How To Get Your First Three Clients As a Freelancer
So you started a business…yay! Now you need clients and you’re thinking where are these clients going to come from? Doing the work to get your first three clients as a freelancer will take some hustle as you get things off the ground.
Because without clients there IS no business.
Today we’re talking about how to get your first three clients (or use these tips to help you get more clients no matter what stage you’re at):
#1. Let People Know You’re In Business
This one probably seems pretty obvious, but you’d be surprised by how many small business bosses miss this opportunity.
People can’t hire you if they don’t know what you’re doing, and for some reason, we can feel shy or awkward about sharing this with our professional network or people we know on a personal level.
Why? We can get all caught up in worrying about what happens if we fail and how we don’t want to embarrass ourselves. Which is pretty defeatist when you think about it, because here we are worrying about things falling apart before we’ve even started!
Fact is, it’s really hard to get clients when no one knows what you do. (Trust me, I’ve tried this one, it doesn’t work!)
You can get started by sharing what you’re doing, why you’re doing it and what your business plans are. The key is to be genuine and excited without being pushy or trying to sell anything.
People who already know, like and trust you can be some of the best assets to your business and you need to leverage that as you get things going.
Share your big news about your business, let them know you’re looking for clients, and get ready for some potential new business to come your way. You may want to send an email, share on social media or meet people for coffee. The key is that you let people know and don’t avoid talking about your business.
#2. Ask for Referrals
When it comes to referrals, we tend to wait for people to ask US if we’re looking for clients. Now, there’s nothing wrong with letting people come to us, but as a new business you can’t just sit back and wait for things to happen.
Yes, it may feel awkward to get out there and start asking for referrals. But if you want to run a business and be successful, you’re going to have to embrace feeling uncomfortable.
As far as how you do the asking, reach out to your professional network. Look for people you’ve collaborated with on projects, past clients you’ve done work for or past employers. Anyone who knows other people who could potentially hire you.
Let them know what you’re doing with your business, and ask them to make some introduction if the opportunity arises.
You’ll probably be shocked at how many people are willing to help you promote your new business, and most people love being able to say “Oh hey, I know someone who does that. Let me put you in touch with them.”.
#3. Get Out From Behind Your Desk
If you’re at home, working away on your laptop, it’s time to get out of the house. How are you going to make sure people know you’re open for business if they never see you?
Nothing good is happening in your business from you staying home, hiding behind your laptop and talking to your cat all day long.
This is why networking matters. I know lots of people have a real fear of networking, because they’re introverted, or feel uncomfortable.
I get it. I really do as a fellow introvert.
Getting out of the house and talking to real, live people is the always going to be the best way to promote your business. Waiting for people to just find you on the internet isn’t enough. (I mean it works, but it’s going to take a while, and you want those clients in the door now.)
Start by looking for industry events or local events and find out where the people who would hire you hang out. Then go there. Make a commitment to attending these events and talking to people while you’re there.
This may be a conference or a local business chamber of commerce meeting, it doesn’t really matter. The point is to not rule things out before you’ve even given them a shot. Go and see what might happen.
Even after 13 years in business, I still find myself pleasantly surprised at the things that can happen with my business just by leaving my house and talking to people.
Finding your first few clients is going to take a bit of hustle but it’s actually easier than most people think.
In fact, as bosses, we sometimes just make things harder than they have to be and want to do things that actually are going to take more time and effort in the long run.
Take one of the suggestions above and run with it!