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5 Things You Can Do To Start Getting Clients Now

Getting clients as a freelancer (whether new or experienced) can be the biggest challenge we face. I recently hosted a poll to see where some of my audience felt the most struggle, and lo and behold – getting clients was the most overwhelming response. I’ve created a series (now available for purchase here) that launched on Facebook (in July 2017).

But today we are going to cover 5 things you can work on right now, this week, in your business to start getting clients AYE-ESS-AYE-PEA my friend.

"Ready to get clients for your freelance business? Click here!" (tweet that!)


SURVEY + STUDY YOUR POTENTIAL DREAM CLIENT

In the series we dive into a bit about really nailing down your target client, so if you’re stuck there, definitely check it out. Otherwise, if you know who this person is… you’ve got to also figure out what is causing them anguish or strife in their lives/business (that you can help with).

First, you could find, or maybe you already know, THE dream person you want to work with. I have a running list of people I’d probably lose a finger or two (non-essential ones, obvi) to work with. Then – turn your creep vibes up – and study what they are currently doing versus what they want to do. Read their Instagram captions or watch their stories. Read their blog posts. Heck, connect in their comments and ask for more information about whatever it seems they might be stuck on, struggling with, or limited by. This takes some sleuthing and some assuming, but figuring out what the struggle they are facing is (so that you can create something to resolve that struggle) will have clients lining up out the door for that service.

An alternative would be to do a poll, maybe within a Facebook group, of people you potentially want to work with. I’d be descriptive in who you want to actually complete the poll – i.e. “designers within their first year of business, I have a few questions for you”. Getting people to do the poll might prove difficult, so it might be helpful to offer some sort of incentive or give away for a lucky, random winner.


BARTER/TRADE TO IMPROVE + GET SEEN

I never, ever recommend working for free but I do see a huge benefit in bartering or trading services for a few reasons:

  • Maybe you really need XYZ to move forward in your business (social media management or new headshots)
  • Maybe you have no testimonials to share of your work/experience/expertise
  • Maybe you have no audience, no way to build an audience right now, etc.

If you’re thinking, “yas gurl!” then consider finding someone that can help you with one or all of those reasons that in exchange you can help with your services.

Testimonials and word of mouth referrals are such an asset when it comes to getting clients. If you’re starting from square one you can get both of those things from delivering awesome experiences to people without necessarily asking them to fork over money (but definitely get something in the exchange – ideally something you really need to help your business grow. Do NOT work for just “exposure” and run away from anyone that tries to tell you that you should do free work for them for “exposure”.) I would trade for things like a website, good headshots, copywriting, etc. if you’re just starting out. In my experience, I’ve traded for business coaching (and saw big returns because of it).

An even better alternative and what I did was trade, but still charged money just at a discounted rate. So they get my ‘super special friends and family rate’ (just kidding, I don’t have that, my friends and family still have to pay (ha!)), and I get whatever it is I need. Of course I over delivered and you should too, always, and in return got a great testimonial, lots of referrals, etc. 

Side note on that, I think it’s totally fine to be up front with what you are hoping to gain from the relationship. Better that they know you are hoping for a stellar testimonial, then get to the end of working together and they want you to sign some sort of NDA where no one can know you worked together.


ANALYZE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA (+ STOP WASTING TIME)

Asking anyone that has reached out to you for work or that you’ve worked with how they found you can be hugely beneficial. If no one is ever connecting with you via Twitter, I think it’s safe to abandon Twitter.

I’m not a huge analytics junkie, but I do look at what sends the most traffic to which page on my site. Pinterest sends a lot of traffic to my site and I want a lot of people end up on my services page – so I should use Pinterest to get people to my services page, right? Right!

If you’re super devoted to a social media platform but not necessarily seeing results from it, take the time to shift how you are using it. Maybe you love Instagram, but instead of showing cool pictures of your succulents and latte art exclusively, you could incorporate some call-to-actions about working together, or some ‘exclusive special bonuses’ only for your Instagram tribe, etc.

Social media is 100% about being social, I totally agree – but I also don’t want you to waste time in things that have little to no ROI in your business. So make social media work for you, as well as be something you enjoy doing and connecting over.

"Your social media should be social, but also have a return on investment!" (tweet that!)


