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I reassured him that three months was hardly enough time to get established with a full roster of clients.
And then I proceeded to give him advice so he would soon get so busy, he’d have to start turning clients away.
Here are the five most important things I told him:
1. Get clear on your Ideal Client.
If you’ve been reading this blog for some time now, you now I always harp about the importance of knowing exactly who your Ideal Client is.
Without an Ideal Client, you’re shooting in the dark, hoping to hit something. On the other hand, if you know exactly whom you’d like to work with, then you’re more like an archer with a big target in front of you on a clear, cloudless day.
2. Create a buzz piece.
I stumbled on the importance of a buzz piece–a special report, white paper or other informative content–quite by accident.
However, The Wealthy Freelancer describes in detail what it is and why it’s important.
A buzz piece is content you can share with prospects to demonstrate the how a something relevant to your service can benefit them. Take note: a buzz piece doesn’t directly promote your services, like your website does. It’s more subtle than that.
For example, I have a special report on video marketing. It describes how video marketing can benefit businesses, how to go about doing it, what equipment and software are needed, and what mistakes to avoid.
It’s only in the end where I mention that I help entrepreneurs by creating marketing videos for them.
3. Collect testimonials.
My newbie freelancing friend didn’t have a single testimonial from his past clients. Some of them have told him verbally how he has helped them. He hadn’t gotten any of these in writing.
Read this post to learn more about why testimonials are important and how to get them–even before you actually have clients.
4. Network, network, network!
Networking is the single most effective marketing tool for me. It may not be fair, but very often, it’s whom you know that determines how successful you are.
There’s no doubt that we tend to hire people who are more familiar to us, who we trust and like personally, or who may come highly recommended by somebody we trust.
I remember one prospect who seemed interested but hesitated from hiring me for weeks. One day, when he found out that I had done a lot of copywriting for somebody he knew, he quickly approved the proposal that had been sitting in his computer.
Do whatever you can to meet with prospective clients both in live events and online. Follow them on Twitter, join online and offline forums, mastermind groups, and networks. Attend in-person conferences. When you know who your Ideal Client is, you’ll know where to go to network with them.
5. Get over your dislike of selling.
Not all freelancers may realize it, but as soon as you become self-employed, you ALWAYS have to be selling.
This can be a big obstacle for some of us. It certainly was for me, since I’d only ever worked in the non-profit sector.
After 14 years of working in UNICEF, I was used to asking people for their money–but not for my own benefit. It’s easy to ask for money when children’s health, education, safety and well-being are at stake.
It isn’t as easy when we’re asking for money for ourselves.
It took some time for me to get comfortable with this. A mindset shift is needed. You need to recognize that the money you receive symbolizes the value you provide your clients.
In my case, I help my clients make money by selling more of their products and services. I help them to worry less about their businesses. I help them to have more free time to work on those parts of their business that they enjoy and are good at. I give them peace of mind, because they know that certain parts of their marketing will be taken care of.
What value do YOU bring to your clients? What’s that value worth?
What other advice do you have for my newbie freelancing friend? What advice do you wish you got when you were starting out?
Please share them by posting a comment below.
PS: If you haven’t gotten a copy of the Wealthy Freelancer yet, I highly recommend it.
photo credit: awezmaz