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  • #2192043

    Self Employed? How do you get new clients?


    by darren ·

    Hi Guys,

    I’ve been doing this for the last two and a bit years, providing IT support from my back bedroom. I am wanting to take things to a new level and i am wondering how you guys and gals go about getting new prospects.

    Do you advertise? if so where and how? how successful is it?

    A lot of my customers are word of mouth and im getting new customers this way all the time. I give my customers 20 business cards and make sure they know what to do with them.

    Looking forward to your replies….


All Comments

  • Author
    • #3142086

      Word of mouth

      by zlitocook ·

      In reply to Self Employed? How do you get new clients?

      Is the best way and the cheapest. It helps if you are below the going rate at least to start and be talkative if they want it. I mean tell them or show them what you are doing, I get allot of flack for this. Because if you show them how to fix some thing they may not call the next time. But it builds great customer relations and they will tell others about how good you are.
      Be professional and do not walk around with your nose in the air, more contractors are not called back because the customer feels like the contractor thinks they are better then them.
      Make friends and chat with them.

      • #3112490

        You got it

        by tcspwa ·

        In reply to Word of mouth

        I couldn’t agree more.
        Start with letter drops or any way you can to get your name out there.
        But your reputation is all you got.
        Build it up and don’t mess with it. I’ve not advertised for 3 years and word of mouth keeps me going. Be friendly, talk to them, ‘translate’ for them where needed and hang in there.

      • #3111679 careful competing on price…

        by projectcoach ·

        In reply to Word of mouth

        Word of mouth and telling them how good you are are good strategies – but be careful competing solely on price – some people don’t quibble on price. They equate high price with high quality and vice versa.

        If you compete on price, what message could you be sending to potential customers? If you don’t value your services, how do you espect your customers to? “I don’t think I’m as good as Joe down the road, so I charge you less.” “I’m a beginner so I charge less while I learn on your job” Not the message you want your customers to get.

        It can be difficult to increase prices once you have established a lower rate for the job.

        If you compete on price, you risk attracting only those customers who base their buying decisions on price. I’d like to have at least some of those who buy on quality.

        (If everyone bought on price, we’d all be driving Skodas – some folk want a Porsche – and are prepared to pay for it)

        So be talkative, find out about customer needs before quoting a price first (as I’m sure you do anyay) – Convince them that you are the best person for the job and price becomes less of an issue.

        One way to move to the next level may be t attract more customers – another may be to attract different customers.

        Of course you may be unlucky and be in a very price sensitive market – but a lot of markets may be less price sensitive than you think. It’s always a judgement call – part of the joy of being self employed.

        If you are interested in a bit more about what could get people to buy, can I recommend “Influence” by Psychologist Robert Cialdini. Readable and should prompt some thoughts.

        Your 20 business cards strategy shows you know the power of referrals and are open to different strategies – Always a good sign.

        Good Luck in your business.

        Neil Chambers
        Bristol, England

        • #3111240

          At least be sensitive to the competition

          by rsimanski ·

          In reply to careful competing on price…

          I agree that we should compete on value and service rather than just price. However, we must at least be aware of our competition and what they are charging. This is particularly true for those of us who specialize in supporting home and home-office users.

          In the Washington, DC area, my colleagues and I are facing competition from Geek Squad, Geeks on Call, and online support services. Many of these companies charge flat, fixed prices that would be hard for us to match. They can do this because they pay their people very poorly, but the customer doesn’t know this.

          We also have to be aware of the fact that with many companies, including Dell, selling sub-$500 PCs, many of our clients and potential clients are buying new PCs instead of getting their existing ones fixed.

    • #3269126


      by silvergreen ·

      In reply to Self Employed? How do you get new clients?

      Hi Darren.

      I recommend you research a marketing technique known as viral marketing. If anything, it’s good knowledge to have. The techniques are low cost and could yield good results.

