The first few phases of building your own business can be quite a challenge. Many times you don’t know where to start as far as online information, conferences, weird articles and endless SEO lectures. While many of these avenues are effective, it is so important to know when and how to loop back to the old-fashioned way of doing things – getting to know people and make strong connections. And you don’t have too go far to make those connections happen.
Leave a good mark…
Until recently, I often turned my nose up at the thought of making my way around the local neighborhood for some freelance business. My previous attempts had failed, since the businesses I had visited at that point had owners who were near retirement or already had someone doing freelance work for them. Then one day I made a stop on the way home to pick up some stuff for the house when I froze at something so ideal for New3Creation – a sign advertising the visit of a local business woman who would be promoting her home made hair products. I was thrilled and immediately saw it as a promising network opportunity. I asked the store manager for more info and he told me everything else I needed to know about the business, when they visit and what they promote. Not only am I landing her as my client, but I received two other requests for my services before the week was out!
A few things to note here; if you’re a regular reader of my posts, you’ll know that getting clients did NOT happen overnight. Some things needed to be done in order to make them happen, such as keeping a blog, letting potential clients know about my work, having a genuine interest in their business and get to know them on a friendly level. I had to be courteous and considerate when I interacted with them. I didn’t just go to the chase and tell them to hire me as their writer. For some it took some time to till that soil and finally get them to hire me. Trust and believe, a relationship of sorts had to built in order for it to happen. Another thing is I have yet to land a client via social media. I know that day is coming, but in the meantime I have to acknowledge the power of going back to the basics; all of the clients I currently have are by word of mouth. Someone knew somebody and told somebody else…it’s all working out and taking a turn for the better.
Keep it simple and keep it real
People aren’t dumb, they know a gimmick when they see one. So if you think the best way is to get in people’s space and give them 101 reasons why they should hire you, I strongly advise you to think again. People skills matter. You have to know how to talk to people and promote yourself at the same time. It doesn’t take a lot; you have to be in a place of healthy confidence to do it. Because I’ve been blogging for almost a year now, I’ve learned a lot and said a lot too. Blogging has given me a good level of confidence to communicate and get my point across effectively. Being around others with the same mindset helped play a part as well. I’m saying all of this because it helped build my pitch for potential clients. Nothing to complicated, I introduce myself, tell them my business and if it’s something they would be interested in. I also take the time to find out more about them and their business. That way, if they’re not ready to commit just yet, I can have effective follow-ups with them. But I plan on expanding on that and providing in-depth tips in a future post.
Remember, you’ll be surprised at what you find in your own neighborhood. There are local businesses who need your services, it’s just matter of the two worlds meeting! Scoot away from the laptop for a minute and get out into the community. Find out what’s going on, who makes local products and what type of promotional methods they use. If your prices are too high for them, find out what you can do for them within their budget. It takes good communication to build your clientele. Just don’t forget the basics!
How do you approach your potential clients?