I’m here to be talking about the first steps to be getting clients. And literally I will be telling you my process, what I did in getting my first few clients and how things happened and saw the demand for me in 2020.
So if you are starting out, this episode is perfectly for you or If you’re struggling with consistent clients, then even then this episode is perfect for you. It’s so important because, the first few clients up until you reach that level of consistency, things can actually make or break your business because it’s the time where you grow as well.
So without wasting much time, I’m going to tell you like literally how I started. So I think when I was starting my business, I made sure I’m starting my Instagram profile, literally from scratch. I did not use my personal profile. So if you don’t have an Instagram profile that you have kept it separate for business, I highly recommend that because it makes so much of a difference when you don’t share your personal stuff as much.
And I’m not telling you that as a personal brand, that you’re not supposed to share your personal stuff on your business, things just make a huge amount of difference because if you are not shedding somethings, because you’re worried about your friends or your family, then I would just say like start from scratch because it makes so much of a difference to keep the consistency and aesthetics of your feed and all of that matters.
It really does matter and I’m talking about Instagram because that’s how I started my business and how I started getting my first few clients from that I still do. My Instagram is still my base platform to get clients and all the other platforms that I use are mainly means to funnel to Instagram.
People to go on to my Instagram page. So, keeping Instagram as your base profile, all the tips that I’m about to tell you, it really matters. So the first thing is that you have to connect with your target audience or your consumers.
Even before you do anything, you really need to know who you’re going to be serving . What’s your niche in that? Because just seeing that you are a designer or you add a service provider, coach, whatever you are, It just doesn’t make sense if you don’t know what your category of people are like, are you talking to women of color like me or moms? I am talking to the entrepreneurs who are actually making five figures and plus who wants to scale to seven figures because that’s who my target audience for custom design is.
I’m only talking to them, but I primarily want them to notice me and everyone else come in through different funnels after that. So you will have to keep it very simple when you are building your business to consistent clients and things and so on. So first thing is you have to do your market research.
So what I did was I started connecting with people on Facebook or people on Instagram and left a DM saying that, “Hey, I’m looking for market research and this is like no pitch. I just want to know, if you were free to hop on a quick coffee chat I just want to ask you a couple of questions for market research. Let me know your thoughts. :)”
When I do hop on the call – I would listen and I would listen to what they want so that I could use exactly what they say as my, I help statement.
As you see – They would love to hop on a market research call and you can do a trade in as well so when it comes to like market research calls, you can say like, “Hey, I’m doing a market research guy and and I am offering a $10 gift voucher, Starbucks, or whatever, as a thank you. Would you like to hop on?”
And, you know, you can just hop on a call with them. And I would connect with as many people as I can, even though I knew that three would be enough. I just wanted to connect with more people just to kind of broaden my knowledge and what they are looking for. I hopped on calls with new entrepreneurs, people who were into business with like at least a few months and people who were into business, like, you know, at least over a year.
So I kind of spoke to like diverse amount of people so I can know where I could stand and initially I started like targeting just people, like probably who wanted logo, you know, just a small logo. Experience matters when people want to pay you for a service or when you expect someone to pay you for a service, you need to look like you are 10 steps ahead of where your target audience currently is.
Let me say that again. You need to look like you are 10 steps ahead of where your target audience currently are, because that matters so much, like, so much. Also to remember that when you are starting out, you just can’t expect to be working with a bunch of your dream clients and get paid for whatever you want to charge, because things don’t work that way.
But the thing is for you to get there, to be actually working, being able to work with your dream clients and for you to be able to charge high ticket, It’s so essential to go through this process because it’s going to make your life so much more easier. So I would just say six months or even a year in your business.
Work really, really, really hard to show that you’re the best at what you do and this is why experience matters, because trust me the work that you usually start off with as the very first logo or the very first client service that you are going to be doing is going to look so much more different than what you will be producing six months down the line, because your work gets polished.
Everything just gets polished. Your communication gets polished. Your systems get gets polished. The way you put out your content does. Some things always get easier. So the very first thing is, as soon as you finish your market research and you connect with a bunch of people, you have to start doing the first few things for free to build your portfolio and client testimonials.
You could also trade in your services. So if you have someone like that, you could use your help with like, say a coach or a marketing expert for like a week, someone who’s starting out like you, you can just say like, “Hey, I would like to offer you a logo in return for your service?
So you can build your Testimonial. So people say yes. And where can you do all those?
Facebook groups. People will always reach out to you because there are always people starting out or people who want clients who want to experience people who are pivoting.
Usually there’s nobody who says no, that will always be someone who will work with you, who will want what you are offering. There will always be somebody, just remember that. And another thing is say, if you already have like a bunch of followers, then you can always do a giveaway and say like, Hey, I’ll be doing a giveaway of, you know, a brand kid or, you know, I’ll give away off my template or things like that.
And people will always be so interested in them cause people want shit for free. Like they always want things for free. Like why not? Now when you have warmed up your audience by showing behind the scenes and the process of how you do it, and they just see how good you are at this.
