This weeks educational blog post…5 tips on how to build a client base! I think this can often be the scariest part to starting a new business. It’s honestly terrifying to put yourself out there when you’re not sure if you have a strong enough client base. What if no one wants to work with me? What will people think of me? Can I do this successfully? How embarrassing could this risk be if it flops?
If you’ve ever had any of these questions swirl through your head before you decide to start a new business or even WHILE you’re pursuing your business – you’re not alone! I have too! Whether you are just starting out or have a business already, these tips will help you build a client base or create a different one. I also created a FREE DOWNLOAD with THREE bonus tips, one of them is where I get HALF of my wedding inquiries!
1) If you want it, say it
I’m a big believer that what we speak into the world will happen. Tell your friends and post on social media announcing that you’re now booking for x,y, and z – whether that be photography, personal training, or whatever you may be pursuing! This is often overlooked and creatives starting out sometimes assume that others are comfortable with inquiring about working with you – but people aren’t! If you INVITE people to talk to you, it reduces risk on their end which is always a good thing. And don’t just do this the first time you start something – do this every now and then as a reminder and you should see a boost in inquiries.
2) Ask to work with people that are your ideal clients
Trade their promotion on social media with whatever you can offer them. Don’t just pick anyone though, pick strategically! Work with people that have a strong community that you want an “in” on, so that when they tag you, you’ll gain more exposure in that community (and hopefully more bookings)! For example, when I moved to a new city for college I was looking to build a new client base in shooting portraits. I reached out to a few girls that had large social media followings OR were heavily involved in several organizations and asked to shoot with them. In exchange for getting free images from me, I asked that they at least post one image from our shoot and tag me in the caption. If you don’t feel comfortable asking, if they like the images they will most likely post one! Also, if people see that their peers and others are working with you, it’ll sometimes start a chain reaction and everyone else will want to too.
3) Post what you want to make happen more
After you start getting in some work – POST about it everywhere you can! Even if you’ve only been doing free or trade shoots (or whatever you’re offering), people don’t have to know that! You have to teach people that you’re an expert and get them to trust you in your field, so you should post frequently if you want people to come to you. If you’re not getting a lot of work at first, people again don’t have to know that! CREATE content on your own time to post. If others see that people are trusting you, they’ll be more inclined to trust you as well.
Networking is key and can often come with a negative connotation, but it really does help! I’ve gotten a lot of jobs from places I’ve worked/interned in the past, or people I know. Think about where your ideal client is, and how you could possibly get involved in an activity, event, place they may be – even if it’s for the short run. For example, if you’re a wedding photographer, getting lunch with wedding planners might be more effective than planning lunches with wedding photographers to attract more wedding clients.
Collab with other creatives that have similar audiences to you! If you partner up with someone else and post about your work together – BAM, that’s an entire new audience that’s exposed to your page. I think people often shy away from this, but it can be SO effective!
If you haven’t already, download this FREE GUIDE I created that includes THREE BONUS TIPS, one of which is how I get HALF of my clients!
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