When you’re new to freelancing, it’s often feast or famine. It’s a sobering reality. You feel an adrenaline rush when you get those first few projects or assignments, but then days go by without any work. That’s why you need to actively work to grow your business each and every day. Why not jump-start the growth process and create more opportunities for yourself? If you wait for work to magically land in your inbox, you’ll get finger cramps from refreshing your screen.
Even on days when my calendar is full, I make time to reach out to my clients. Why? It takes time to land new work. Essentially, I’m planting seeds each day, so business opportunities grow and mature for tomorrow’s picking.
1. Make a Preemptive, Focused Pitch
Show your client you really understand their needs. Brainstorm what their upcoming projects will entail and how you can help. For example, if you’re a landscaper who just created a garden and outdoor patio area for a project, follow up with your client in a month with information regarding seasonal care and maintenance for new wood decks, fertilizer services for trees and garden maintenance tips to keep the flowers looking fabulous.
2. Cross Promote Additional Services
So, you’ve totally impressed your first few clients. Good. Now’s the time to let them know the scope of your expertise. Most independent contractors have backgrounds relating to their core business. Do you design websites? After wowing a client with a sleek, eye-catching web presence, remind them of your past work writing blog content for a previous employer. Offer to populate the new website (for an added fee, of course!).
3. Ask for a Business Referral
As an entrepreneur, networking will become the backbone of your business strategy. Once you have a happy customer, ask them for an introduction to your next potential customer.
Let’s say you offer professional interior painting services. You just did a remarkable job giving the waiting room of a local dental clinic a much needed face-lift. The staff’s raved about your professionalism and excellent color scheme suggestion. Now, ask your main contact to pass your business cards to the hygienists and office staff, because you also offer residential painting. Then, inquire if your contact has any colleagues with small businesses that could use a fresh coat of paint.
4. Let People Know You’re Available
We’re a society that prides itself on always being busy. When you own a small business, some people immediately think you’re booked all the time and simply don’t have time for their small, insignificant or one-time project.
Dispel that myth! Create social media posts on business-focused social media sites, such as LinkedIn and Twitter, that clearly state you’re looking for work, what you offer and how to get in touch. This will peak the curiosity of potential clients and customers you connected with in the past.
Putting yourself out there isn’t easy, but when you need to grow your business, you should ask for work. So, why not look to your satisfied customers first?