      Here are some other methods or techniques you can apply to market right away (taken from: Marketing Your Consulting Services – by Elaine Biech)

      Fast Fourteen to Do Today
      1. Print mailing labels for fourteen of your best clients; then purchase fourteen
      appropriate (funny, thank you, thinking of you) cards from your local card
      shop.Write a sentence or two in each and mail them off.
      2. Find a great article in a recent business magazine issue. Purchase fourteen
      copies of the magazine and mark the article with a Post-it? and a note from
      you. Send it to fourteen potential clients.
      3. Attend your next professional or service organization meeting. Select fourteen
      people and give each person two business cards?one to keep and one
      to pass on.
      4. Call people you know and ask them to suggest others you might help. Do
      not stop until you have fourteen names and phone numbers.
      Preface xxv
      5. Call the fourteen names provided to you in the previous idea. Ask for time
      on their calendars to chat with you about how you might be able to help
      6. Add fourteen names to your mailing list. Send each a brochure with a note
      from you.
      7. Identify fourteen dormant clients (people you have not spoken to in two
      years) and call them to see what they have been doing.
      8. Read a good book? Seen a great website? E-mail the title and author or the
      website address with fourteen words about why you liked it to fourteen people
      who could refer you to new clients.
      9. Write a fourteen-paragraph article for your website. Then contact fourteen
      clients and ask them to read it and provide you with feedback.
      10. Take fourteen minutes to decide how you could improve your answering machine
      messages. Then implement the ideas.
      11. Go to your local bookstore. Scan at least fourteen of the newest books that
      focus on your area of expertise. Identify phrases, concepts, and thoughts you
      could use in your next prospecting letter.
      12. Identify fourteen events, such as conferences, meetings, or social gatherings,
      that will occur in the next year, where you could touch base with potential
      clients. Add all fourteen to your annual calendar.
      13. Identify fourteen strangers to whom you would like to sell your services. Skip
      ahead and read Chapter Seven to determine how to prospect.
      14. Identify fourteen journals, magazines, and newspapers to which you could
      submit an article or a press release.

      For what it’s worth… Some of these may be a good fit for you business.

      • #3164064

        Grind It Out

        by jkowolf ·

        In reply to advice

        I don’t know if ’14’ is the magic number, but the idea of continuously dripping on past, present, and future clients is a great idea. If any one of these ideas generates a client, it’s worth it.

        And finally, don’t forget to ask for their business. You won’t get it if you don’t.

    • #3164160

      You are your business – project and deliver value

      by brianaaaaaa2 ·

      In reply to Self Employed? How do you get new clients?

      The difference between self-employed and unemployed is as simple as what clothes you wear on a given day. Boxers and a T-Shirt till noon and you my friend are not working for yourself but extending your unemployment vacation. – Yes lesson learned from personal experience.

      Publish a phone number (mobile or 800 service) on your web site and on your business cards. Answer that phone when it rings. Answer your email as soon as possible. Make sure you would consider services from your own web site, and then make sure it is on the first page for key words targeting your city and services. Use Google suggest (free) to see which 2 or 3 relevant phrases are searched most often and then get better position for those phrases. Don’t bother with related terms – focus! Have good business cards and carry them with you everywhere you go. Be ready, (not dressed like a bum) relaxed, friendly and professional if you run into a client or potential client while out in public – like shopping at Best Buy or when you go out to eat.

      If you project and deliver value for the few clients you have your business will grow without crazy marketing schemes and time consuming marketing to-do lists! You are your business and how you project yourself and deliver on your services to your clients – that is your marketing plan.

      P.S. if you need to promote just to drive revenue to pay some bills short term (hey, been there, done that.) then make appointments with your existing contacts. If they do not need your services right away ask if they have partners, suppliers, etc who may need your services? Conversation can open up unexpected opportunities; spend time with your clients instead of doing viral marketing which is, I believe the business equivalent of speed dating.

      Stay focused and good luck!

      • #3164143

        Hear, hear

        by caleb.mutsumba ·

        In reply to You are your business – project and deliver value

        Here are some NH quotes which may help……….

        Napoleon Hill
        1883 – 1970
        Napoleon Hill was an American writer and philsopher. He spent much of his life studying successful people and wrote many books documenting his findings.
        All of his books are still widely read today and the principles he wrote about still apply. One of his most widely read books is “Think and Grow Rich”. The first sentence of the book is: TRULY, ‘thoughts are things,’ and powerful things that, when they are mixed with definiteness of purpose, persistence, and a burning desire for their translation into riches, or other material objects.” This book is often described as a powerful motivational book!
        Napoleon Hill was truly a motivational writer and his work lives on! If you enjoy the quotes below, you may enjoy reading Napoleon Hill’s books!
        Motivational & Inspirational Quotes by Napoleon Hill:
        “Most so-called Failures are only temporary defeats.”
        Napoleon Hill
        “Your big opportunity may be right where you are now.”
        Napoleon Hill

