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Simply deciding to start your own online business is a hugeeee step. There’s so many things to set up and consider and at one point of another you are going to pause and freak out wandering, “Okay but wait, how the H*#$ do I get clients? Ya know, real people to pay little ole me?” Well, whether you’ve never had a client before or already have a business and are just looking for some new creative ways and places to find clients, this post will give you some great ideas and strategies for reaching and attracting clients!
This seems obviously and simple but the majority of people that come to me looking for ways to find clients online fall into one or many of the following categories:
A) they haven’t even tried to yet because they are scared
B) they have mentioned a few things about their product/service but are not shouting it confidently to the world
C) they are not be consistent with their marketing efforts
You have to show up. Plain and simple. In a world where we have constant noise and distractions fighting for our attention you have to show up multiple places for your audience to easily find you. You not only have to establish a presence but you have to be present, every day. Treat your business no matter how big or small like a business and make showing up part of your daily routine.
In todays digital world you need a store front, a home base if you will. While Instagram and Facebook pages for your business are great tools as well, you don’t own them. You are confined by the platforms and they are full of tons of other people and businesses just like you. You need a place online that is truly yours to drive people to. You need a website. Even if you are a new entrepreneur and can’t invest in a fancy custom website, there are tons of cheap options out there that require little to no technical skills to set up.
I spent hours upon hours pitching myself in Facebook groups for #jobopportunities but would lose every time when there were 60+ comments of people interested and I simply stated, “I’d love to help you out. DM me for more information,” verses the people who could leave a link to there website with ALL their information, packages and a shiny face to put a name to. You have to make it EASY for people to hire you, especially when there is competition.
After I launched my businesses website I was booked out within 4 days and have been booked ever since!
Check out our UP Website Template Shop for easy, drag and drop gorgeous and professional website templates for crazy cheap (like literally insane!)
Facebook groups are an amazing networking and business tool. In fact, I have gotten 100% of my clients from Facebook group. Literally 100%! (This post was written as of May 2019). Facebook groups are a great way to collaborate, bond and network with likeminded people about a certain topic. For example, if you are a virtual assistant who travels you could join a digital nomad group, a virtual assistant group, a girls who love to travel group etc. You can ask questions about your business, do market research and of course… find clients. Many groups allow people to post both about their business/services or job opportunities they are looking to hire for. You can then pitch yourself for certain jobs.
Not sure what groups to join? Download our FREE list of the best Facebook groups for entrepreneurs.
This method is the oldest marketing method in the books and yet it is one that people neglect doing. Don’t make things harder on yourself than they need to be. Use your network – even a network of friends and family – to ask for referrals from people they know who might be able to benefit from your product or services.
Even better if you have current or past clients that you can ask. When other people refer clients to you they already come to table with a high level of trust in you because of your mutual middle man. This makes your job selling them on your services even easier.
Another method that often gets overlooked when trying to find new clients is simply following up with “almost clients.” We put so much focus on finding new, cold leads that we forget to nurture the leads we have. Having a system in place that is seamless and easy to take people from leads to clients is imperative. You’ve done the hard work getting them into your funnel, now nurture them leaving no question in their mind that you are 100% what they need and sign that client!
Woah! Did I just say cold email? Are we in the 70’s? No, calm down. This is actually a really effective outreach method when done properly. And if you want to take this to the modern days, we are also talking about cold emails and cold DMs. Successfully cold outreach requires 3 things: research, personalization, and relevance. You need to do your homework and show that you know who the person/business is and what they do. You cannot copy and paste messages. People will see right through you. If you are asking for someone elses time or money, you need to show them that they were important enough for your time and energy to personalize a message to them. And lastly is you have to make sure what you are reaching out about is relevant both to the person/business and timing wise. Don’t go pitching to do Pinterest management for Martha Stewart Weddings who runs a super success Pinterest already. Don’t go pitching to a new blogger to run expensive Facebook ads for them. Be smart and tactful about your pitches and choices.