MAKE IT CLEAR YOU ARE AVAILABLE FOR HIRE

Do people even know you’re available to hire for whatever it is that you do? Do you advertise that on your social media, in your newsletter, etc.? I don’t have a fancy statistic, but I will say that in my experience a lot of us (especially women) tend to be intimidated by sales or promoting ourselves.

I get it - sales scare me too sometimes. I used to schedule video consult calls and then pretend my video wasn’t working because I’d be so nervous to look someone in the (virtual) eye while trying to get them to pay me. But with this point I’m not even talking about actual sales, I’m just talking about making it clear what you do – that you are available for hire – and that you are good at what you do.

Schedule some tweets that you are taking on clients. Throw in your newsletter how many spots you have available next month. Let people know you are open for business. Better yet, share with people you know in person! I’m the guiltiest of not sharing what I do with people ‘in person’ but the minute I do, I get so much interest/people wanting to work together. Get yourself out there!


REACH OUT, FOLLOW UP, AND FOLLOW UP AGAIN

I know how awkward and hard pitching people can be, but if you know in your heart there is someone that you could really help and would be a great asset to them and their business – I say go for it. Be polite, be humble, be kind, and all that, but be honest: I could help you with XYZ, which would ultimately allow you to do XYZ.

If that’s just impossible and you’re shaking your head right now, then find other ways to connect. Watch their stories on Instagram, and respond when they prompt you to. Comment on blog posts. Retweet, etc. Be a part of their business and on their radar, so that if and when the opportunity arises for you to talk about working together, they already know who you are and know that you care about and support their business.

When someone contacts you about working together, and you respond, and hear crickets – follow up again! So many times I hear, “oh my gosh! Yes! Sorry XYZ happened and I forgot to respond” and then I get a client from it. Don’t be obnoxious or anything, but give it a week of no response and just ask if they had any other questions or would like to set up a call. It’s polite, and normal. I give you permission to follow up!

* please note: the series was held July 10-13th and is complete. You can access the content by clicking here!



I’m Kaitlyn, your design assistant! I work with successful creative entrepreneurs to create cohesive, clean, and compelling visuals for their businesses. You can keep being the #girlboss you are (but with more time to focus on growing your empire)! Let's set up a time to chat!


SmarterQueue: The New Tool That Is Saving Me Hours On Social Media

SmarterQueue is a social media scheduling tool that works fantastically well for people like me - busy creative entpreneurs. I’ve gone back and forth between different social media scheduling programs for a while. I kept finding issues with one or another that would frustrate me and make me want to jump ship. Either it was too expensive, or it didn’t have recycling posts, or I thought the interface was annoying to use. I actually stopped using any program for a while because I just couldn’t figure out what I wanted to stick with.

About that time I started hearing whispers of SmarterQueue and I’ll be honest the first time I logged in my initial thoughts were, “uh uh. I am not learning another one of these things just to be disappointed.”

But then one Monday morning I sat there and did it, I set up the whole schedule and everything and then I just let it run its course for the free trial period. I didn’t even think about it (or my Twitter or Facebook accounts at all).

Well, spoiler alert, the trial period won me over. It made me see the light. I’m a convert.

Here’s why you need SmarterQueue in your arsenal (trust me on this one).


CREATE A SCHEDULE + CATEGORIES

Something that I love about SmarterQueue is that it’s very much a ‘set and forget’ approach (quite possibly my favorite approach to anything). The initial set up involves creating a schedule for posts based on categories. My categories include “my own blog posts”, “self-promotion”, “other articles”, “inspiration”, “questions”, and “tips”. How the scheduler works is that you designate that at whatever time and day you want it will send one of the categories to post.

Then you take time to a fit content into those categories (which I’ll touch on next). But that’s it – SmarterQueue filters what content appears at what time based on your schedule and your categories. The schedule stays consistent but the content varies depending on what you put in and the best part is it recycles (but more on that later).

The set up honestly took me about an hour the first time. Which might seem long, until you realize you NEVER HAVE TO DO IT AGAIN. Like it’s just done. Forever. What used to take hours each week is just done. Plus, I truly had no idea what I was doing on initial set up (I'm one of those 'read directions after I'm frustrated' kind of gals), BUT had I read a post like this one I would’ve been able to do initial set up in even less time (so keep reading!).


