If you had to find one new client this week … could you do it? If you couldn't pay your mortgage or feed your family unless you landed a new client this week could you get a brand new client? Would your sales process have to change? How? Would you need to postpone existing work to 'hit the street' to find prospects? Do you even know where to look?
Sometimes I feel as independent business owners / freelancers we get a bit stagnent. The 'feast or famine' cycle of either prospecting like crazy to find new clients and then burning the candle at both ends to do the work is holding us back. We forget we need to be doing both at the same time – always. Exhausting, I know. We need to build the systems now to prospect and produce simultaneously.
Just like you can't expect to jump in LinkedIn after you've lost a job or all your clients and magically have the network be productive for you – we can't expect to ignore our sales pipe and think that we can turn it on anytime we please. Let's brainstorm here & challenge ourselves to put a fire under our butt and get a new client this week. Found a lead that just doesn't work for you – find someone in your network you trust and refer it out… don't look at it as lost work but a future opportunity!
Ready… Set… GO!
Inbox and outbox on desk — Image by © Cooper Mears/Corbis
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Hm. Given that a "Client" for me is often a short story editor, then yes; I could probably write and submit a story to an anthology that would get accepted…eventually.
Could I get a story written, submitted, accepted, and paid in one week? No, that really doesn't ever happen.
There's the Monday morning kick in the pants that I need! I've just had the quietest summer in 10 years. Great for family time and all but now it has gotten downright scary slow. To shake things up (and get a new client or two), I'm heading to a networking event tomorrow night at our Chamber of Commerce.
Love it Lynette! Great subject and oh so true!
Thanks for reminding me to seriously work on getting more private clients. I generally put my skills on freelance places and get invited to projects but those people usually don't have real budgets. Haven't really tried LinkedIN. I have to be more active on there.
There is always the struggle to build new business as a small business owner where you do not want to sacrifice the quality of the work you deliver by rushing work to free up time to find more business.
I'm not so sure that relying on the prospect of a new client or 1 new client a week to take my services which will pay my mortgage is a solid business model at all. That's putting your livelihood at the risk of being able to convince someone they need your services.
Wouldn't a better business model be to produce a service that people need instead of trying to convince them that they need your services?
Services are like a product. People either need to buy a house, or they don't. People either need to buy groceries or they don't. Can you imagine someone going out once a week and trying to convince others that they need to buy your widget? How long do you think they will last?
Why not just make a widget that people need and want in the beginning and they will come to you. Word of mouth is like wild fire. If you provide a good service or product, the clients/customers come scrambling to you.
I think the business model here is put more hard work into your product or service to be better than the average, and you will stand out above the rest like a bright beacon.
"If you build it, they will come"
"Wouldn't a better business model be to produce a service that people need instead of trying to convince them that they need your services?"
My mom was a graphic artist. She was an awesome graphic artist, and eventually got called down to Madison Avenue on a regular basis to "fix" ads that had been fouled up by their in-house artists.
But the only way they would have known about her was because she was relentless (twenty hours a week, more if work was light) in developing contacts.
+Scott Wolf it's the exercise of breaking out of routines we get stuck in. If any of us are in business selling something no one wants to pay money for then (obviously) we are selling the wrong thing. Some people or companies rely on selling 100s of things a day, so adding one more 'client' isn't going to make or break a mortgage. Some businesses have long sales cycles and adding one more client could take a year.
"If you build it they will come." Sorry but NO. Business is not the Field of Dreams. You could have the cure for cancer but if no one knows it exists you will get nowhere. Fact of life, fact of business. THAT is the exact mindset that gets freelancers in trouble. That and chasing the magic product everyone will want to buy but you have no passion, interest, or expertise in making or selling.