how is February feeling in your business so far? Time is flying by so fast!
I’m sending you a solo episode with some practical tips and tools for finding your first or next five clients. I know there can be a lot of uncertainty in working for yourself and I think it’s really soothing and important to have an action plan in place for when you’re not sure about where you’re next client or customer is gonna come from. Tune in if you feel stuck about where to invest your time and energy to build your online business and find your next clients!
Enjoy and let me know if you have any questions at all.
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⋒ Hi, my name is Yarrow and I am your host.
My Embodied Business podcast explores what it means to build a livelihood with integrity, joy and anti capitalist values. I offer practical guidance on tech, strategy, ethical marketing, creativity and money and interview other small business owners who do things their own way.
You can learn more about my work, listen to other episodes or join my community at PinkWellStudio.com
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Hey everyone, my name is Yarrow and you’re listening to the DIY small business podcast. Welcome back. Today I have a solo episode for you. We’re gonna talk about practical tips to help you find your first or next five clients. I know that can be really important, especially in the beginning of your business. And I really want to share with you my experiences and some tools, and help you feel more positive and excited about finding awesome people to work with. Before I start a quick update from me, I am moving houses on Wednesday a bit overwhelming. But long story short, my dog was really badly bitten by my neighbor’s dog, and he will be okay. But he needed surgery and it was pretty traumatising and scary. And we’ve decided that this isn’t the best place for us to live when we fire just down the road, basically. And the new place we found is really beautiful. But I hadn’t been planning on moving as quickly as there are I still really really love Scotland and still swimming in the sea. And I had a lot of other plans. But sometimes life is like that. And I’m really grateful to be location independent and set up in a way that makes this possible. So yeah, otherwise, I have really beautiful clients and projects on at the moment. And booking business mentoring and web design for the spring. If you’re interested in that you can book a free few that call. The link to that will be in the show notes. And otherwise, yeah, let me know what you would like me to talk about since I’m not on social media anymore, which I’m still really enjoying that isn’t so much immediate feedback about questions or things that you would like to learn more about. So I really just want to say again, that I really just so appreciate emails, or little messages on whatever platform you can message me on my Patreon as well. That email is email@example.com. And of course, you can message me in my mighty network as well. But yeah, if there’s anything that you want to learn more about, or hear someone else’s experiences on them, let me know, I’m really excited to record some more solo episodes this year. Well, I also have really cool guests lined up for interviews. Okay, so now onto today’s actual show practical tips to find you help you find your first or next five clients. So first of all, I want to say that I think there’s anxiety around what’s next is really real for all of us. I don’t know, a single enterpreneur, a small business owner who always knows Yeah, this is what I’m going to do the next 12 months, I think that’s pretty rare. And of course, we get to a point where we feel pretty comfortable and things flow. And that’s beautiful, too. But there’s always a little bit of uncertainty. And that can of course Nzs induce anxiety. And I think that can be true at any level. You know, that doesn’t mean that you’re not successful. It doesn’t mean that you have failed in any way. I think that’s just part of life. And there are upsides and downsides to being an employment. But it certainly does offer you more certainty around what’s next. So I, I’ve mentioned this before, but last year, I found the business journal that I was using in my first year in business, and I had so many really anxious nodes. And I was like calculating really carefully how much I was expecting to come in and what my next steps would be kind of what costs were coming up that I had to pay. And
there wasn’t a spaciousness, I would say that I think there was a lot of tight grouping and really trying my very best to kind of line up the next projects. And eventually, you know, there came a much more steady flow, like I said, and I haven’t had any gaps in my calendar, I think for almost four years now. So I’ve been booked the way I want to be booked, I don’t want to say full time because I don’t always want to work full time. And that’s actually something I’m very proud of. And it’s something I’ve always really wanted to have a little bit more free time and flexibility. But I will say, for the past four years, I have been booked as much as I wanted to be booked. And I would like to sometimes book a little more in the future. So I would love to book clients for the summer now but I also really just enjoy the kind of creativity and this dance with like moving between different spaces and having periods of time where I’m relaunching a programme or I’m re recording a course or or that I’m helping someone else launch or I’m working on a website and so I’m okay with that right now. This feels good to me. Anyway, I really think it’s helpful for those moments where we do feel anxiety to have a very clear plan in place, which strategies and things that we can do to find the next two clients so that when this anxiety hits which can sometimes be released Then we’re not kind of reinventing the wheel every time, or wondering what we should do and really panicking. But we’re just kind of opening up our general returning to our list and we’ll come near working through it, and just doing the best that we can. And the first thing that I want to invite you to think about is to be really clear on what you’re actually offering. And maybe that sounds like common sense, in which case, great, you probably have a really clear offering already. But if you don’t really, really look at your website again, and see if what the offering is super clear, if someone is interested in your work, maybe they come across you on a podcast interview on Instagram, and they want to know more Do they really, really, really know how they can work with you and how much it’s going to be and what it will look like. And if not, then that’s something that I would really invite you to get on top of. And make that super clear. Which leads me to my next idea, offering more long term containers and packages can be really important in making sure that you have a