        “Any idea, plan, or purpose may be placed in the mind through repetition of thought.”
        Napoleon Hill
        “Big pay and little responsibility are circumstances seldom found together.”
        Napoleon Hill
        “A goal is a dream with a deadline.”
        Napoleon Hill
        “First comes thought; then organization of that thought, into ideas and plans; then transformation of those plans into reality. The beginning, as you will observe, is in your imagination.”
        Napoleon Hill
        “Hold a picture of yourself long and steadily enough in your mind’s eye, and you will be drawn toward it.”
        Napoleon Hill
        “Education comes from within; you get it by struggle and effort and thought.”
        Napoleon Hill
        “No person can succeed in a line of endeavor which one does not like.”
        Napoleon Hill
        “All achievements, all earned riches, have their beginning in an idea.”
        Napoleon Hill
        “Life reflects your own thoughts back to you.”
        Napoleon Hill
        “There is no hope of success for the person who does not have a central purpose, or definite goal at which to aim.”
        Napoleon Hill
        “You can do it if you believe you can!”
        Napoleon Hill
        “You will resemble, tomorrow, the DOMINATING THOUGHTS that you keep alive in your mind today!”
        Napoleon Hill
        “Initiative is as essential to success as a hub is essential to a wagon wheel.”
        Napoleon Hill
        “The reason man may become the master of his own destiny is because he has the power to influence his own subconscious mind.”
        Napoleon Hill
        “If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way.”
        Napoleon Hill
        “Man, alone, has the power to transform his thoughts into physical reality; man, alone, can dream and make his dreams come true.”
        Napoleon Hill
        “Every person who wins in any undertaking must be willing to cut all sources of retreat. Only by doing so can one be sure of maintaining that state of mind known as a burning desire to win — essential to success.”
        Napoleon Hill
        “The ladder of success is never crowded at the top.”
        Napoleon Hill
        “First comes thought; then organization of that thought, into ideas and plans; then transformation of those plans into reality. The beginning, as you will observe, is in your imagination.”
        Napoleon Hill
        “It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed.”
        Napoleon Hill
        “Just as our eyes need light in order to see, our minds need ideas in order to conceive.”
        Napoleon Hill
        “Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.”
        Napoleon Hill
        “Desire is the starting point of all achievement, not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything.”
        Napoleon Hill
        “More gold has been mined from the thoughts of men than has been taken from the earth.”
        Napoleon Hill
        “Most great people have attained their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure.”
        Napoleon Hill
        “Knowledge is only potential power.”
        Napoleon Hill
        “Cherish your visions and your dreams, as they are the children of your soul, the blueprints of your ultimate achievements.”
        Napoleon Hill
        “The world has the habit of making room for the man whose actions show that he knows where he is going.”
        Napoleon Hill
        “There are no limitations to the mind except those we acknowledge.”
        Napoleon Hill
        “Persistence is to the character of man as carbon is to steel.”
        Napoleon Hill
        “The majority of men meet with failure because of their lack of persistence in creating new plans to take the place of those which fail.”
        Napoleon Hill
        “No man is ever whipped until he quits in his own mind.”
        Napoleon Hill
        “Think and grow rich.”
        Napoleon Hill
        “You give before you get.”
        Napoleon Hill
        “The starting point of all achievement is desire.”
        Napoleon Hill
        “When defeat comes, accept it as a signal that your plans are not sound, rebuild those plans, and set sail once more toward your coveted goal.”
        Napoleon Hill
        “When your desires are strong enough you will appear to possess superhuman powers to achieve.”
        Napoleon Hill

    • #3164132

      The Computer Tutor

      by jack-m ·

      In reply to Self Employed? How do you get new clients?