If you are struggling to find new clients you might need to expand your reach. It can hard to juggle your own online presence on EVERY platform which is why a great way to get your business and message out to other platforms and thus new audiences is through guest appearances. This is be via blogs, Youtube videos, podcasts, webinars, guest coach in someone else’s course… the possibilities are endless! Even if you are a small business and new the game, you still have valuable experience, knowledge and angles to share with others. That’s why people are hiring you!
One of my favorite ways to get new leads and this new clients is through freebies. By now you have probably come across and downloaded one or two freebies while reading blogs (okay, be honest we all download a gazillion freebies every day!!! *hand up emoji*). These serve two purposes: they establish credibility about a topic, provide value to your audience, and get people into your funnels. If the word “funnels” scares you, don’t worry. At the very least set up a free email list on Mailchimp and just let the emails pile up in there. You can always do something with them later.
I preach about Pinterest all the time because it is seriously my favorite secret weapon for businesses. Pinterest is a great place to promote those freebies you just created or blog posts or offers/products. It is sooo easy to grow your reach ORGANICALLY even with only a few good pins that link back to your offers by using Tailwind. Pinterest and Tailwind allow you to work smarter, not harder, by scheduling your content to reach new audiences consistently and drive both traffic and sales. Many bloggers and entrepreneurs make hundreds of dollars a month in passive income once they set up a clear funnel through Pinterest.
But if that sounds too intimidating then just think about it simply: your blogs, products and content can reach thousands and thousands of people every day with Pinterest which in turn can grow your audience and bring potential new clients or customers.
Video content is the number one medium for businesses of 2019. Live streams are one of the best ways to use this medium and engage your audience or drive new traffic. Live streams are beneficial because they are raw/not perfectly curated like the rest of our social media and are a sure fire way to provide value. They are also beneficial because the attendees can often interact with you by commenting, reacting or asking live questions. It’s a great way to SHOW UP and build raw rapport with people. The key is that you have to provide value to your audience before they become your clients and customers.
No, blogging is not dead. There are thousands of blogs on the interweb these days but I promise there is still room for you. Blogging for business is also treated a bit differently than blogging as a blogger who solely drives traffic to their blog for ad and affiliate income. Blogging for a business is more about providing value to your audience and using it as a tool to drive people to your website and eventually bring them to your other services or products. If the idea of blogging seems overwhelming to you, I recommend not even worrying about SEO or anything else at first and simply just writing a long form piece of writing that will provide value to your audience and putting it up. You can promote it on social media or in other ways, but the main difference is that the primary goal is not just to drive as much traffic as possible to the blog (although that’s never a bad thing), the goal is to establish yourself as an authority and help people with a problem/topic related to the products/services you offer.
You can start a blog super easily with Showit and WordPress! All of our beautiful website templates already come with blog templates set up and designed for you. All you have to do is go into WordPress and write your heart out!
Whether in person or virtually, you need to be expanding your network with people doing what you are doing. Don’t go into “networking” saying that you have to force yourself to network in order to get a client. People are intuitive and that will seem forced. You can network by simply making friends on Instagram or collaborating with someone on their Podcast. People connect with people, and as an entrepreneur YOU are at the heart of your business so go out and be human, not a salesman. One way I have done this is by teaming up with someone on Facebook groups who offers complimentary skills and then refer clients to each other (this has to be a GIVE and take though, you cannot do this if you have nothing to give yet).
It’s okay. You are not doing anything wrong, this is simply a part of market research. I am not suggesting to copy your competitors, but go see who follows them on social media, what do people react to most, what types of engagement tactics and offers do your competitors put out. Use pools of followers and audience members in competitors arenas to build your own audience.
Lastly, freelance job boards are a great place to get started finding clients. You will have to check these regularly and do a bit of digging but they are no doubt a place that many entrepreneurs and freelancers rely on for finding clients. Here are a few of our favorites:
We are a couple that travels the world full time while running our own online businesses. We want to be your one stop shop for a location independent lifestyle full of travel inspiration and useful tools and knowledge to grow your own online business.