I cannot tell you the number of times that I have literally Googled “How to find clients,” and it was a weird conundrum. Being in a place where I was looking for clients for the first time was weird. Where I was simultaneously learning marketing and applying marketing. Here I was literally saying, “I don’t know where to find clients.” You might feel that pressure sometimes, like, “How am I supposed to be an expert if I can’t even do this for myself?” And I want to share with you what I really wish I had known a lot sooner.
That is, marketing your business is kind of two sides to the same coin. The first side is that “the cobblers’ children always have no shoes.” We’ve heard this before being said about marketers. and the truth is that I wish I’d given myself some grace in that season to realize that it’s one thing to be able to build someone else’s business, whether you’re a funnel builder, copywriter, or social media manager like that’s one thing. It’s still a ton of work. So what I wish I had done truly was give myself grace throughout the process of realizing that it is not as easy to market yourself as it is to market for your clients.
The second side of the coin is if you don’t have the clients you want, it’s time to start treating yourself like the client that you wish you had. Let’s dive into the other side of the coin because the truth is that tons of people become freelancers and actually successful freelancers without being fantastic at marketing themselves. For most freelancers that I talked to, most of their traffic comes from word of mouth and referrals. But that doesn’t help you when you need a client today. And so it’s interesting because it wasn’t until the last few years that I started consistently marketing myself as though I were my own client. And that is one of the few regrets that I have in business. I wish that I had realized sooner how important it was to build a pipeline.
Now I’m going to share a piece of advice that can be really helpful. When you’re actively treating yourself as a client, the time to market yourself never shows up. It’s kind of like a new mom trying to find time to get a shower or self-care. It doesn’t really happen. You almost need someone to pry the baby out of your arms and say, “Go shower, you stink! You have throw-up on your shirt and baby food in your hair.” The same thing has to happen as business owners, you have to figure out how to do that exact process in your own business. And so there are a few things that we’ve identified as some of the things that can help you make sure that you’re getting that time to market yourself and your business. It is absolutely essential. It’s non-negotiable because it’s all fun and games until the day when you’re like, “Shoot, we just lost two clients. And now I’m stressed, and I have to figure out how to find clients!” It’s a lot easier when you’re not in a state of stress.
So the first thing you need to do is to build your email list. The second thing is that you need to deliver value consistently on one, two, or three social media platforms where you know your audience will see it. Now spoiler alert– Your audience is available on pretty much every single platform. At least as it stands. I will say Snapchat has fewer adults on it or fewer business owners. So that’s the only platform right now that doesn’t feel like it’s as effective for putting out valuable content for business owners.
You need to market yourself as well as or better than you would market for your clients. So keep that in mind. This is literally what I wish someone had like, grabbed me by the ankles, held me up in the air upside down and shaken me, and said, “Rachel, you’ve got to market yourself!” Because it was all fun and games until I hit a rough patch where my mindset was absolutely shot. We had no active lead generation going on. We weren’t actively building our list. We weren’t putting out videos on social media, I wasn’t sharing value consistently. I always thought I would get to it when I got to it, or I would wait for inspiration, and guess what? Sometimes inspiration isn’t there! Sometimes inspiration is built and created along the journey.
So the way to make that happen is by allocating time to your business first, which is not working for your clients or just meeting with your team. This means building things into your business, such as a content plan to get your valuable content out there. Scheduling content, creating the content, meeting with your team (if you have a team) about what type of content you want to create. One of my favorite ways to do this is through The Social Clique. We host Power Hour every day, Monday through Friday. So from 7 am to 9 am Central Time is a two-hour block where everyone’s invited to this group call. We all work with our video, and our audio turned off, and you share what you’re going to do in the chat, and then everyone gets to work together. It’s a great time to build your business before all of the pressure of building your client businesses comes on.
