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Ep. 8: How to Land your First Client (and keep them rolling in)

Ep. 8: How to Land your First Client (and keep them rolling in)

So, you want to escape your 9-5 and join the future of work. It’s not for the faint at heart, but you’ve done your research. You already know about the late nights, early mornings, rejections and loneliness. All of the things that build character along the way to success.
 
Now that you have your plan, it’s time to take action. You have to get the money rolling in to get the shackles off your feet. 
 
The bills won’t stop rolling in while you’re dreaming. Wake up and do the work!
 
So here’s what you need to do to land your first client and keep them coming.
  • Pro Bono Work
  • Help family and friends
  • Toot your own horn (on social media)
  • Get referrals from clients
  • Better yet, get testimonials

Podcast

Transcription

Welcome back to Dreamer’s Den for another episode. I’m Danielle Towner, and today we’re doing something a little different. We’re stepping away from the interview space for a minute just for me to give you a few tips and just to have a heart to heart with my listeners. So, today we’re going to talk about how to land your first client and to keep them coming in if you’ve already gotten past the point of getting your first client.

But ideally, how things should go is — remember that planning phase that we discussed back in episode four where we discussed with Tiffany on how she left her 9-5 and decided to go full throttle into her own business? Well, ideally you use that planned faith method — that planned leap of faith where you kind of have everything mapped out and you know the direction you’re gonna go. But sometimes, whether it’s just because you just couldn’t deal with the employment space that you were in or just for some reason you may get in a situation where you don’t have the opportunity to use that planned faith method. And it’s just you have that urgency to where you’re already in your business, but you’re planning or you’re in a situation where you’re planning, but you haven’t gotten to the point to where your business is rolling in.

But in either circumstance, you need clients. You need money coming in. You need things to go as planned because the bills are not gonna stop just because you have a dream and just because you’re working on your business. You don’t get rewarded for working on your business, unfortunately. So you need clients rolling in. You need it to attract investors and you need it for other people to see “hey, she’s working and she’s doing her thing so I want to jump on board and see what she’s got going on and how she can help me.”

So, what you need to do — I have a few tips or a few things I want to share with you how to get your first client and how to keep those clients rolling in. I’m gonna tell you a little story first.

How to Land your First Client (and keep them rolling in)

So, this is how I actually got into the business that I’m in as a digital creative as a digital marketer and consultant. This is how I got into the space and how I landed my first client. As I was discussing with someone who I collaborate with, an acquaintance of mine. As I was discussing with them, it was kind of on purpose on accident. I was already in the creative space as a travel blogger and I was learning all these new skills and having all these new experiences. Some of it was trial and error and some of it was me intentionally learning something new every day. And from that, I built this collective or skills, and so I had a friend of mine.

 

When she got ready to start her business, she reached out to me and she said, “hey, I see what you’re doing. I love your web work. You’ve got skills. I love what you do with it. Can you help me out?” And she was on a shoestring budget with her business, quite honestly, and she needed help. So, me being her friend, I was willing to do it, but at that point I didn’t want to put it out there that it’s what I do and I wasn’t really trying to take it on as a business. And so I was like, yeah I’ll help you, but don’t tell anybody. And by the time I got done, she loved her website and everyone was in love with her website and people would ask her about it. And she was tempted to tell them, but she said “oh well, she doesn’t want me to tell anyone”. And that’s how that went, and so she kept telling me. “People love the website and they ask about it all the time and I don’t know what to tell them because you said don’t tell anybody. But that kept happening over and over. And finally, I ended up helping someone else out with their website and same scenario, but this person did not keep it to himself and so I started getting inquiries and people rolling in. And finally I just surrendered to something that I was good at, I was passionate about and I was blessed to have an eye for. I surrendered to that calling. And I said, you know what, go ahead and tell them. And it became my business, and now I’m passionate about it. I continue to learn something new every day. I continue to learn more and more about it, and I continue to build my business. So, we’ll touch back on this story in a moment, but let’s just get right to it with some things that I have learned and I have observed that you can do to get that first client and keep them rolling in.

Pro bono work

So, first of all, similar to what I just did, you can start off doing pro bono work. And I know you’re like, well that’s not gonna help me make any money, but actually, it is. If you’re in a position where you’re still on your job, part or full time, just take whatever time you have designated every day to work on your business —  whether it’s two hours, whether it’s four hours, whether it’s from the time you get home until it’s time to go to your day job. Take that time and take on a project.

In my case, my bread and butter is the web design for the most part, but also blogging and things like that. So, in my case, I would find someone who, online you see that they’re putting forth the effort, you see the potential in them, but you see that maybe their website could use some work or they need a website. They don’t have a web presence. They may only have a Facebook page or some social media page. Or you see that they need blogging, you see that their social media is not on a regular schedule and they can use some help pushing that information out there. So, you can reach out to them. Approach them and say, ‘Hey, this is what I do. This is what I can do for you. This is where I see that you can use some help. I can do this for you — well, the cost of this won’t be money, but what I need you to do is put my business out there to share this on social media, share it with others, give me a testimonial. So, it would be, in a sense, in-kind trade, a barter or donation.

