To have a successful, online, service-based business, you need clients.
But how do you find them? Where do you find them? And how do you get them to say YES to working with you, especially if they live on the opposite side of the globe?
These are questions I get all the time from folks trying to build their businesses. So that’s why I compiled this for you: The Ultimate Guide to Getting Clients for Your Online, Service-Based Business.
Here you’ll find the most popular, informative posts and downloadable resources that I’ve written on how to get clients for your online, service-based business.
I’ve also addressed some common questions I’ve received from readers just like you trying to build their businesses online.
7 Steps to Building Your Online, Service-Based Business
If you haven’t downloaded it already, the overview plan you need to build an online, service-based business is called 7 Steps to Make It Work Online.
It will give you the big-picture view (and some detailed steps) that will help you make a clear plan of action for your business—including getting clients.
Grab it here:
Click to Download7 Steps to Make It Work Online
Where and How to Find Clients
Once you have that 7-step overview in hand, your next job isn’t a small one.
You see, most people want a quick, easy answer to “how do I get clients?”
They want the magic pill or the silver bullet that will effortless fill their client roster and ensure they reach six figures in revenue.
But let’s be honest, if it were that easy, everyone would be doing it.
The truth is, building a profitable business takes work. Hard brain work, trial and error work, experimentation, and a lot of BS-calling on yourself!
So if you’re serious about getting clients, don’t just skim through the list of posts below. Really USE THEM.
Go through each of the items below, from niche all the way down to mindset, and really ask yourself:
Do I really have this item dialed in, or is there more work I need to do?
There are over 350 blog posts on this website (and dozens of videos on my Facebook page), many of which dive into the details of where and how to find clients. Below are the ones that are the best of the best and cut to the chase the most quickly, so you can get from learning to implementation as quickly as possible.
Also, know that comments you leave on my blog are personally reviewed and answered by me, so ask me anything.
Remember: If you’re not getting clients, something hasn’t clicked into place. Get curious what that is for you, and use the resources below to make the necessary adjustments.
The first step to getting clients is to make sure you’re in the right niche. Do you love the work you do? Love the clients you work with? Love the problems you help them solve and the results you help them achieve?
Check these articles to make sure your niche is dialed in.
- Are you TOO niched (or not niched enough)?
- How Narrowing Your Niche Makes Marketing And Selling Easier
- Are You Making Any of These 6 Mistakes in Narrowing Your Niche?
- The Key to Building a Business You Love? Start with the Right Niche
- How do I hone in on my target audience? (Part 1)
- Narrowing in on my target audience (Part 2)
Your Marketing Language
One of the most common reasons folks can’t get clients for their business is because they’re using the wrong language. These articles are must-reads.
- My Step-by-Step Method for Quickly Explaining What You Do
- What to Do When Your Ideal Clients Aren’t Hiring You (or don’t even know they need to hire you)
- The Reason Prospects Aren’t Turning into Paying Clients & How to Change It Fast (aka The Jargon Trap)
If you’re in the right niche and using the right language, the next thing to check is your offers. Are you selling the right things to the right people and positioning it in the most effective way?
Read these articles to make sure you have your offers dialed in.
- Why You Shouldn’t Sell Coaching and What to Sell Instead
- The Only Thing You Need to Bring in a Steady Flow of New Clients
- 3 Steps to Craft Your Very First Irresistible Service Offer
- 3-Min Fix for Your Work with Me Page (for Service Providers)
- How to Create the Perfect Bite-Sized Offer for Your Business
- Offers That Convert
Where to Find Clients (don’t skip this!)
You can have the right offer and are speaking the right language, the next step is to make sure you know where to find your clients (before you figure out how to find them).
My Famous Circle Exercise to Find Clients Online
Don’t skip this one, especially if you really don’t know where to find your people. Like everything here, it takes effort, but it’s also really worth it.
How to Find Clients
When you read the following articles, you’re likely to say, “But Jenny, I know this already, and it’s not working.”
If that’s the case then look at every other section in this Ultimate Guide because something is off.
Filling your roster is not just about how to find clients, but about the entire business-building system. Meaning almost everything I’m talking about in this post has to click into place to get those clients finding and hiring you.
This means, read the entire guide and really do the work to build the whole business to get the results you’re looking for.
- 21 Winning Ways to Book Yourself Fast
- 5 Email Scripts to Get Clients
- Steal This! My No-Fail Approach for Getting Clients Even if You Have Don’t Have an Email List
- 5 Feel-Good Ways to Effortlessly and Authentically Get More Clients By Being of Service
- The Reason You’re Not Getting Clients on Social Media & How to Change It Immediately
- Steal This! My #1 Strategy for Selling More Without Actually Selling
When you get folks coming to your site to learn more about working with you, you need to take them from curious prospect to paying client. Here are some sales tips to help you do just that.