So what I love is there’s kind of like a principle. It’s not technically a law, but we’re just going to call it a law because it’s a principle of how matter works. The law is called Parkinson’s Law. Parkinson’s Law states essentially that objects will take up the container they’re allowed. So, for example, do you remember ever living in a tiny space and how you just didn’t buy a lot of stuff to fill it, or at least it felt like everything was overflowing? And then, at some point later in life, you moved into a bigger space, and you thought, “oh, we’ll have tons of space!” But your stuff ends up multiplying and using all the space in your bigger place too!
The same thing is true with a budget. So, for example, I remember when I was making $10 an hour at Taco Bell, I would always think, “Oh my gosh, if I could just make like 40-50K a year, I would never struggle with budgeting ever again!” So fast forward, and we’re making 40-50K a year, and I’m still like, “What the heck?! Why is this so hard to figure out? I thought it was going to make budgeting easier and spending easier. Maybe we just need to make six figures.” So fast forward a couple more years. We make six figures. And a part of me is like, “What the heck, it’s still not happening!” I didn’t learn budgeting for a long time. And it was one of my biggest flaws in building my business. I don’t regret that, but I will say I learned a lot of lessons the hard way. There’s so much I could have saved, and I could have paid down debt sooner. I could have prepared reserves years before we did. If I had realized that it wasn’t a revenue issue, it was truly a budgeting issue, and I needed to create containers and parameters for how much we would spend.
Now how does that translate to time? Well, have you ever been at a coffee shop where your computer was at 7% battery, and you had to finish one last task for a client and got that task done faster than ever before? Interestingly enough, if you gave yourself two hours to finish that task, it might take you two full hours. Parkinson’s Law also applies to your time, and so I’m a huge fan of time blocking. You can figure out what that looks like for you. But one thing that’s non-negotiable is before I go into the day and serve everybody and give tons of value to my clients, I’m going to, first and foremost, market my business. It’s a no-brainer. I’m developing lead magnets and building a plan for YouTube. I’m prepping and drafting some of my tech talks, so you have to decide, “This is non-negotiable at this point. I never want to play the feast or famine game with clients again.”
So let’s dive on into 10 ways that are all legit, and these are all things that I have done. You can use all of these to secure clients, but then I’ll share my favorite one with you.
1. Publish cheat sheets and checklists about your specialty. I like cheat sheets and checklists because it lets people know either that this person knows what they’re talking about or is simply not at the level we’re at right now. So it gives a very good indication of your skill set, your knowledge mastery, and your comfort with sharing value.
2. Create a Messenger Bot offer for your business. Now I like to use Manychat to craft posts to put on my Facebook page. You can craft a post that says, “Would you like to learn more?” or, “I created an awesome case study. Who wants it?” Manychat allows you to create an automated chat to lead people through the process of booking with you or accessing your product. And then you can actually run an ad to that particular post for a very low budget.
3. Check the creative gigs section on Craigslist. This is actually how I got the majority of my early proposals out. I didn’t close many people that way, but it was a good way for me to get some things moving. Sometimes people will do like one or five or ten things over a year and be like, “I don’t know why it didn’t work!” And I’m like, “I’m just going to be super honest with you. That’s just like putting one line in the water and praying that you catch a fish that day. Get all ten lines in the water, get all 100 lines in the water, get all “80 Ways To Get Clients” into the water, and then see which ones work and do more of that.”
4. Share Case Studies with your email list! If you don’t have an email list, this is a really great way to build one! Create a Clickfunnels funnel. Have people fill out an application to book a call with you. Put it on your website, in your social media bio, EVERYWHERE!
5. Create Power Teams for Referrals. Build a team of other service providers who work with the same type of clients, but provide different services than you do. This way, you can refer each other and build a power team full of referrals.