      Hi and good luck. It’s a tough biz to get started, I know from 1st hand experience. I offer setup, installation of hardware and software and instruction at the customers site.
      What I did was start by getting some inexpensive biz cards printed. I handed them out when appropriate and posted them at places like public bulletin boards at grocery stores, local public or semi-public social gathering places like bingo halls, church basements, the unemployment office etc. I was going to put up a web site but realized my potential clientele wouldn’t be able to see it without a computer that was already up and running. I advertised in the local paper at Xmas time for people getting a computer as a gift. When possible I left or posted my biz card at places like Circuit City, Staples, Office Max and the like. With some places it was OK. With some they said no.
      I used friends, relatives, social clubs (Lions, VFW, bars, barber and beauty shops etc.) for word of mouth advertising. I asked my wife and kids to spread my card around at their spots. I offered discounts (Ha Ha) if you were a member of anything, church, VFW etc. Actually it was my standard price that I needed to make it work.
      Draw up a business plan and determine how much you have to charge based on how many hours you’ll work to set your price. Some jobs are best by the hour, some by the job. When someone buys a computer new or used it can have a bunch of spy ware, malware, bots, cookies etc. on it from being used in a showroom or by the previous owner. Get a disk with “removers” for all those things. Free stuff like SpyBot, Ad-Aware, Ewido Asquared etc. I had a few customers who bought broad band and when it was installed wouldn’t work because of the above. The installer from the broadband company wouldn’t/couldn’t spend the time to clean up his computer and so his broadband was useless….till I came along and got rid of the crap on his “new” system.
      I’m rambling. Write me at jbm125 at if you want.

      • #3210640

        Keep to the grind.

        by gregcheek ·

        In reply to The Computer Tutor

        No doubt its a difficult tasks, but one that can be successful. I’ve been working from home now for about 3 years. I sometimes take short term assignments to offset lulls in business; but not often. Advertise, advertise, advertise and then be able to deliver. There are literally millions of households still at the beginning stages of computer ownership and use…untapped resources. Also, the small biz offices in and around your area..those with 10 workstations or less are good but only for acute work, they normally don’t or wont sign for service contracts. You’ll need a few contracts, so look to make contact with small biz with up to 100-200 workstations and a few servers for consultant work. DON’T QUIT.

    • #3164127


      by allen4536 ·

      In reply to Self Employed? How do you get new clients?


      You are getting clients the most effective way possible. If there is a BNI chapter near you, join it. That is a great way to get new clients. Here is the link to BNI Europe:

      BNI UK Official Website


      • #3164123

        Network, network, network

        by trevor wood ·

        In reply to Networking

        My best customers have all come from word of mouth. Get the word out, network, network, network. I too am a BNI member and 1 referal paid for my membership for 2 years!

        Try also (assuming you’re in the UK) Chamber of Commerce, Federation of Small Businesses, trade shows (as a visitor if you can’t afford to exhibit) – anything where you meet people, get a chance to present your business and pass out your business card

        • #3164081

          Sneaker-net always works!!!

          by drobert ·

          In reply to Network, network, network

          Having been in our own successful biz for over 10 yrs now, word of mouth is the best but also the slowest. Networking is good, but you have to do it really well to get results.

          Forget about the yellow pages unless you can afford $1,000+ a month! Local papers may work sometimes depending on your demographics.

          The BEST way we’ve found is the old fashioned sneaker-net! That’s right, getting out and knocking on doors. YOU get to target which customers you want (we targeted small businesses). Develop an introductory flyer (just a half page in Publisher works fine) and print it out in COLOR on GOOD paper. Walk into the business, hand it to the receptionist and ask her to pass it along to the person in charge of the IT dept. That’s all! Believe it or not you WILL get a response!

          It won’t be a lot, but you will get the customers that you want. We picked a 5 mile square area close to us and knocked on every business door. We spend about 1-2 hours a day, 3 days a week and it took about 6 months to cover the entire area. We got about a 5% gain in clients, but just one of those clients added $50K to our bottom line over the next year! One client sat on the flyer for over a year before they called us the first time.

          We’ve tried it all-all the gimmicks, etc., and this is the ONLY thing that had an immediate impact.

          As long as you are PEOPLE-FRIENDLY and can provide the service, that is what clients are looking for. They don’t want a geeky guy coming in and telling them everything is wrong and they need all new PCs…just solve their immediate problem and nurture the relationship. Always follow up the first visit with a WRITTEN thank you card by snail-mail…NOT email.

          If you are working out of your house (like we are), you can afford to undercut the industry rates by a hefty margin as well, which is what you may have to do to get in the door at first. Then increase your rates after six months, etc.

          Just some quick thoughts on what we found that works!

