There are so many ways to get clients.
In person, online, through speaking (online or in person), through writing, over email, via phone, through old connections, by making new connections …
The awesome thing is that since it’s your business, you get to choose which ways are most fun for you to use to get clients.
In this guide, you’ll find 21 proven client-getting strategies that have worked for me and for my clients — over and over again. That means there are more than enough options for you to get you moving, get you clients, fill your roster, and start a waiting list.
I also hand-picked a few strategies that my clients and I love most and spelled them out with more detail (including a template and a how-to guide!) to help you take action and get clients.
How I Got My First 5 Clients
When I first started my online business, I didn’t know anything about online mar- keting, so I got my first five clients in four easy, “old school” ways.
Client #1: Responded to a flyer I posted in public places around town. The flyer she saw was posted in a coffee shop I frequented.
Client #2: Came as a result of a comment I posted on someone’s blog about quit- ting your job to pursue a passion-driven career.
Client #3: Contacted me after I emailed my professional network of 40+ women about my change in career path. (I call this strategy “send 100 emails.” More on this below.)
Clients #4 and #5: Were former corporate colleagues who reached out to work with me after I quit my job (because they wanted to quit theirs, too!).
Other Ways I’ve Gotten Clients Since Then—And How My Clients Have, Too
Since then, I’ve gotten clients from a variety of methods. These have all proven to be fruitful efforts for me and for my clients:
- Guest posting and getting interviewed
- Being of service (not pitching!) in Facebook groups
- Referrals from past clients
- Giving free talks in my local area
- Following up with warm leads
- Hosting free calls and webinars
- Having my business information in my email signature
- Sending quality, free content to my email list, week after week
- Adding a section in my newsletter about working with me
- Sending dedicated pitch emails to my list
- Connecting in person and via phone with colleagues to talk about business and share leads
- Setting up and sending autoresponders in my email system
My clients have had successes with other means of getting clients. Some of the approaches they love include:
- Hosting MeetUp groups
- Sending personal emails to new subscribers
- Offering free “taster” sessions
- Engaging in other social media platforms
- Creating and hosting their own Facebook group
… and more.
Keep reading, and you’ll get some insights as to how to make a few of these strategies work for you.
In Make It Work Online, I dive even further into many of them — plus offer templates, email scripts, and more — to help my clients fill their client rosters without it feeling like a chore!
The key is to focus on what sounds like fun to you — then stick to those strategies.
Consistency os key for making any client-getting approach work.
Send “100 Emails” and other client-getting emails
One of the best ways to get clients is to connect with people you already know.
Although your friends, neighbors, or former coworkers may not hire you themselves, there’s a good chance they know someone who would want to hire you.
The simplest approach here is to send 100 emails, reaching out to friends, family, neighbors, current colleagues, past colleagues, friends, acquaintances, and more. Celebrate your new business and tell them what you’re up to. The goal isn’t to make everyone a client but to start looking for warm connections.
You can read all about how to do this—plus grab a script on what to say—over on this Steal This! blog post.My Personal Recommendation for YouSteal This! 5 Email Scripts to Get Clients Fast
Be of Service in Facebook groups (and other online forums)
One of the most fun ways (for extroverts and introverts alike) is to connect with peers and prospects on social media. I’m not talking about pitching yourself. I am talking about showing up, being your awesome self, and helping others with your knowledge and insights. I’d estimate that this strategy alone got me at least 50 clients (probably more) in the first two years of business.
I call this “being of service.” How did I do it?
First, I blocked off a half-hour every morning and every evening to go on Face- book and interact with my target clients in groups where they hung out.
During those half-hour blocks, my focus was exclusively on being as helpful as possible and answering as many questions as I could — not reading articles, watching dog videos, or connecting with personal friends.
Consistency was key!
People noticed that I was there to “give” not to “get” — and they also got to see where I had expertise to offer others. Soon after, people started tagging me when they thought I had an answer someone was looking for. My reputation quickly grew as someone who was helpful, generous, and giving — not there just to “sell them.” And THAT is exactly what does sell people… and how clients started coming in.
In fact, the more you are acting from a place of service (instead of a place of pitching), the more likely you are to create connections, build your email list, and get more clients.
Now, a lot of people say, “Jenny, this worked when you were first started out way back when, but it doesn’t work anymore.”
So let me tell you this very directly: It still works. In fact, I’m being of service right now in Facebook groups as I’m taking on a few high-end private mentorship clients. It worked then. It works now. Whether you’re new and looking for clients for your bite-sized offer or experienced and looking for clients for your premium-priced services.
Take “Be of Service” even further with free taster sessions
My first client to hit a million dollars was Kendrick Shope, and she took the “be of service” approach to the next level to help her create that million-dollar result.
When I told her to “be of service” (BOS) she started showing up online, offering helpful, free, no-strings-attached advice as much as possible, in the usual BOS fashion. And when she ran into something that was hard to explain in a Facebook conversation, she’d offer to get on the phone with that person—for free.
Here’s the key: Kendrick DID NOT pitch that person on the phone.
Instead, she’d check in with them a few days later to make sure they had all that they needed… or see if they needed further help.
If they got what they needed, she’d cheer them on and send them on their way. If they were faltering and needed more help, she’d tell them about her paid services.
