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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....


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Vinyl signs

by ozi Eagle In reply to Magnetic Signs, Pricing, ...

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.

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Network Network Network

by ucsdirect In reply to Self Employed? How do you ...

I have been in business since 19** 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.... :)

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Focus on Existing Clients..

by Jondoe2001 In reply to Self Employed? How do you ...

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.

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I'm not sure about your location

by OnTheRopes In reply to Self Employed? How do you ...

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.

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"Free Seminars"

by ProjectDoc In reply to Self Employed? How do you ...

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


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It worked for me

by dshadowbear In reply to Self Employed? How do you ...

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.

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your website is pretty good...

by UncleRob In reply to Self Employed? How do you ...

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?

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I think Darren's webhost is...

by alankru In reply to your website is pretty go ...
...looking at the NS entries.

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Newsletters work well

by stephenm2 In reply to I think Darren's webhost ...

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.


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Getting new clients.

by SDSS In reply to Self Employed? How do you ...

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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