          Good luck!

        • #3164074

          Yellow pages

          by sbrooks ·

          In reply to Sneaker-net always works!!!

          “Forget about the yellow pages unless you can afford $1,000+ a month! Local papers may work sometimes depending on your demographics.”

          There comes a point where Yellow Pages become a viable proposition. We started WOM, then local papers, then YP, yes it’s nearly a $1000 a month, yes it’s worth $1000 a month, 4 or 5 calls a DAY from YP plus our existing customer base brings in plenty to cover the cost.

          Our website brings in some custom, after years of work we are very hi on ranking for google but that doesn’t compare to YP, we even get calls from eastern states (we are in W.A) looking for help for their local business branches after they find on the web.

          Keep in mind that it’s a gradual process, you can get into Yellow Pages, as we did, for a few hundred a week and build your advertising over several years.

        • #3112584

          Yellow Pages didn’t work for me…

          by zulumiz ·

          In reply to Yellow pages

          3 years ago, I got into the YP very cheaply because Verizon was trying to break into the area. We have about 5 different books and Verizon was the new kid on the block. I got a 2″x2″ ad with graphic for only $30 a month! And that was listed under 2 headings and also in the text section as bold. I jumped in and stayed for 3 years. Over that time, the price jumped to $36. That was fine by me. Unfortunately, over those 3 years, I received only 3 phone calls from the ads. They were all small one-time jobs.

          99% of my clients are word of mouth. I did many of the things listed by others in this post, but 2 days ago, when Verizon called to renew the ad, they wanted to double the cost to $68 a month. I told them to cancel. It just wasn’t getting me anywhere…

        • #3112505

          $1000 a month! Holy Mackeral!

          by putergurl ·

          In reply to Yellow Pages didn’t work for me…

          I pay about $600 per year for our YP ad. It definitely zoomed our business; I would say we are 70/30 WOM/YP. We are in a rural area though, big city YP Im sure is expensive. You should certainly ask your customers how they found you so you can evaluate the effectiveness of your advertising dollar.
          Such wonderful help being offered here, you can’t go wrong with any of the suggestions, but some will work better than others depending on your area.
          My 2-cents is to work your exisiting customer base. I call every customer just prior to 1 year out. Many of them bought AV from us and need the next package anyway; they are typically happy to get an on-site call to go over other things, answer questions, and check on their system too. At the very least, it gets your name into their head again so they think of you when one of their associates needs help.

        • #3168011

          Hmmm, I don’t know…

          by el guapo ·

          In reply to Sneaker-net always works!!!

          what you’re doing sounds like ‘unwanted’ soliciation to me.

      • #3112683

        Be Careful with Networking Groups

        by pmpsicle ·

        In reply to Networking

        One of the problems with networking groups is picking the group that is most likely to bring you business.

        If you are selling to big business networking with a group like BNI probably won’t work. If you’re selling to individuals it will. If you’re selling to small businesses it might.

        The second issue is to choose the right chapter. Once you’ve identified a group who will have access to your clientelle you need to choose a chapter which actually will work to get you business. Often chapters in groups like BNI will go through a cycle – hard working then no working. They can easily degrade into a social group and forget that they are there to generate business leads for each other. Watch out for what I call the Amway effect. Virtually every group has one or more “Amway” type members. They’re easy targets when you need a lead — so people buy a cheap product from them. They get lots of leads but everyone else gets nothing. But the lead or reference requirement gets covered and the stats look good. So before joining figure out who those people are and eliminate their leads (unless you’re selling Amway :>).

        Glen Ford

        • #3112665

          great advice

          by cttechie ·

          In reply to Be Careful with Networking Groups

          I, too, was with BNI for about 6 months before having to leave b/c I took on a FT job. Just about every referral I got was for someone in the group. A couple of them have kept me on, so it’s paid off well. But, there was a guy in the group who really screwed everyone over. He was the visitor chairperson or whatever and sold insurance. Strangely, the group never grew. They recently found out that he was setting up meetings with potential group members before they joined and was excessively aggressive about selling insurance to them – a huge no-no. He managed to scare just about every prospect away. Meanwhile, he’d dole out leads which almost always turned out to be worthless cold calls.

          Also, the 7:00 a.m. weekly meetings were a killer!

