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How to Get Your First Client (Who Isn’t Related to You)

It can be tricky finding your first paying clients. Most of us feel like we need to have everything already in placebeforewe launch, so we start doing everything we can to make ourselves look like a credible, trustworthy business with years of experience under its belt.

But guess what? You don’t have to pretend you’re legit in order to attract clients! Getting those first few clients will help you reel in more, especially if you’re offering a  stellar client experience. And the more clients you have, the more you’ll validate your biz. Plus, every new client you book will make you feel more confident about what you’re doing.

That’s easier said than done, right? How do you actually start getting clients who aren’t family members or close friends? We talk about how below!

Meet your target audience where they are

It’s not our clients’ job to find us. It’s our job to find them, insert ourselves into their lives and remind them we exist regularly.

If you’re not meeting your potential clients where they are, they’ll never know who you are and what you have to offer!

We’ve seen this happen so many times before. For example, someone is getting hitched and starting to plan their wedding. Instead of looking for a wedding photographer  like you, their friend or relative gets to them first and recommends someone else. That’s a missed opportunity!

Sure, if you’re the hypothetical  wedding photographer, you can probably meet a lot of potential clients at bridal shows, marketing conventions, or other weddings. But we encourage you to think outside the box. Seek out clients BEFORE they even get to these places. If you can meet a client at a wine tasting before they’ve even started planning their wedding, you win.

Be active online

Pre-pandemic, you could probably meet a ton of clients at in person events. But now with virtual events becoming more common and more people working from home, it’s more important than ever that you’re active on social media — it’s a huge resource for finding new clients.

Here’s a tip for finding clients in Facebook Groups. Do a quick search in a couple of your favorite, active groups every day for a keyword that is relevant to your business. For example, if you’re a  social media consultant, you could search “Facebook Ads coach” to see if anyone’s looking for you.

Then, keep the conversation going with the person who posted that comment.The key is to offer help and advice, not promote your services. Establish yourself as a go-to expert in the group for your niche. Keep answering questions and, after time, people might be curious enough to click on your profile and see what your business is all about.

Many groups also have periodic promotional threads where you can advertise your services. If it’s not against the group rules, you can post a promotional thread yourself and announce that you’re a new business owner looking to gain experience, so you’ll be offering your services at a small discount just for group members. Just be sure to put a limit on it, or you might be stuck with more work than you can handle.

Talk about what you love on a blog or podcast

We’d love to tell you that The Contract Shop® blog exists purely out of the kindness of our hearts, but honestly, that’s not what it’s all about. While we promise to always provide great, valuable content to our readers, we’re  alsousing this platform to showcase our expertise and  sell amazing contract templates, among other things.

If you don’t already have a blog — what are you waiting for?! — start by writing one post a month. A blog is a great way to establish yourself as an expert in your field. Hate writing and prefer talking instead? Maybe a podcast is a better option for you!

By providing free, useful content to your readers or listeners, you’re already proving yourself helpful to them before you’ve even formed one of those old-fashioned face-to-face relationships.

Oh, and don’t forget to make connections with other bloggers or podcasters. Find active blogs or podcasts that you enjoy and leave a comment! Offer helpful ideas, articles, and suggestions that are relevant to the topic. Refrain from anonymously bashing or posting—the whole point is to gain visibility for your biz!

Run a special promotion

Offering your services at a discount is a surefire way to attract new leads. This is the last tip on our list for a reason though—because, while helpful for a short term boost to your bottom line, promotions are often not sustainable long-term, and can sometimes reel in less-than-ideal clients. So, proceed with caution.

If you do run a promo, it’s best to come up with a “why” for your discount. For example, you might run a special promotion over a holiday weekend by offering a premium package at the basic package rate. 

It’s more enticing to your audience when there’s an end date to your promo. You probably wouldn’t feel compelled to hire someone who’s offering their services for 25% off with no explanation, right? You’d probably wonder why, and you’d probably guess that their business must not be doing so well. Much better to pick a special event and make it a celebration!

Need more help sealing the deal with clients?

Trying to get your biz noticed by new clients can feel tedious and frustrating, not to mention mortifying because you’re putting yourself out there! We’ve been there, and we know how you feel. But practice makes perfect. Use our tips to reel in those clients, and the business will follow.

Let’s say you’re finally getting noticed, but then you’re getting ghosted. All your efforts arekindapaying off, but not every new lead is converting to a sale. Then what?

We have answers for you. Our  Clients On Tap® course will teach you how to find, land, and keep your dream clients! No more scrambling around and taking advice from a ton of different courses, webinars, or downloadable guides. Join  Clients On Tap® and watch those new clients roll in!

5 ways to find your first clients. #newbusiness #startup #smallbusiness

6 Responses

Sara Perry
Sara Perry

March 30, 2020

Thank you for this post. This is my first ever response to a blog post. I literally write my own blogs, but have never even commented on someone else’s. This is so encouraging! I recently launched not one, but two businesses. One was intentional, the other — not so much. I’ve been struggling to get clients. Hopefully once this virus pandemic resolves, I can start networking!


February 24, 2020

Thank you for the tips Christina! This is my first comment ever haha. I guess the next step is making a blog

Ryan Haley
Ryan Haley

February 07, 2019

I love the promotion of “announc[ing] yourself as a new business owner looking to gain experience…” This provides a transparency that feels welcoming but also professional and doesn’t ‘cheapen’ the product or service. This hit home for me.


December 18, 2018

This was such a helpful read! I have found a lot of joy in making my potential business “aesthetically pleasing”. I have changed my mind about what my real passion truly is, but I think I got lost when it came to finding the right clients! Sometimes I feel like my ideas are all over the place which makes it so hard to find a niche, but thank you so much for all your tips!


June 04, 2018

I found my first client through a facebook group that we connected in. We became friends before she became my client! I love the tips you suggested here!

Elisabeth Young | ElisaAnne Calligraphy
Elisabeth Young | ElisaAnne Calligraphy

November 28, 2017

I love all of these tips! Especially the one about putting myself in front of my clients where they might be CURRENTLY hanging out. I’ve always avoided networking at bridal shows – I actually went to QuickBooks Connect, a conference for people in the finance industry, and made some amazing connections there where I least expected! Now I just need to follow up with them :) Thanks for the amazing content!

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