Clients are the lifeblood of any business or service. Without them, it is impossible to survive and as a business owner, you are not alone in the eternal quest for clients and business. It is a challenge for everyone yes, but certainly far from impossible. If you’re exiting the corporate world, the transition is challenging, as it was and is for most of us. Nothing gets done unless you do it and you don’t get paid unless you find clients to pay you.
Fortunately, there are a lot of tools available today for self-promotion that never existed before. You no longer have to run up and down the street with a sandwich board, or canvas door to door. But you do have to do a little work to get the business you want and need.
First Things First
The first thing you need to do is get your website up and running. That is the first move any potential client will make after you convince them to take a look at you. And as you know, on your site you can position and brand yourself exactly as you wish to be perceived. You can look more like an orchestra than a one-man brand. That’s its beauty of the online world.
Social Media can be a great tool to get noticed, liked and booked. Deliver posts that put you, your services and your skills in the best possible light. Stay away from touchy subjects, political opinions and controversy. On SM, content is king. The more posts the better. The more valuable and interest the better, the more attention-getting the more people you will have participating. Best of all, it is all free and has the potential to gain audience or maybe even go viral. But beware of those promising to get that for you. No one quite knows what makes something catch fire but with consistency and good content those on your list will send it to those on their list and that’s the kind of geometry you want. Clients want to know about you before they hire you.
Everyone has an opinion, something to say and something to share. Blogs actually carry more weight than social media. That’s the place to display your expertise. Choose subjects you believe people will care about. Cover things that are timely, newsy and informative. “If you want my time make it worth my time,” is the new consumer attitude. My early entry into blogging covered the green world. I was an environmental marketer and my Blog and Podcast, America The Green, attracted a large following, got me speaking gigs around the world and brought green clients to my door. Establish your niche, and talk about it as much as you can, this will help you establish your expertise as well.
Are you YouTubeing?
YouTube can create an even better impression. It can get you seen and heard everywhere. Plus, it ranks even higher up on the credibility scale. The printed word has weight but an on-screen presence can build your star power and authority. Once again, your success in the area will depend on what you have to show, say and offer. People turn to YouTube for everything now. From how to fix your washing machine to how to train your Lab. But the click window is very short. Maybe 8 seconds so what you need is to have some eye-catching appeal in those first few seconds.
Contact Your Contacts
Spread the word, Tell everyone. Ask them to help. Former business associates, friends and family, whomever. Everyone knows someone and their someones can be ripe fruit for you.
Link In to LinkedIn
It’s where business people and job-seekers go. Currently, around 3 million companies around the globe have official LinkedIn Pages. Which means that working professionals, employers, entrepreneurs, have a place to go to find people and services just like you. Amazingly, people in the position to hire you often respond to LinkedIn messages more regularly than phone or email messages. In some way,s it’s like an alumni association. People there feel more inclined to help you.
Show Your Facebook
Once again, put it out there, seek out and and join FB groups that can help you. There is something for everyone there and millions of eyeballs. But you know that.
A great business source, because at a trade shows everyone wants to talk. Exhibitors and attendees are pretty open to conversation because they are never sure of who they’re talking to, so they will really open up to you. And even if you don’t get to talk to exactly the right person, that person will often turn you on to someone that is. “We met at the X show,” is a great opening line for your next communication to them.
To me, there is nothing as effective as networking. Nothing like coming in with a recommendation to the person you are trying to snag. And once again, even if they aren’t exactly the right fit, they may know exactly who is.
I have been a solopreneur, and entrepreneur, a corporate cog, a freelancer and an expensivelancer. I left the big world of Madison Avenue and did it on my own more than once and successfully, and of all the tools I have ever used, networking is the single greatest. So join groups, attend conferences, industry events as often as you can. Remember your selling yourself now 24/7 and it will all be worth it, so do it right.