continuous flow of clients and projects that income. So for example, there’s a lot of people out there that only offer one off sessions. And sometimes those one off sessions make sense. And there can be this really beautiful Spark. Or maybe you’re offering a product, one of like a piece of artwork, or a whole package, something like that. But I bet that there’s people out there who are actually so in love with your work that they’re willing to commit in a more long term way. So either they maybe want a long term coaching package with you, or they want your ongoing support as a VA, or maybe they want to subscribe to a herbal package to get something from you every season. Or maybe they want to support your idea in an ongoing way, and become a Patreon. And by the way, I have a whole other episode on building a Patreon, if you want to check that out that might be relevant. So really thinking about what can someone do if they love your work so much that they want to commit. And also with that bearing in mind that you’re not necessarily asking for their firstborn child, you know, I think it can be really beautiful for them as well, to know this is this cat, or this product, or this treat is coming their way anyway, they’ve committed to treating themselves to it. And they are kind of liberating themselves from having to make that decision over and over again. There’s a small bookshop, for example, in Scotland that I support by having a book subscription subscription with them, I really want to read their fiction. And they have this thing where you pay a tenner a month, and then they send you this surprise novel. And it’s really beautifully packaged, and you never know what you’re going to get. But they also always add this little note about why they chose this particular book this month. And it’s just so sweet. And I’ve really, really enjoyed in so many ways, it’s often something I wouldn’t have chosen myself. And it kind of broadens my experience because I get to hear or read about all these different voices. And I’m really enjoying that. So I’m so grateful that they’re offering that. And there’s been other bookshops that I would also love to support in this way, where I was like, Hey, I wish that was available. And who knows, you know, maybe that people in your world right now that wish that was available from you.
And then the next thing that I want to share is to make it a habit to check on your user experience. So I like to think of this as as the onion model. And I will just kind of intro this and there’s other spaces in which I go much deeper. But basically, you are at the core, like your energy and creativity, what you offer is at the core of this onion, and then the outer layer is kind of like you could also think of it as the galaxy or different planets. But the outer layer is basically the first touching point that people have with your work that might be in a podcast might be Instagram. And the next layer of the excited I want to come closer to you, they maybe subscribe to your newsletter or they buy like a small product of you. And the closer they come. The bigger the commitment is in terms of time and energy. And the more you can also show up for them because your time and energy is also being honoured. So I guess it’s all about exchange, right? But if you think about it in these different layers, it makes sense to check how that’s flowing if someone first comes across your work. So say for example, you’ve been on someone else’s podcast? Have you linked back to your website? And then when they land on your website? Is it on a homepage immediately clear within 10 seconds, what you’re offering and what they can expect to learn more about on the side if they choose to stay? Or have you linked to everything that you’re offering from your Instagram account is that super easy to navigate? And it might be helpful to ask a friend because obviously you know what you’re offering you are in your own world, but someone else who has nothing to do with what you’re doing. Do they immediately really understand what it is that you do and how they could work with you. And maybe if you are part of online spaces, community groups on social media, you can Also ask strangers for that kind of feedback and make it an exchange and say, Hey, you know, like we work in totally different fields, should we maybe check each other’s user experience out and make some notes on that that could be so insightful and really help you optimise that in a way that brings you closer to booking the next five clients or selling the next five things. The next thing is reaching out to past clients, not just for testimonials, not just to see how they’re doing, but also to see if there’s anything that as that they might need from you. Maybe you have some ideas, maybe you just want to offer them 10% off as a repeat kind, lots of different options there. But I think staying in touch definitely makes sense. That’s something that hasn’t always been super good at or intentional about, I would say that I have so many kinds that become friends and that I still am in touch with and I love seeing their business unfold. But I would also say in the first few years, I haven’t followed up with every single web design project that I’ve done, and I wish I had because, you know, it’s always cool to see what people get up to. And that’s something that I now really want to prioritise and make time for. So you might want to reach out to past clients. And you can invite feedback, maybe you can ask them for testimonial, but you can also encourage word of mouth. And that doesn’t have to be sleazy at all, you don’t have to say like, hey, please tell your friend about me right now, because I currently don’t have anything lined up and I’m panicking, you can just really gently encourage word of mouth. Sometimes I think all it takes is to remind people, that that’s something that’s really, really important for us as small business owners. So at the bottom of your newsletter, for example, you can have a note and say, do you have a friend in mind that maybe would enjoy reading this, feel free to forward it to them? Or at the end of a project that you can say, hey, like, how has this been for you? Is there anything else I could do. And if you have someone else who might benefit from my service, I would so appreciate you telling them about me. And again, it sounds like common sense. But I know that I myself have often forgotten that. And when I’ve worked with someone as and hired something out, I’ve also not always been asked to think about them when someone has a similar need. And I think that’s that’s so beautiful, like many of us just really as so committed to supporting small businesses and want to help each other. So why not ask about it specifically. Of course, you can also send a newsletter that really helps. And I think it is obviously good to not just send newsletters when you’re panicking. But it can be a way to fill spots on short notice again, in the first few years, when I had a big cabin my calendar, I would sometimes send a newsletter and say, Hey, I have this last minute opening, and I’m offering it for 20% off, does anyone want to take that. And that’s sometimes has worked for me. And I really now want to have a more consistent kind of routine of sharing and reaching out to people. And it’s not just like the emergency thing anymore. But at the same time, I think that’s enough as well. And I think also that we can be honest about that, you know, there’s no shame in saying I don’t have anything booked this week, or I have
