This is a common question we get asked by people thinking of freelancing or starting their own service based business.
There's always a fear when it comes to getting your first client.
What if you don't yet have a portfolio built up or any previous work to showcase your abilities?
What if no one wants your services?
Don't stress! Apply these 5 techniques and you will be sure to land your first client in no time.
5 Ways to Get Your First Client:
1. Utilize your current network
Just like with corporate jobs, it's all about who you know. Reach out to your current network and let them know about your new business.
One way to do this is by sending an email.
Be careful not to sound desperate. Simply let your network know what you do and ask them to keep you in mind if anything arises. If you have examples of your work, include them in the email.
Another way to do this is by creating a Facebook page for your business and inviting all of your Facebook friends to like it. Even if they don't need your services, you never know when they may be speaking to someone who does. Plus, if they like any of your posts you will then get exposure to their network of friends on Facebook.
Note: It's important to ensure you already have some content on your Facebook page before you do this so spend some time posting interesting content such as articles, blog posts and images before inviting friends to like your page.
2. Show off your abilities
Pick three businesses that you would love to have as your clients. Spend time coming up with ideas and suggestions that would benefit them and email them your advice.
But don't stop there.
If you really want to impress them, show off your abilities and win their business, include examples of what you could do for them. Not just a portfolio but examples specific to their business.
It doesn't matter if you have a portfolio or not. By providing them with a great deal of free advice you will prove your value, they won't even request a portfolio.
Say for example, you're a web designer. You could do a mock up of how you could improve their home page.
If you're a photographer and the business is a hotel chain, take photos of other similar hotels and send them those. Do it for free if you have to.
3. join a FREELANCING platform
Another great place to get your start is on platforms like Upwork or Freelancer. The clientele on these platforms are usually looking to save costs so it's not always the best way to maintain and grow a business but it's definitely a great place to get started building up your portfolio, and confidence.
Quick tip: When applying for jobs on these platforms you are usually competing against a lot of other freelancers. Without previous reviews it can be hard to break through and win clients. A tip we found useful when starting out was to record video applications. Everyone else is writing their responses. Make it more personal and send a potential client a video application. You can record this with your phone, upload it to Dropbox and send them a link.
Start blogging as much as possible! If you don't yet see the importance of a blog, read this.
To put it simply, the more you blog, the more keywords your website will have, the higher your website will rank in search engines and the more exposure and traffic you will receive.
Not only this, but a blog will position you as an expert in your industry, placing you top-of-mind someone needs your service.
Blog as much as possible and share your blog with everyone you know. Post it across all of your social media platforms and email it to your mailing list.
5. Use SOCIAL MEDIA
Platforms such as LinkedIn, Instagram and Quora are great for sourcing clients. Below are some tips on how to use each of these to get your first client.
Update your LinkedIn profile to include details of your new business. Then spend time looking at the profiles of people who would be your ideal client. Chances are they will see that you've been viewing their profile and click back to yours out of curiosity. If they are in need of your services, they will realize this once on your page.
The same tactic applies to Instagram. Update your profile to clearly explain the services you offer and include a link to your website. Then, spend time engaging with people who you think would make a good client. Follow their page and comment on their pictures. Chances are they will also click back to your page and through to your website.
Quora is a question and answer forum that anyone can participate in. Spend time each day answering questions relating to your industry. This is a great way to get your name out there and send people back to your website.
Dedicate time every day to implementing these 5 techniques and you'll have no problems getting your first client (and many more after)!
Have any other techniques that have worked for you? Comment below and let us know.