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This is Day 24 of 31 Days to Start a Freelancing Business (or Make Yours a Better One). If you want to catch up, click here to read Day 1.
In an earlier post, we’ve discussed the importance of client testimonials to reduce your prospective clients’ risks in hiring you. Today, you’re going to gather even more social proof for your freelancing biz – even if you don’t have paying clients yet. You’re going to be reaping the benefits of all the networking you’ve been doing recently in forums, Twitter and other social networking sites, and blogs.
No Clients? No Problem!
If you haven’t done so yet, ask for testimonials or feedback from your former employers, supervisors, and even co-workers. Once, you have exhausted your existing contacts, it’s time to gather new feedback.
There are several ways you can do this:
Offer a service for free in exchange for a testimonial
I mentioned this strategy on Day 11. Now that you’ve joined several forums, you have a place to do this. Double-check the forum rules though, to make sure you’re allowed to do this.
Limit your offer to a few members, of you might find yourself inundated with too much “free” work (it’s not exactly free, though, because you do get something in return).
And another thing: don’t expect the same people to be paying clients in the future. Most likely, the ones who will take up your offer are those who can’t or are unwilling to pay for your services. Nevertheless, they’re valuable. They can refer you to paying clients later on.
Hold a contest and give away a few of your services. A good way to promote your contest would be through Twitter and your blog. This approach is similar to Laura Roeder’s tactic for “Creating Fans Out of Thin Air,” which you can learn by watching her video here.
It’s a little more difficult to get your testimonials this way, because you gave away your service as a prize, with no strings attached. You can request a testimonial from the winners, but it’s probably not a good idea to REQUIRE it.
Nevertheless, this is another good way to build your network of prospective clients.
As soon as you get new testimonials, publish them in your professional website. Put the better ones on top, because your prospective clients are more likely to read these.
And remember to ask permission to publish your client’s name, photograph, location and URL.
That’s it for today. Got questions? Leave a comment below.
PS: Tomorrow, I’m going to show you how you can build up your portfolio or samples of work – even if you’re not actually working for clients yet.
photo credit: Tim Morgan