How Do I Get My First Clients?

You're ready to launch your new business. You have a shiny new website with great content and copy and you've started a blog so people can find you when they Google your products and services and.... Crickets.

So how do you get clients for your brand new business?

Start with people you know and people who you've worked with in the past. Even if you offer them help and advice at a discounted rate, or even for free. Doing free and discounted work for a complete stranger just for 'exposure' may or may not help you land that first client, but doing the same work for people within your current network is more likely to lead to paid referrals and more business. The people in your network already know and trust you. If you can also help them create a new logo or website or use their accounting software, they'll be even more willing to recommend you and your services to others. Use those opportunities to hone your craft. When the work is finished, ask if they have friends or colleagues who might also benefit from your services. While you're at it, ask how your process worked for them? Can you make improvements now that will help you with efficiency and professionalism once you have more paying clients. Send your traditional exit survey to these customers so that you can refine and develop your processes from the first clients you serve.

Second, take the time to build up your network. Most networking groups offer flexible attendance and regular meetings. Attend local events in your community if possible. You'll meet great people and create relationships that may be mutually beneficial. If local networking isn't an option in your location or community, you can always attend online networking events. One of my favorite online networking groups is Network LIVE Virtually. For any networking group, put in the effort to attend meetings on a regular basis. It doesn't have to be every week, but at least once a month. If you show up regularly, people will remember you and you can build rapport over time. The people that you meet this week may provide business in six or eight months.

Finally, be consistent with your blog posts, website updates, email newsletters, social media, and webinars. Over time, these small things add up to a lot of credibility and brand recognition. Your audience needs to see you an average of seven times before they made a purchase. That could be any combination of emails, webinars, Facebook posts, or whatever medium you prefer for your business. Once your audience trusts you, they'll be willing to make a small purchase and potentially a larger purchase from you.

Build up your audience as you connect with people to expand your network and hone your skills with smaller projects.