The “be of service” approach only works if you embrace it fully.
Serve your target audience with no strings attached (and no immediate pitching), and you’ll quickly generate a huge fan base… and a list of hungry clients.
Note: You’ve got to give freely, without expectations, for it to work.
Give free talks—in your local area and online
My friend and fellow coach, Alison Cardy, has mastered the use of speaking to build her business.
Since her business focus is on career coaching, Alison speaks in a variety of places, including professional societies, service organizations, university student groups, and college and university alumni groups.
Like with all client-getting strategies that work, Alison went “all in” — pitching and speaking regularly (often several times a week). She quickly built a reputation as someone who delivers solid speech and always pleases her audience.
If you love to speak — or want to start speaking — all you have to do is start! No matter how big or small your town, you can create your own speaking opportuni- ties.
From hosting your own events at the local library or health food store, to pitching service organizations, alumni groups, or corporate or small business brown bag lunches, there are countless people and groups looking for speakers for their next event.
So start looking in your area for the right opportunities, and go pitch them.
Of course, in the COVID era, lots of these local organizations are now reaching their members with virtual conferences and meetings, so those options are equally valid for this approach.
Add a “Work With Me” section to your email newsletter
If you are building an online business, building an email list is a must. And emailing that list regularly (preferably weekly) is also a must!
Since you’re emailing helpful, free content to your list every week, you should also take advantage of that opportunity to tell your subscribes how they can hire you.
Make your newsletter’s “Work With Me” section a dedicated section in your newsletter, not a P.S.!
Not sure what to write? Here’s a sample template to get you started:
You’re [doing this awesome thing]. I’m here to help.
[Ask questions that your ideal clients would say, “yes” to]
Are you [this type of person] with [this positive personality trait]?
Do you have trouble [with this specific challenge that you solve]?
Could you use [this type of support]?
I help [these types of people] who [feel like this]. They’re looking to [accomplish this] and [also this] — without [doing or feeling like this].
My clients [have these positive traits] but they can’t seem to [get to this place that they’re striving for].
If you’re ready to [do this], [this], or [even this], I can help get you there.
Click here to learn about [your services or offers]. [LINK to your services or offer]
Create and host your own Facebook group
It’s a great strategy for building a highly-engaged fan base, directly connecting with and interacting with potential clients, and having your own place to pitch (without taking over someone else’s group — not cool!).
My clients love hosting their own groups because ideal clients are practically delivered to their virtual doors, plus they can engage with them, check their client language and avoid jargon, and create a community around their mission.
Curious what folks say about running their own facebook group? Here are some Make It Work Online alumni’s insights on exactly that.
Tamara Schmidt, Daily Nature Connection
“I love it because it’s a low-pressure, super positive way to build community as people share their nature connections. It’s been a fantastic and fun way to build my business.”
Aden Nepom, Change Hub
“I love that I get to communicate directly with people who can both benefit from working with me and inform the services I provide. I learn as much as I teach! I believe inspiration is a two way street.”
Suzy Rosenstein, Women in the Middle Community: Regret-Proofing 101 for Midlife Women
“I love running the group because it gives me a chance to meet podcast listeners and hear more about what they like, what they need help with, and how I can serve them better.”
Emily Otto, Systems & Structure for Magical Business Owners
“I love running it to help aspiring healing arts biz owners, and I enjoy curating content and free coaching/training to empower healing arts folks to do their own unique things in the world.”
Wendy Harbath, Ceremony of Crones
“I love staying in touch with my clients and fans. It’s also a great way to explore occasionally with a new idea for feedback from the group.”
Stacie Mitchell, The Consistent Coach: Get clear, Get consistent, Get clients
“I love hosting a Facebook group because to me it’s been the easiest way to connect and grow a community. I can ask loads of questions (which I love to do!), learn more about my potential clients, and build an engaged, interactive community – which can sometimes be hard on other social media platforms.”
Laura Donnelly, The Healing Path with Laura Donnelly
“I love hosting a group because of all the amazing people I’m meeting! The group has video conversations and discussions, and members are encouraged to start their personal healing journeys.”
Steph Lagana, Your Sacred Craft: Magical Tools for Action Ready Entrepreneurs
“My Facebook group isn’t just a place to meet potential clients and be of service, it’s also a place to make friends which makes this path so much richer on every level.”
Laura Collis, Thrive: Healthy at Midlife
“I love running a group because it’s an incredible way to grow my following, be of service, provide value and connect and engage with my potential clients. In my own community group, I know I’m speaking to my ideal client all of the time and that’s a huge plus!”
StephK, 💄Just Wear The Lipstick
“I love hosting my Facebook group since it allows me to empower others. I also love having conversations with my audience and helping others in my community to connect!”
Which of these 21 ways is most effective?
Now here’s the question I get All The Time: Which way is most effective, the one that will bring me the most clients the fastest?
The answer: Whichever one you do consistently and strive to keep doing better.
Hear this: They All Work!
But the one you do, do well, and do consistently is the one (or ones) that will yield clients.
To get clients, you have to consistently do client-getting activities. Choose the ones above that are most interesting to you, and focus on those. If you like what you choose, you’re more likely to keep at them and see the results you want.