Reader Q’s: “How Did You Find Your First Client?”

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So, I asked my update list readers what their biggest challenge is right now in their business, and I got some fabulous responses. (And, of course, taking more! Please subscribe if you’d like to take part in this series.)

My first question is a great one. One I always look for when digging around for business advice. It came from Nilendu Bhattacharya, who is taking on the challenge of rewriting Eugene Schwartz ads to beef up copywriting skills.

So, here’s the thing.

I don’t recommend hitting up your friends & family for work.

Now, feel free to tell them you are in business, invite them to your social media pages and all that yum stuff. But don’t expect your first client to be someone you really love. Why?

  • Sometimes they don’t pay you what you’re worth (if at all).
  • You may be more inclined to slack off a bit because it’s someone you know.

So what should you do?

Network. Network. Network.

Specifically, join networking groups. I found my first clients when signing up for a free course via Erika Lyremark’s Daily Whip. She opened a Facebook group for participants, and from posting a few times and putting my contact info, I found my first client.

I never expected to find any clients this way. I was just looking to learn more about growing my business through ย Erika’s program.

Relationships were formed, services were bartered and eventually paid for. It was incredible! I actually gained several clients this way – just from a private Facebook group.

I didn’t have to schedule Tweets, I didn’t have to send out an e-mail or Facebook blast. Just answered questions and was my silly, honest self. That’s all you have to do.

I’m actually in about a half dozen different groups now, and they’ve all benefited me in more ways than just financially. Here are a few more reasons to join:

1) You gain the expertise of others without having to pay a dime. Remember, these were free groups I joined, not ones associated with paid programs. Not only did I learn a lot from Erika, but I also have taken part in other courses/groups thanks to the incredible members of the group.

2) You gain new online friendships. This has been probably the biggest benefit for me. I’ve made a lot of new friends this way, several of which I hope to meet in real life. ย I’ve already set up a Thanksgiving date with one of them!

3) You gain the experience of constantly marketing yourself without being too “sales-y.” Sure, the great thing about groups is you get lots of new traffic when you share your blog posts or new ideas, but you are also contributing to a community, and that’s the best type of marketing.

(Speaking of which, stay tuned for a guest post on PostJoint about getting a true return on investment in multi-author blog communities.)

Now for the fun part: how did you gain your first client? What unusual methods are you employing in order to gain more exposure. Share your pointers in the comments, and we will all be better for it.



7 thoughts on “Reader Q’s: “How Did You Find Your First Client?”

  1. You’re right on the money, Willi.

    I got my start through relationships with a few people. It takes a whole lot of patience, confidence in yourself, and persistence. But if you focus on relationships, your services will market themselves to the appropriate “market” at the appropriate time – naturally.

    Some of my best relationships were formed just like this – commenting and responding to blogs. Right, Willi? ๐Ÿ˜›

  2. Hey Willi!

    I got my first client through an online bidsite – Odesk to be exact. I made $10 ($9 after paypal fees) writing 12 articles of between 100-200 words a piece. I spent at least 6 hours doing so, so you can pretty much figure that the rate wasn’t great ๐Ÿ™

    Thankfully, I’ve now moved away from those bidsites!

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