So yeah, you can just tell them that and work on their website and add that to your portfolio, and also get that testimonial from them. Get them to push it out there, and if you do great work for them and if you motivate them. If you’re genuine about what you’re doing, then they should have no problem with that. But, from there, that will be your jump start for people to see “okay, they’re doing this and they’re good at it. Let me stay tuned or I want to work with them to”. But from there, do it enough to get your name out there but after a while, you need the money to come rolling in so set your prices.

Continue to review and look at the work you’re putting into it and the value you’re giving and then, continue to raise the bar on those prices until it aligns. Until you’re satisfied that you’re getting what you’re worth and you’re also continuing to over deliver to your client.

Get help from family and friends

So, and get help from your family and friends. Same thing, you can start off helping them for a low cost. Most family and friends who understand the business will understand if you do have to charge. And if they don’t, then that’s not the family and friend that you need to work with. But get help from them. A lot of them, or those who genuinely want to see you win, they’re willing to help you even if it’s just sharing things on social media and putting your name out there.

Some people, and I’ve even been in that situation to where I’ve said family is the worst person to try to do business with. And in some cases that may be true, but those who are genuinely happy for you, even if it’s just one. Even if it’s just that one person, ask them to share it on their social media and ask them if they know anybody who needs your services. And they’ll continue forwarding people to you. I’ve been in both of these situation. I started off giving free or low cost work. I’ve had my family and friends share and write and comment on things on social media, and I’ve had them send me referrals or people reach out to them saying “Hey, does your sister do this or can she help me with this?” And then, they refer that business back to me.

Toot your own horn (on social media)

And another thing that you want to do is toot your own horn. Don’t be ashamed to toot your own horn. Basically meaning don’t be ashamed to promote yourself on those outlets, online and offline. Mainly on social media because that’s where it’s at these days, but also offline too. If someone asks you what you do or if it just seems like the right opportunity to bring up what you do, don’t be ashamed to talk about yourself and what you can do, and what you are doing and what you have done.

You can put on social media — that’s an opportunity to give a spotlight to your clients and yourself from your portfolio. From a link to your blog, letting people know or see your writing skills, a photo of a design you’ve done. If you’re not even in the design space, you could be a baker, you could own a dessert business. Whatever it is that you do, put those photos out there.

If you’re a power washer or auto detailer, put those before and after pictures out there showing that you do great work because seeing is believing. For a lot people seeing is believing. They want to see that you’re consistent, they want to see that you’re working and doing the business, and they want to see the results of what you’ve done.

So, don’t be afraid to give yourself credit for it because that’s gonna bring you more business. And it’s gonna land you more clients because they want what this other person is getting. They want the best and if you feel you are the best, then show that you’re the best.

Get referrals from clients

And next, you should definitely get referrals from your clients. That form of prospecting or gaining clients is not dead, and it’s still one of the best. Sometimes I’ve had clients who just tell me, “You need to talk to this person. You need to talk to this friend of mine who has a business, and they need the same services that I’ve gotten.” And sometimes I’ll ask them, “Do you know of anybody else or do you have anybody else in your networking circle who could benefit from what I’m doing? Who are they?” Go the next step. “Who are they? What is their phone number? Can I tell them that you told me to give them a call?”

Or give them cards. I personally just go the more aggressive route simply because being passive and just handing out a stack of cards, they might put them somewhere and just not even remember them but just going ahead and taking that next step and getting the contact information if you can, that can work a lot more wonders.

And connecting with that person on social media so that you’re constantly in their feed if you’re consistent. You’re constantly in their feed and on their mind about what you’re doing.

Better yet, get testimonials

And better yet, instead of just getting referrals, get testimonials — like I said before — get testimonials because those are the new form of referrals or that’s just as good as word-of-mouth in many cases. Because their friends, your prospects, everyone is going to see that testimonial.

And whether they were satisfied or whether they were not, if it’s something like a testimonial on your site or even if it’s something like a Facebook review, they’re gonna be honest about what you did, how you did it and if they’re satisfied.

So, those are a few of the things that have helped me to consistently — it helped me to land my first client and it helped me to consistently have clients rolling in. And I’m certain that they’ll help you too.

And if you have any other advice or anything that’s worked for you to get your first client, press that voicemail button and let me know how it has worked for you. And if you’re still working on getting your first client, your next client, or a consistent flow, then you need to ask some questions. And less the voicemail button and ask some questions and we can discuss that.

Stay connected for more podcasts and tips

But let me know what you think. If you tried this. If you have tried it, let me know how it works out for you. And to get tips and podcasts and insight from my guests on a consistent basis, like our Facebook page because I put  updates there. Go on the website, sign up for our newsletter. Connect with me on Instagram and you’ll get these updates regularly and you’ll know when the next podcast is and when my next blog comes out.

So, it’s been great chatting with you guys and telling you about my experiences, and I hope your found this valuable.

And come back next week for another episode where I’ll be interviewing more dreamers and doers. And as I always say, “dream until your dreams come true.”Danielle Towner | Entrepreneur + Digital Creative Resources

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Danielle

Danielle is a creative and digital marketer at Towner Enterprise, LLC. She has a passion for helping startup entrepreneurs and small businesses make their dreams come true. Her blog features business and lifestyle growth tips and “Dreamer’s Den Podcast: For Creative Entrepreneurs, Dreamers and Doers”. During Danielle’s sporadic moments of free time, she enjoys travel, movies, books and the endless joy of her little one.