, tapping into your friends and family is a great place to start searching for new business. This will allow you to get your feet wet and start building your portfolio of client work.
This will also serve as good prep for later, when you for pitch larger clients in the future. There are some drawbacks to this approach, of course. You may be expected to give away work for free. You might feel uncomfortable putting a contract in place. It’s also tough to maintain a professional working relationship with someone you know on a personal level. Sticking to deadlines, respecting each other’s opinions and following up a phone call with an email is not easy or when working with a family member or your college roommate.
It’s up to you to decide whether you can launch a professional working relationship with your Uncle Marvin... whose sustainable clothing company could use a new website. Or your mom’s hippie friend Deborah...who runs her own coffee shop...but doesn’t know how to use the internet. If you can find ONE TO THREE POTENTIAL CLIENTS from your friends and family, you’re off to a great start! Another terrific place to find your first few projects and clients is the internet! There are tons of job listing sites offering opportunities to get hired for web-based work. Whether your specialty is web design, photography, copywriting, social media or some form of combination, it’s possible to find work on a project-basis. On the screen now you can see some popular examples of websites that offer job listings: Check out these and others, see what’s posted and create a profile for yourself on one or more of these networks.
Third, there’s another technique for getting new clients I want to show you. This one can be stronger than the other two combined. I’m talking about actually getting up and TAKING YOUR SEARCH TO THE STREETS! Unless you live in the middle of nowhere, odds are there are small, local businesses operating not far from where you’re sitting right this moment – who don’t have the time or the energy to create their own websites or maintain their online presence. Think of yourself as the neighborhood website fairy. Or something more masculine…like a website wizard! You just ride around the ‘hood with your magical wand (a.k.a. Wix), offering local businesses beautifully-designed websites!
Here are some tips to keep in mind before flying off on your quest to gather clients: First - check if there’s an Owner in The House - Places where the owner is actually operating the business usually make for better clients. You don’t need to speak to this person just yet, but it’s good if you can tell if they’re around. Second - Choose David Over Goliath - Small, local businesses are better to approach than larger, more established companies. Think of your local bakery, flower shop, clothing store, barber, etc. versus a bank or a fast food joint. A chain store will never make a good first client. They probably already have a website anyway.
A third basic tip before you hit the pavement - Don’t Forget about Service Providers! Plumbers, electricians and housekeepers may not have physical storefronts or offices. Ask neighbors who they use, or scan the business section of your local newspaper…or wasn’t there something called the “Yellow Pages?” If you can find one - use it! Hitting the Pavement is a very powerful method of finding clients, when done in a strategic way. In the NEXT video, I'll show you how it’s done. But first, let’s wrap up THIS video, where we introduced 3 basic methods or places to find clients.
Feel free to try them all, and see what works best! I recommend starting with Friends & Family, then Hitting the Pavement...but it’s really up to YOU and how COMMITTED you are to Finding Clients. Once you’ve got a list of some potential clients (who you may or may not have actually SPOKEN to yet), the NEXT step is to do some background research.