this like, I don’t know, if overstock is the right word, I you know, I have too much stock if there’s one thing that I made. And so I’m offering it as a discount, and it would be helpful for you, if you were sharing that. And the thing that you can do is reach out to other podcast hosts. So that’s maybe like more of a bit of a long run, because many podcast hosts have a schedule and pre recorded interviews. So you might not get in that immediately. But it’s a really nice habit to develop, and a really beautiful way to connect with new clients. Because a podcast interview gives you much more of a chance to talk about your story, and that your voice be heard then, as social media space, for example, usually because you know, episodes are longer, you get to answer more questions could be really a fun and beautiful experience. Another tip is to answer questions in groups and just generally to be really helpful when you’re looking for clients. So in the first few years of her business, she like I bring up all these old stories, but I was hanging out a lot in Facebook groups, and I just answered people’s questions. So I would go in. And in the search bar, I would put something like WordPress or web design. And there were dozens of people every day asking questions around this stuff. And I didn’t, you know, didn’t specifically say that, Oh, this is what to do or market myself, but they would give a really kind and considered answer. And I was being really helpful. And then some of those people clicked on my profile were like, Oh, yeah, do you notice stuff because this is actually your job. Maybe I should hire you. And this is how I found a significant number of my clients. And I think it’s a win win situation because you’re helping people whether or not they have a budget to work with you and that’s really cool. So they get their questions answered. You get a bit of exposure and you also get a sense of for what people are asking for and struggling with which is really helpful. developing your own products or services. And then of course, you want to get organised around regular promotion. So and that could, that could, of course, look so many different ways. But generally what I mean is really coming up with a pace or a schedule for how you want to promote. So if you choosing, for example, Instagram as a space to be present with your business, then maybe you want to challenge yourself to talk about an offering that you have twice a week. And if that feels difficult to show up for regularly, then maybe you want to consider something like the free version of later.com, where you scheduling those eight posts a month in as beginning of the month, and then you hold yourself accountable. And you know, you know, your business will be talked about at least twice a week on Instagram. And the rest of the time, you can just spontaneously pose whatever comes up for you. And that’s cool and playful. But you also are committed to really finding those next clients and talking about what you’re offering. And last thing I want to share is really thinking more creatively about where your potential clients are and hang out and then hang out there too. So is that Pinterest? Or is that maybe linked in? Or are they actually looking on local notice boards in real life or something cool that you might be offering. So that might not be the most obvious thing to do, I think in this business world that we’re in, we often think, oh, we have to be on Instagram, we should build a newsletter list. And then maybe we’ll have some Facebook ads or something. But so often, that have really different places that we’re not
considering at all because they’re not as common. But depending on your niche, that could be something really important to think about and also to revisit frequently. So to summarise what I shared, I think it’s really good and important to make regular time to work on your business, rather than Enter to avoid these periods of time where you’re panicking because you’re not sure where your next times are coming from. And at the same time, when you do have a moment of feeling a bit scared about where the next income or the next paycheck is coming from, to have this emergency list of things that you can do immediately. And so to recap, that could be something like, Okay, I’m going to reach out to three past clients, I’m just going to schedule five promotional Instagram posts, I’m going to send a newsletter, and really think about something valuable that you can share in it, rather than just panicking and discounting my services. And then I’m going to remember to really ask people for word of mouth recommendations. And I’m going to work on my shame around that. Because I think it’s important, I want to build my business and I believe in what I’m offering. And then maybe another thing on your list could be reaching out to a podcast, to see if you can be a guest, or just spending an hour answering some questions on the internet that could you know, you don’t obviously have to be in groups to do that. You could also use your Instagram stories and little sticker functionality there and say, Hey, I have a bit of time today. Do you have a question? Is there anything that can help you with just being helpful? And this list of your kind of five things that you can do when you’re panicking, and you want to find your next client? Obviously, that will look different for everyone. But I hope that this episode has given you some ideas and kind of like some understanding that there’s ways of working with that anxiety, and those ways of income and projects to kind of create a little bit more stability and certainty for yourself. And I think being in that place of feeling like well, you know, I might not always know what exactly I’m going to do three months from now. But I know what it can do if if I get a bit nervous. And I trust myself to work like this work is a much better place to be creative. And as well because being anxious around core needs is is really killing our creativity. And that’s no one’s fault. That’s a that’s partly a systemic problem that I think we’re all facing. And so, yeah, I really hope you can come up with your own list of your own and grow your confidence that way and also support each other. Thank you so much for listening and have a beautiful week.