How to Get Your First Client
What I’ve Learned Finding Thousands of Clients For Businesses and Running a Six-Figure Digital Marketing Agency
There has never been a better time in history to start a business. Thanks to all of our digital tools, the favorable business environment in the United States, our cultural attitudes towards entrepreneurship, and the cheap and easy access to online education, anyone who has the drive and interest can learn a skill and start a business. Many people are making good money, sometimes six figures, in their businesses within a year. Many people fail within a year. I know because I’ve seen both. I wrote this book to help you be part of the first group.
The difference between those who succeed and those who fail can be boiled down to one issue - clients. Clients bring the work and pay you. A service business that has more clients than it can handle will make great money and never worry about going out of business. A business without clients isn’t a business, it’s a hobby.
What is a service business? I’m talking about personal trainers, private chefs, contractors, plumbers, web designers, consultants, electricians, restaurants, hotels, copywriters, financial advisors, and anyone else who makes a living by providing a service to other people. If you’re selling your labor and not a product, you have a service business.
I also have a service business. Finding clients is the number one struggle I’ve seen my own clients face, over and over again. It’s also why they hire me. When I design their new website, help them determine a brand, or set up advertising campaigns, I’m helping them bring in new clients.
Finding clients can be tough, especially when you’re just starting out. If you came from a traditional job, your boss always just handed you work. You never had to find it for yourself. The good news is that finding clients is easy. All you have to do is set up your business correctly, price competitively, market yourself well, close the deal, and deliver exceptional service. I know that doesn’t sound easy! But if you follow the strategies in How to Get Your First Client, you won’t have any issues. Remember, thousands and thousands of people have successfully started and run service businesses before you, and I’m sure many of them weren’t as smart and hard-working as you. They also didn’t have this book.
If you’re wondering what makes me qualified to write a book like this, let me introduce myself. My name is Caleb Jost. I’ve run a web design and digital marketing studio, Parrot Digital, for the past half-decade, and worked in tech at a startup and a Fortune 100 company before that. My company specializes in web design but offers the full range of digital marketing services. We have done hundreds and hundreds of projects in design, search engine optimization, paid advertising, social media, email marketing, and more. Our revenues, and my personal income, are in the six figures. We’ve been successful at both getting our own clients and finding those clients plenty of success. I also helped teach a 6-month digital marketing boot camp at the University of Texas at Austin. I’m not saying all that to brag but to show you that I have the experience and education to know what the hell I’m talking about.
I aimed to make this book as concise as possible. It’s my goal for you to be able to read this book in a single sitting. I want you to walk away an hour from now feeling much more confident in your ability to get clients for your service business.
We’ll start by talking about how to identify your ideal client, define your brand, and set your pricing. Then we’ll talk about how to find clients for your business through your website, paid digital advertising, content marketing, SEO, email marketing, and in-person opportunities. We’ll touch on good sales practices, referrals and reviews, then sum up with a section on scaling.
Throughout the book, I’ll occasionally use the example of a fictional personal training business, Train with Lily, to illustrate the concepts. I’ll also use real-world examples from my own and my clients’ experiences.
I’m going to assume that you either already have a business or know what kind of business you’re going to start. This is not a book about what business you should start. But if you need some advice, I would recommend something you’re interested in that you can do well. There should already be existing market demand. It’s easier to serve a market that already exists than to create your own market.
That’s enough introduction. Let’s get into it!