6. Share webinar trainings about your industry. I will say I bombed probably my first two years’ worth of webinars. We didn’t get the results I was hoping for. However, I wish I realized that if I started doing it two years sooner, I would have experienced success with webinars two years sooner. I’m just going to put that out there that has been actually one of the single greatest contributors of growth to our entire business, but just remember they’re not a short-term fix. Very few people convert immediately. But it’s about practicing for years before it works. And I don’t know about you, but when I hear that something’s going to take a long time to work. I want to start as soon as possible so that I can enjoy and reap the rewards as soon as possible.
7. Do guest lectures at local colleges. This is actually a really effective way to get in touch with people in that particular skill set, whether it’s business or marketing or communication or health or fitness or whatever, to get referrals from people’s networks and/or their future employers.
8. You can go to local meetups in your area. Now I’ll give a disclaimer on this one. That’s my hard stop one. Some people love it. I just was talking to Cathy, who’s an incredible freelancer. She’s built a very successful freelancing business with a team of Rockstar VAs, and it has been the most consistent VA experience we’ve ever had. So shout out, Cathy. She swears by local meetups. She used those quite a bit to build her business. I, however, got really stressed out and overwhelmed doing that. So I’m still sharing it as a compelling resource. But for me, it was very stressful.
9. Pick up a phone and call businesses. This is another one that I hate, but it does work for some people! You can be scared. You can literally call businesses nervous out of your mind. But what it’s actually doing is conditioning you to be okay with hearing “no.” And as business owners, we hear “no” a lot. So it can be beneficial to kind of toughen up your skin a little bit more and be comfortable with rejection.
10. Create a live workshop for local business owners. We did this, and it would have been super fruitful. But I got the flu right before the live workshop. So one of my team members had to step in and lead it, and obviously, we didn’t get as good of results as we had hoped. However, it can be incredibly effective, and I was shocked that local small business owners came to learn about marketing. I thought it was absolutely fantastic.
11. Now, my absolute favorite way to secure clients how to find your first or your next client is the power of video. Why? Because of the power of the parasocial relationship. Have you ever been watching a celebrity on their IG stories or whatever, and you’ve thought to yourself, “I’m pretty convinced we would be best friends in real life.” Congrats! You’re not alone. I’ve experienced this too. And the wild part about it is I know what the parasocial relationship is, yet it still works on me. So the parasocial relationship is essential. There’s a part of our brains that lights up when we’re sitting down with a friend for coffee or lunch, you’re having a conversation, or listening to our friend talk. And for whatever reason, our brains have not evolved to not light up in the same spots when we’re listening to someone speak to us on video, looking directly into the camera. So, for example, when your favorite celebrity is talking on an IG story, the same parts of your brain light up as though you were sitting down with a friend for lunch or coffee and listening to them talk. And so it’s fascinating because we can use this to our advantage.
So video is the single fastest way that you can build your business and grow and secure not only clients today, but clients may see your videos for years to come. And it has skyrocketed our business. That’s my number one favorite way.
I’m going to share with you three powerful resources
- 80 Ways To Secure Clients – If you only pick 20 ways out of this list and just pick two per week. Within ten weeks, you will have ten lines in the water
- My Podcast Social Media Secrets
- Apply To Join The Social Clique If you are interested in working with a mentor who actually understands what it’s like to work with clients and actually still works with clients actively as a freelancer, I’m going to put this little humble brag out there. We have done multiple seven figures specifically in client work as a freelancer or a glorified Freelancer model. And so I’m really proud to say that as a mentor, I never stopped doing what I teach. So if that’s the kind of mentor you’re looking for, you might just be right for The Social Clique, which is my mentorship and mastermind program. Feel free to apply, and one of my amazing Rockstar team members will take your call. Don’t worry if you don’t do the hard sale stuff. Gross, no thanks! We’re really and truly going to see if it’s a good fit for you, and also if you’re a good fit for The Social Clique, so feel free to check that out.
BONUS: – Cathy Baillargeon Facebook and Website If you’re looking to work as a VA and want to work for a company where the clients come to you, or if you’re looking for a VA for your business, Kathy is your girl!
Check out this Youtube video on this topic!