When people ask me how I became profitable immediately when I started my business, I always answer the same way:
“I didn’t spend ANY money on websites, business cards, marketing, or software/tools. I started by going out and FINDING CLIENTS first. That was my top and only priority. I had to prove there was a viable market for my skills before investing in anything.”
I started by being proactive and marketing myself and directly messaging potential clients. I answered job ads, messaged people via Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook, and offered my services. My message told them I could provide value with updating their website copy/blogging for them/writing marketing copy/editing books, etc.
I attached 2–3 PDFs of writing samples I’d previously written and gave a link to my free online blog.
My first 4 clients: 1 was from a direct marketing email. 1 was from Reddit’s ForHire sub, I responded to a posted ad. 1 was a response to a free ad I’d posted on Craigslist looking for clients/work, and 1 was from LinkedIn, where I directly messaged some of my contacts who are business owners/founders/CEOs, etc.
And I still get clients via social media! (Here is an article showing how I use social media to find clients with examples!)
So, getting and having clients is obviously important to having a successful business. That makes sense. But this post is NOT about marketing, this is just background info.
So, what’s the #1 tip?
Sure, marketing yourself is really the top way to be finding and gaining new clients, but what is the tip I was talking about for being a successful entrepreneur?
The #1 thing you need to do to be successful in ANY business is to have GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I know I am a decent, even a good writer. Am I the best writer in the world? Heck NO.
BUT I am extremely easy to work with.
People LIKE me, and they like working with me.
I ask questions and dig in to really understand what they need and want. I take copious notes and remember their needs and questions. I am honest; if I don’t know the answer to something, I’ll always say “I’m not sure, let me find out and let you know.” I DELIVER on my promises. Overdeliver whenever possible (getting things done before a deadline, offering extra advice, sharing ideas, etc.). I update them on my progress on their projects, so they never wonder what I’m doing or if their work is getting done. I don’t charge extra fees on top of my stated and agreed-upon rates. I make sure I have a pretty flexible schedule so I can be available to jump on a call or respond to emailed questions. I RESPOND to emails and calls quickly.
I have made it my mission to be easy to work with.
And it has made a huge impact on my business. I get a ton of client referrals, more than some other writers and editors I know. I get clients who come back to ask to work with me on different projects or different types of work. They’ll say, “Hey, do you do XYZ? I know it’s not what you usually do but…”
I make sure to give them information for free on our first call. If they are an author, I talk about publishing options and comparisons and offer to introduce them to my cover designer, if they’d like (I get no kickback or referral fee from doing so). If they are a company looking for a blogger, I offer some free ideas for topics and ways we can use calls to action.
This is what makes ANY business successful, but especially an entrepreneur.
You don’t have to be the best, most perfect expert in the world.
You have to be good at what you do, of course.
But most of all, you have to be someone people WANT to work with.
Check out my brand new book Concept to Conclusion: How to Write a Bookand learn everything you need to know to conceive of, outline, write, publish, and market a book!
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- Going Freelance is Not a “Leap of Faith”
- Why Writers Should NEVER Take 2 Cents Per Word
- How I made $10,016 in October Freelancing