    • #3164084

      Keeping your office open

      by docpower8411 ·

      In reply to Self Employed? How do you get new clients?

      I have been self employed for 21 years and have 6 business running at this time. I had a friend that told me the following. “Your mouth is your business, keep it open.” So no matter where I go to eat lunch, have a drink, or pay a bill. If someone will listen then I am always talking.

    • #3164080

      Get NEW clients

      by howlmoon ·

      In reply to Self Employed? How do you get new clients?

      Network, and advertise in some form or fashion, also ask your current clients if they know someone that could use your expertise.

    • #3164063

      It takes twice and much…

      by keith.j.kunz ·

      In reply to Self Employed? How do you get new clients?

      Dear Darren,

      I did contract system engineering work and custom programming (successfully) for over twenty years from 1985 to 2005. Here are some of the secrets:

      It always takes twices as long, costs twice as much and is twice as hard as you anticipated.

      You must deliver what you say you are going to deliver. This is extremely difficult and rare.

      You must have skills and credentials that people can verify and validate by your past performance with other clients.

      You must be an excellent listener and be skilled in explaining technical options to your clients and potential clients without intimidating them with techy jargon.

      At the risk of sounding quaint … you must be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courtious, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, (morally) clean and reverent. Don’t smoke, drink or take drugs either.

      Be in the right place and the right time with the right information and the right solution for each client.

      Have a nice day.

    • #3163970

      A few things…

      by alias ·

      In reply to Self Employed? How do you get new clients?

      Save your advertising dollars. They won’t do much for you in the beginning. Advertising only helps reinforce the idea that you still exist. There are better ways to get GOOD customers:

      1. Join the Chamber of Commerce and go to Chamber socials. All of them. Get involved on a committee or two.

      2. Join BNI It is a structured business netowrking group focused solely on passing referrals.

      3. GET INVOLVED in your community. Rotary Club, Lions Club, Kiwanis, little league, whatever. People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.

      4. Have a listing in the Yellow Pages. If you aren’t in there, you are not a “legitimate” company. However, you don’t get good cusotmers this way – just people looking for the lowest price.

      Do 1 -3 and you won’t have a shortage of referrals.

    • #3163962

      Get new clients

      by thepcrepairman ·

      In reply to Self Employed? How do you get new clients?

      Ive been in the pc service on my own for over 15 years. Six years ago iI moved from southern CA to northern AZ. I tried several types of advertising from yellow pages, buying miling lists, joining the loacl Chamber of Commerce, etc. But the best money I spent was to have magnetic signs made and put on my car. I have signs on both sides and on the trunk. The cost was cheep, less than $150, and the results were great. Wherever I go people see my car. Also set your prices at a reasonable level. If you overcharge you’ll only see a client once.

    • #3163866

      Give it away

      by sterling “chip” camden ·

      In reply to Self Employed? How do you get new clients?

      I’ve been an independent consultant for 15 years now. Almost all of my business has come via word of mouth, or by sending something free to someone who looks like a prospect.

      Blogging is, as Robert Scoble and Shel Israel say, “word of mouth on steroids”. If you blog regularly and link to lots of people, you’ll get seen. I also post to a programming tips site (, which has drawn in some business as well. Put yourself out there, offer some freebies, get your name known.

    • #3112666

      Classifieds and networking

      by cttechie ·

      In reply to Self Employed? How do you get new clients?

      I’ve had a small classified ad in a local paper (8 of them, actually) and have gotten the majority of my clients that way. I briefly joined a networking group, which def paid off, but not sure how it will be long-term.

      I read a great book recently by an IT consultant and one idea that has paid of huge for him is to build a network of salespeople (regardless of their industry) and offer them a flat 10% cash commission on any new clients they get him. Of course, that was for biz contracts, but it worked well for him.

    • #3112641

      Referral Fees and Networking

      by mark ·

      In reply to Self Employed? How do you get new clients?

      We used a combination of referral fees, %35 off of an hour if a new referral used an hour’s services, %50 off if a second hour was used, and networking. Local organizations like Leads or Le Tip, or community organizations like Rotary were a great source of new clients. Volunteering at a social center was yet another good source. For each hour we volunteered, we typically received 3 extra leads for work with people who benefitted from the volunteering.