You can do this with three people and share this on a constant basis on your Instagram stories for example, they will be so ready to buy from you when you actually decide to sell your package, say like,” Hey, I am offering a brand kit right now for XXX right now.
I always advice a $500 while starting out because your thoughts need to get certain “are people going to pay this for me?” Because for now you just want to be validated with your services.
And usually things like this give away, trade-ins are good every time you have a dry month or a dry week where you don’t have any work and you just want to work with like clients also know that you can always do this every time you’ll have a dry or a slow month.
So people just think that you are always a booked out and it kind of sets a tone to your business. So you kind of need to show that as well. And you don’t need to do it on your profile but on facebook for instance.
So these are like the first things, but before you start selling your product, there are some things that you also have to keep in mind, like you need to show that you have already worked with some people. It’s important that you also do mock-ups too because sometimes when you do things for free, it probably might not be something you want to share on social media.
Okay. And the next thing is that if you are a service provider, or a designer like me, It’s important that you have your website ready, need not be a complicated six, seven page kind of a website but atleast a single homepage or mini site. That’s all that matters. Right? You can have like a simple mini site for yourself where, you know, you’ve put in a bunch of mock-ups client works logos that you’ve done and how they can work with you.
Use that for the link in your bio. It really helps. Because for people like us who are service providers, things like website really matters. People always want to see your skills when a huge investment is involved.
Eventually, you can use that mini-site as an example to compare that as you evolve because you’re always going to be rebranding. You’re always going to be evolving.
You’re always going to be making changes to your website and you know, it’s so fucking important. I wish someone told me this before, because. I would have taken screenshots of my own.
If a client approaches you “Hey, I’m interested in what you’re offering. I would like to book your services.” How would you make them feel? How would you, you know, invite them to your program? Like what kind of an email will be sending to them? What kind of a proposal will you be sending to them? How will your contract come into place? How easy and efficient will all of this be? How will you be sending them a link? Or invoices for them to pay. And how are you making it easy for them?
It’s about your client’s convenience because they’re paying you for your services. So how can you be setting up your systems for success? So that’s something that I would highly suggest you to look at it. And I know maybe at the beginning you will not have as much money to invest in things but you can still make it happen.
I use Dubsado and I think it’s $35 a month and It’s the best for sending out proposals and contract on Brand AF.
For Invoices, I used PayPal for payment invoices, or you can also use Stripe and I used my personal email although I had a professional E-mail at that time and Mk-StudioSeven wasn’t even born yet, I went by own name Mahima.
As you can see, at the beginning, since I was all over the place, It was okay because for the Price that I was charging, I was asking myself “how can I get better and better?”
So, don’t procrastinate too much with your business name or what you’re doing at the moment because nothing is permanent and I’m telling you things will always change.
Just go for it. Get a few clients I’m trust me. Things will always come, things will always fall into place and things will always be in alignment. Like your business name can change in future.
And if it doesn’t, if you’ve already found yourself like a great name, then fantastic. Just register your domain name. You can do that on godaddy.com and it’s not even going to cost you any money, not a lot of money. You can just set it up by yourself with a custom email domain because that’s professional. It says a lot about you when you use something that’s not Gmail because Gmail is very personal and even if you are using your business name for Gmail, I highly suggest you don’t. But if that’s like the worst case scenario, so be it, it’s still okay. Use your business name and don’t use your name because unless your name is your business name.
So getting back to, what happens when client reaches out to you? I used to send them a Calendly link for them to book a call because I wanted to know more about them, their business, the kind of aesthetics that they have in their mind etc.
So I would give them the timeline for the project.
So, but let me just go a step back here, once the sales call was done and they said yes, I was not wasting my time. I would send the contract, the payment link and the scope of the project and I would highly suggest you not to waste any time because you want to show you’re the expert here.
Don’t waste any time. I would highly suggest having a contract in place. I’m not a lawyer, but I’m just gonna like tell you that you can head on to sprout law.com because that’s where I bought my contract for the first few stages of my business.
Then I would just integrate that with like my PayPal link and I would send them off via email so that they will look at the contract, sign it, send it back to me and they would make that first payment.
Is the most important part, because if Instagram is your base platform, you need to be showing up consistently, no matter. Make sure you’re rolling out your content. Every day atleast three to five days in a week because you need to kind of fill in your Instagram feed with your niche.
Figure out your Content Pillars based off your market research call and write them down. Post on your IG based off the pillars so it gets easy. I would suggest five content pillars.
You have to be creating content that can connect with other ideal client of yours with your target audience. You have to educate them, so make sure you think about your content pillars very wisely.
Even if you’re fully booked out, you still have to show up.
Keep going and pushing yourself. Success comes with consistency and then comes consistent income, no matter what stage you are in, but just remember that you have to be 10 steps ahead.
So just know that just because I said all this doesn’t mean that this is the only way that can work for you. This is one of the ways that actually worked for me. So I hope it has helped you. And you know, at least one of the tips that I have given you, I hope it helps you in whatever niche you are and whatever you’re doing and whatever stage of business that you are in.
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