When I was first starting out as a career coach for people who hated their jobs, I didn’t have any specialized training in how to build my own business from scratch, and I wouldn’t have claimed at the time to have much “business acumen.”
What I didn’t know then – especially in the dark, scary days of dwindling bank accounts and seemingly endless bills – was that I had everything within me that I needed to make my business work.
Looking back at how I got my first handful of clients for my career coaching business (and how I knew I needed to scrap that first business and start over), I can see early flickerings of the more confident businesswoman I am today.
This got me thinking about how so much of building and running our online businesses is about following our intuition and being bold enough to really go after what we want – especially when it comes to getting clients.
Most of the time that simply means rolling up your sleeves and doing the things you know need to be done to get the money coming in – even if those things aren’t especially comfortable, fun, or glamorous.
If you’re struggling with getting and maintaining enough clients to meet your financial obligations and reach your revenue goals, today’s post is for you.
How I Got My First 5 Clients
When I first started my coaching business, I was pretty confident that I had a lot to offer potential clients. I had a solid base of life coaching knowledge and training, and I was determined to never go back to the corporate world if I didn’t have to.
It turned out the scariest part of starting my own service-based business was actually talking to those potential clients. And after years of working and chatting with literally hundreds of businesswomen, I can verify that this is a very common fear.
Luckily for me, my determination to succeed pushed me over this mental barrier, and my intuition told me how to do it.
I knew that, to have any hope of snagging paying customers, I had to present people with who I was, what I did, and how I could help them with the problem they were facing.
In short: I had to get the word out about my business!
What creative, hi-tech, super trendy methods did I use to do this?
Client #1: Responded to a flyer I had posted in public places around town. The one she saw was posted in a coffee shop I frequented.
Client #2: Came in through a comment I posted on someone’s blog about quitting your job to pursue a passion-driven career.
Client #3: Contacted me after I emailed my entire professional network of 40+ women about my change in career path.
Clients #4 and #5: Were former colleagues of mine from my old corporate life.
Yep, you read that right.
My very first strategies for getting paying clients consisted of hanging flyers about my new business, commenting on other people’s blogs in a way that demonstrated my expertise (part of being of service!), and telling everyone I knew or had ever worked with about what I was up to.
This obviously isn’t the most sophisticated marketing strategy in the world, but the basic premise is a classic:Click to TweetTo get clients, you absolutely must put yourself out there and tell people about your business.
Think about it: No one ever made money by keeping their businesses to themselves!
The Clients Are Out There. Do They Know Who You Are?
I was only able to book my first paying clients all those years ago because I had the courage (and it does take courage – more on that next week!) to proclaim my dream and to use every tool at my disposal to make it happen.
Did everything I tried work? No, it absolutely did not.
Did I feel super confident in my business every single minute of every single day? Nope. No way. Totally not.
Did I let any of that stop me from shouting from the rooftops what I was aiming to achieve? Hell no!
Getting clients is all about putting yourself out there: being brave enough to declare your business loudly and publicly, bold enough to try everything you can to get the word out despite fears of failure or embarrassment, and hell-bent on putting in the work needed to achieve your dream (for as long as it takes!).
Are You Ready?
It would be wonderful to see all of you fabulous businesswomen proudly proclaim your dreams in the comments below.
Whether you’re a new solopreneur or well beyond the early stages of your business, I want to hear about you and your goals!
If you’ve never left a comment here before, this is the perfect chance. I don’t know of a more supportive and knowledgeable community than this one.
It’s Your Turn!
What is your business? Who do you help?
What are your big-time goals or dreams?
How are you putting yourself out there to attract clients?
Are you struggling at all with getting clients?
Fill me in — I can’t wait to hear from you!