      Mark Raintree
      Raintree Solutions, LLC

      • #3111237

        Reward clients who send you referrals

        by rsimanski ·

        In reply to Referral Fees and Networking

        After having wasted a lot of time and money on advertising and networking that didn’t pay off, I decided to reward those clients who sent me referrals. Whenever I get a referral from a client (or a non-client colleague, for that matter), I send them a certificate for one hour of my time, with no strings attached. A few clients have taken good advantage of this.

        The best part is that it doesn’t cost me any up-front, out-of-pocket money, and by the time that the referring client takes advantage of my offer, I’ve already been paid by the new client.

    • #3112577

      Magnetic Signs, Pricing, Theft & Road Rage

      by zulumiz ·

      In reply to Self Employed? How do you get new clients?

      My son bought me magnetic signs for my car for $35. They brought in about as many calls as the Yellow Pages (not very many – see my earlier post), but it’s a one time cost and it pays for itself with just one job. Just remember to curb your road rage – people will mark you OFF their list if they see you are an aggressive driver.

      Also, the signs were stolen after about 8 months. I still can’t figure out who would want them, although I think it was a competitor. I think they were stolen while I was parked at a CompUSA. I really should get some new ones, but I haven’t. That was about a year and a half ago.

      Another tip is to really charge less than everyone else to get started. I started at $25 an hour and quickly moved to $35 and $50. Most of my clients are now at $65 and my price structure for the past 3 or 4 months has been $75 for residential and $95 for business. It’s worked out pretty well.

      • #3112353

        Vinyl signs

        by ozi eagle ·

        In reply to Magnetic Signs, Pricing, Theft & Road Rage

        Instead of magnetic signs, get a local sign making firm to make some cut vinyl signs for you. They are stick on and hard to remove. Quite cheap if you stick them on yourself.

    • #3112554

      Network Network Network

      by ucsdirect9 ·

      In reply to Self Employed? How do you get new clients?

      I have been in business since 1991 and started out of my home. What I leanred was with word-of-mouth, for every new customer you get that way, if you treat them right, you’ll get approximately 5 more referrals from them over the next year or so. It’s the Best AND the worst way to get clients. It takes hundreds of good clients to build up your business, but only ONE to tear it down. Don’t be in a rush to just get new clients, get GOOD clients. Learn when to back away from a sale. (I had to learn the hard way once or twice). Set aside some money on a regular basis if you want to advertise. Almost all forms of media advertising are going to be expensive, and most advertisers will tell you whatever it is they think you want to hear to get your money. You need advertising that is directed to the clientelle that are interested in what YOU have to sell. Join a group (online and local) that share your interests. Be community-oriented. Give some of your talent free to deserving groups. That alone will give you a lot of referrals if you are SINCERE in your desire to help. Hope this helps you. I’ve been there and done that…. 🙂

    • #3112551

      Focus on Existing Clients..

      by jondoe2001 ·

      In reply to Self Employed? How do you get new clients?

      Congratulations! You are living the dream of thousands of technical professionals around the United States.

      Focus on your existing clients, stay in contact with them throughout the year and remind them of the services you provide. Use advertisment cash to start a reward program for you existing customer, they will drive new customers your way.

    • #3112527

      I’m not sure about your location

      by ontheropes ·

      In reply to Self Employed? How do you get new clients?

      but here in the USA a simple network and media set-up in a booth at the local County Fair is a relatively cheap way to get the word out. There’s usually a local business expo indoors at the fair. The fair is definitely a good way to see and meet people from all walks of life. It’s interesting, to say the least.
      Have somebody work with you, dress lightly and bring at least 3 good fans. Use one fan for each of you and one for your customer. Comfortable chairs are a must. Make sure you have plenty of business cards and flyers.

    • #3112516

      “Free Seminars”

      by projectdoc ·

      In reply to Self Employed? How do you get new clients?

      Offering a class is a great way to establish contacts and build trust. Figure out who your target customers are and find some area of your expertise that you can fashion a seminar about. Perhaps its “Network Security”. What ever it is, make sure you have a title that will make your targets feel like they have to come to it.

      Really prepare the seminar – script it and rehearse it until you know it cold and give it without notes – like it comes right out of your head. That way you can concentrate on relating to your audience. Rehearse it in front of family and friends – people that will give you honest and harsh critique.

      Next is to find the right venue – some place that is EASY for your targets to get to.