ADDING NEW POSTS

Adding new posts into each category is simple. They have a drop down to ‘add content’ and you can either write a new one (which I did for the tips and the questions and the inspiration categories) or pull from a RSS Feed (which I did for my own posts and other blogger’s articles).

They also have the option to repost your best content (and it’ll pull from way before you started using SmarterQueue) and the coolest one – “find content” where you can literally type in someone’s username, name, etc. and find their content and related content.

It’s so easy to support other people this way and you don’t have to worry about scrolling through Twitter to find a good tweet to repost, you can search for influencers or peers you trust and repost them directly in SmarterQueue.

Oh, you already have Twitter lists created for that? Cool. Just search the name of your Twitter list and pull that up directly in SmarterQueue to pull from. It’s amazing. I wasn’t lying.

The best part of all of this is that it seamlessly shortens links for you and pulls relevant photos, so your Facebook posts always look formatted correctly and your Twitter posts always have graphics attached (which convert better).


RECYCLE POSTS (FOR HOWEVER LONG)

In the area where you are ‘writing’ a post, you’ll notice near the bottom the question “would you like this post to expire?” which really should say “do you want to make your life easier?”

Because guess what!? You can just recycle posts that you know will always be relevant (like questions that might provoke interest in your services or your own content). So I usually leave the option for posts to re-queue if I know they’ll be relevant forever in my Twitter feed (plus SmarterQueue won’t let the same post show up to close together, so no worries about back to back posting of the same exact content).

There’s also the option to have the post expire after a set number of posts (so maybe you only want to share someone else’s same content like 4-5 times, and then delete it from the schedule) OR the option to stop posting it after a certain date (which would be useful for a launch or promotion that ends).

That’s part of the ‘set and forget’ concept that I love so much. I started with probably 20 posts of other people’s content that I will always want to share and know will be relevant and useful, so I left them to never expire. Then I’ll occasionally go in and add a new post (if I’m excited about someone’s post, or featured in their post especially) randomly, to make sure it stays fresh and relevant. That process takes me about 2 minutes when I randomly think to do it (probably once a week).

"Want to 'set and forget' your #socialmedia? This is how!" [tweet that!]


ANALYTICS

I’ll be honest, I’m not great at tracking numbers in my business (which I know is just terrible of me), but if you are an analytics person SmarterQueue delivers weekly updates straight to your inbox and also has a robust analytics section in your account.

In the analytics you can study which type (category) of post is performing best, which is getting the most likes or clicks or other engagement, what time is performing best, etc.

I won’t pretend to be an expert at analytics, to me engagement and interaction with people has always held precedence over straight numbers – but it is nice to get a weekly report showing numbers increasing, clicks increasing, and followers increasing – especially when I’m honestly not doing that much (if anything) to make it happen!


NOT BREAKING THE BANK (+ AFFILIATE PROGRAM)

Here’s the best thing I’ve found – SmarterQueue is super affordable and also has a customizable package option, so depending on if you need 4 accounts linked or 40 accounts linked, you can make the package fit your needs (and not overpay for services you don’t need).

I also admire any company with an affiliate program. Regardless, if I like something enough I am going to share it with you. But, it’s nice to be rewarded for wanting to shout from the rooftops about a new program or software that is benefiting you and your business. Plus, I like when affiliate programs offer more of an incentive – SmarterQueue gives you a free 30 day trial (versus 14 day trial) when you click through my (or someone else’s) affiliate link (which are all through this article, just a heads-up)!

Ready to learn more about SmarterQueue? I’m doing a Facebook live this afternoon at 2pm EST. I’d love for you to hop into our group and hang out, plus see #BTS of my SmarterQueue account and ask any questions about set up, using, etc.!

Every link to SmarterQueue in this post is totally an affiliate link, but I promise you this: I'm legit obsessed. Hop onto my FB live, I'll show you how #obsessed I am!



SmarterQueue social media scheduling account post

I’m Kaitlyn, your design assistant! I work with successful creative entrepreneurs to create cohesive, clean, and compelling visuals for their businesses. You can keep being the #girlboss you are (but with more time to focus on growing your empire)! Let's set up a time to chat!