Find Your First Client Under These 6 Unturned Stones

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find your first client

Encouraging referrals is the best way to grow your business. However, as a new entrepreneur, to obtain referrals you have to have clients. Getting that first client can be one of the biggest challenges in getting your business off the ground. Fortunately, there are things you can do to entice new clients into hiring you.

Your Former Employer

Get hired by your former boss. While this doesn’t work in all cases, many small businesses get their start by turning their former employer into a client.

The advantage for you is that your boss knows the quality of your work. And if it was good, he/she should be willing to hire you. The advantage to your former boss is that often, hiring a contractor is less expensive than hiring an employee.

Your Network

Engage your network. Tell everyone you know about your business. While your friends, family and former colleagues may not need your service, they may know people who do and be willing to refer you.

Untapped Local and Online Networks

Get involved in local and online business networks. When done right, with the attitude of helping others and delivering value, meeting people in your business community and through online networks such as LinkedIn can get your business in front of people who will hire or refer you.

Other Businesses

Collaborate with other businesses. If there is another industry that can collaborate with yours, make connections for the purpose of mutually beneficial referrals.

For example, if you’re a wedding photographer, connect with caterers and bands that also work weddings. If you’re a copywriter, connect with graphic designers, web designers and printers.

Flex Your Writing Skills

Write for trade or association publications. Having your article appear where potential clients will read it increases your exposure and credibility. For example, if you’re a virtual assistant for Realtors, write a piece for the local real estate association newsletter.

Show Your Expertise Through Speaking and Training

Speak or do training sessions. Showing off what you know as an expert is a great way to build credibility and garner new clients. Find organizations that target your market and offer to do training sessions.

For example, if you’re a copywriter, offer to do a program on writing great sales copy for your local Chamber of Commerce. Many who attend the session will decide they’d rather hire someone (you) than do it themselves. Plus, you can get paid for speaking, adding another revenue source.

Stone Photo via Shutterstock

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Personal Branding Blog The Personal Branding Blog is part of the Small Business Trends Publisher Channel, offering branding and career advice from Dan Schawbel and his team of experts. The blog helps professionals build a powerful brand to remain competitive in the job market.

8 Reactions
  1. Great tips for those just starting! I would add that a really professional website can help greatly, plus social networks of course!

  2. Doing just a few of the above should get not just one, but even a handful of clients. Plus there’s the word-of-mouth potential once you build up a good relationship with your first client. Potential to snowball from there.

  3. Great tips, but it will be a little harder for a first client because you don’t have current clients who can act as referrals.

  4. It is amazing that most of us take for granted the most simple yet strongest tools to improve the growth of our businesses and careers. I would say “sharpen those skills (what you can do) that you are most good at” and use it to grow into a business bombshell.

  5. Some great tips there.

  6. This article is really good.

  7. #1 The Former Employer can really work, if you have a good relationship with them. I’ve seen it in action…

    Part of the’ idea’ process, people start off with searching for problems in their everyday lives. They usually can find a few at work, within their current 9-5.

    It’s just the individuals call whether they have that sort of relationship with the boss.