      Now the crazy part – Set a price! (What make them pay – you bet!). Let’s say it’s $100. That will establish a value for your services.

      Now the Promo part – get a mailing list or other way to target your audience and offer it to them for FREE! Now they have to come – they’re going to learn about how to protect their networks against terrible threats, and the seminar is normally a $100 but they get to go for free.

      Finally the close – a little R&R at the end – reward people for networking. It wouldn’t hurt to have some nice friendly young people around at this point. Adjust the refreshments – beer and chips or wine and cheese – against your target audience and make it a point to introduce yourself to each and every one. By the way, while you might serve drinks to them – you’re going to stick to strictly water!

      Get good enough at this and you’ll want to hire others to do the consulting work and you’ll just do sales!

      Duff Bailey, Predident
      Kensico Group, LLC


    • #3112316

      It worked for me

      by dshadowbear ·

      In reply to Self Employed? How do you get new clients?

      Word of mouth worked for me when I was starting out and it still works for me 14 years later.
      I have clients now in both the U.S. and Canada as well as a handful from other places around the globe that I deal with on-line.
      I also found that working within a niche keeps me in plenty of business. I also work for some of my competitors from time to time when they get overloaded with work. I have made friends with many others that have brick and mortar businesses and buy parts from them at discount (it saves both time and money rather than buying on-line).
      Most of my client base is very poor with a large handful of small businesses that can’t afford to keep a full time IT on staff.
      I also started a website several years ago that caters to the new user and when I work on their computers I show them the website and most have me bookmark it for them for future reference.
      I make friends with my clients and even show them how to fix many of their own problems. This seems to make them want to call me up whenever they have a larger problem that they think they can’t handle themselves.
      Although I build custom machines (mostly gaming or video surveillance machines) I mostly fix older machines and I take the time to explain things to them in non-technical jargon.
      I hope all this helps you.

    • #3112025

      your website is pretty good…

      by unclerob ·

      In reply to Self Employed? How do you get new clients?

      what do you use to create it?
      You could probably get into that type of work pretty easily, you just have to get your name out there. If you have already done some previous website work for clients, include a client portfolio page so that others can see the work you’ve done on other sites – website design work isn’t that bad and when you have the skills which you apparently do, it could pay very well.
      Also, who is your webhost provider?

      • #3110990

        I think Darren’s webhost is…

        by alankru ·

        In reply to your website is pretty good…
        …looking at the NS entries.

        • #3110797

          Newsletters work well

          by stephenm1 ·

          In reply to I think Darren’s webhost is…

          I have been in business since 2002. Keeping in contact with customers has many benefits. I designed a newsletter which I send out at regular intervals. There is no doubt this leads to increased business. All you need is an email address.

          I ran a competition with a viral marketing element – each referral of a new customer to my newsletter was an entry into a competition to win a prize – and this worked fairly well. Customers could see who visited from their referral – it was a competition which gave my customers feedback on their efforts. I did a press release for the local papers. This all helped to raise my profile and keep my name in front of customers.

          The newsletter offers useful tips and the latest info based on problems I deal with on a daily basis. It also explains things like ‘what wireless networking is all about’. Some people have no idea what it all means. I put it in simple terms. Clients get the idea and call me when they are ready to buy.

          It would be easily adaptable to other IT business.

          Its relationship marketing. Its a way to do what the big companies do and be an expert in your customers mind. Producing a newsletter with quality information in it gives you instant status. If you can’t write the articles yourself – you can always co- author.

          I can advertise products in with the articles. Eventually I could even begin to accept non competitive advertisers.

          It has worked for me and has good future potential.


    • #3111377

      Getting new clients.

      by sdss ·

      In reply to Self Employed? How do you get new clients?

      I’ve been at it since ’83. I’ve tried EVERYTHING. Only 2 things have worked for me. THE SINGLE BEST way to get new clients is word of mouth. At times I’ve augmented that by joining business networking groups such as LeTip or BNA or the local Chamber of Commerce. In my opinion, they will only work if you can get in tight with a complimentary business or two. The CPA and Tax Attorney were my best allies and referrers when I was in LeTip. It will take a while (8 to 24 months) to build up a trusted relationship with the other business people in the group so you’ll actually get quality referrals. Also, you need to be willing to make referrals to the other members for it to work.

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