- Steal This! My Proven Process for Getting More Yeses from Perfect Prospects
- 3 Key Sales Concepts that Helped Me Earn More Money
- How Learning About Sales Boosted My Bottom Line – Part 1
- How Learning About Sales Boosted My Bottom Line – Part 2
- Consults That Convert
- Follow-ups That Convert
Full client rosters are built on consistency from the very beginning. No business-building article would be complete without a reference to this. To keep clients coming in the door, you have to keep doing the things that keep them coming to you, over and over again.
- How to Take Consistent Action and Achieve the Success You Want Most (even when you don’t feel like it)
- My Rock-Solid System for Getting It All Done (and Having a Life!)
It’s not possible to do something you’ve never done before without having a shift in mindset. Here are some articles to help analyze and shift your mindset to help you achieve your goals.
- 5 Mindsets that Could Be Holding You Back
- Afraid of Failure? The New Approach You Desperately Need
- Easily discouraged when you don’t see immediate results?
- How to Take Back Control When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed in Your Business
- What to Do When You Have to Make a Leap But You’re Scared Sh*tless
- 9 Surprising Things I Had to Give up to Grow a Successful Business
I know, that’s a lot to review. But again, building a profitable business takes time, effort, and brainpower. It’s very doable, as my clients can attest to, but it takes time.
Use the resources listed here to help you move towards your goals.
Other Questions You’ve Asked Me About Getting Clients
In a recent survey I sent out to my email list, folks asked a few additional questions about getting clients, so I’m summarizing those questions and my answers here.
Do I need to use paid advertising to get clients?
You can get plenty of clients without using paid advertising. In fact, one of my high-level mentorship clients has built her business into the mid-six-figures with an email list of under 5000 and doesn’t use paid ads to fill her programs.
Here’s an article I’ve written on what I think about paid ads and why you probably don’t want to use them (despite what other people are teaching you).
What’s the most effective and easiest way to get clients?
The most effective and easiest ways to get clients are the client-getting activities you actually DO, put in the time and effort to get good at, and do consistently.
When Make It Work Online clients ask me to tell them which of the 21 Ways to Get Clients is best, that’s the answer I give them. They all work equally well, so it’s all about what you enjoy and are willing to actually do.
How do I find high-paying clients?
You find high-paying clients the same way you find non-high-paying clients. There is no difference in the client-getting activities.
My clients are employees in a corporation. How do I reach them?
Even if the corporation is paying for their work with you, both your clients and the person writing the proverbial check are people.
All client-getting activities are about connecting with people, so ask yourself if the person you’er working with is the one who wants to work with you (but just needs their boss to pay for it), or is it the boss paying for the employee to work with you? That will tell you who to reach out to in your marketing (client-getting) efforts.
Yes, it might be a bit longer of a sales cycle, but instead of thinking about a cooperation as something inanimate and impossible to reach, remember that you’re a person reaching out to and selling to another person.
How do I keep my client/prospect funnel full and consistent revenue?
Keep doing client-getting activities and you set a schedule based on what stage of business you’re in.
I dive into my Flex Schedule System for building your business in this post and in my class, Starting and Growing an Online Business to Six Figures and Beyond. This system tells you how to allocate your time based on the phase of business you’re in.
You Can Achieve Your Goals
An online, service-based business is my favorite kind of business to build online. I’ve said this since the beginning, and I’m still saying it today. The flexibility, the deep impact, and the income are great reasons to build this business.
It’s easier than building a course-based or product-based business. It’s easier than building a brick-and-mortar business. But it still takes work. After all, it’s still a business.
But with the right step-by-step guide and some hard brain work, it is possible. And my hope is that this Ultimate Guide gives you ample resources to get started and grow your business like you want to.
Have questions about any of this? Post them in the comments, and I’ll personally respond.
Elsa G. says
“It’s easier than building a course-based or product-based business. It’s easier than building a brick-and-mortar business. But it still takes work. After all, it’s still a business.” I would say that these days it can be even harder to maintain and to promote due to the competition. So many things have moved online that it is really difficult to find your niche and make everyone believe you are the trustworthy one. A whole new set of challenges.
Jenny Shih says
Elsa, Inherent to business is competition, regardless of the type or the timing. There are pros and cons to all types and all timing.
You say “these days it’s even harder due to competition,” yet one could equally say it’s easier because so many people are willing to buy online and work with people remotely.
When people first started offering online coaching, in the early 2000s, very few people were willing to work remotely and didn’t believe that people were trustworthy online. In some ways, one could say it was harder to get clients because people didn’t know that was an option or see it as a valuable one. Now, on the other hand, especially post COVID, there are way more people who understand that physical location is often irrelevant and that there are plenty of trustworthy people online. As a global community, we’re more connected than ever, which gives us more connections to others all over.
In business (and in life), there is always another side to a story like this. Notice that you can choose to believe in the story that means your situation is more difficult—which is a distraction from doing the actual work of building a business and therefore creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. OR you can choose to believe that you have arrived at the perfect time for you, and you have the capacity/capability to learn and overcome the challenges of your circumstances. Since you get to choose, I suggest to clients they choose mindfully.