For this final installment, it’s time to address the elephant in the room: how do you find new clients? Before we dive in, however, let’s reexamine this common question.
REFRAMING THE IDEA OF “FINDING” NEW CLIENTS
How do I find new clients? is a big, broad, wide-open-sky kind of question. It’s so vague that it usually leads to the questioner becoming the questionee, and it’s almost impossible to answer in a uniform way.
That’s because it’s the wrong question.
Every business, every professional, every person, is different, but How do I find new clients? assumes they all use the same formula. Instead, the better question is, How do I attract the perfect clients for me?
Take note of the subtle shifts here. “Find” becomes “attract,” which puts you in the position of power. Instead of digging through the dirt to find any client you can, you’re attracting clients who are a good match for you. Also, instead of “new clients,” you have “the perfect clients.” Accepting just anyone as a client will do more harm than good to your business, even if you’re just getting started
TWO CREATIVE WAYS TO ATTRACT YOUR IDEAL CLIENTS
1. List Their Qualities on Your Website
The first step in attracting your ideal clients is defining your ideal clients. Use your current clients as examples. Which clients are a pleasure to work with? Make a list of the things you like about each one (e.g., professional, has a sense of humor, pays on time), and then take note of the overlapping traits.
After you’ve created a master list of the traits you look for in your ideal client, post it on your website for all to see. Link to it often. Use it in your marketing. Be loud and proud about what you want in a client!
2. Have Them Apply to Work with You
This is a nontraditional approach, but it is an excellent way to weed out lowballers and people who aren’t a good fit for you. Having a client application on your website:
- Puts you in the position of power
- Establishes you as an expert
- Makes you seem more exclusive (and, therefore, worthy of higher rates)
- Eliminates people who aren’t serious about working with you
Having new clients apply to work with you can be a creative way to highlight your branding, too—have fun with it, and use it as a way to show off your personality and what you have to offer.
OTHER WAYS TO ATTRACT YOUR IDEAL CLIENTS
Here are some of the more traditional ways to bring in people who are a perfect fit for your editorial business:
Raise Your Rates
This is the simplest way to weed out problem clients who are a pain to work with. Higher rates also signify better quality, which is a good thing for your brand. Just be sure to deliver what you promise!
Build Your Reputation as an Expert
The best way to position yourself as an expert and develop a strong brand? Write. Write blog posts for your website. Write guest posts for websites and publications that your potential clients read. Write about the “pain points” of your customers. Answer the questions you field every day. Write!
The only way to attract likeminded people is to be open and honest about who you are. You want to reel in the 1,000 people who will jump at the chance to be your brand evangelists: they’re looking for you, and the only way they’ll find you is if you put yourself out there in an authentic way. I hereby give you permission to be your weird, Star Wars–loving, tea-guzzling, neon-haired self.
Get out there: go to conferences, work from coffee shops, attend or start a Meetup group. People have to know you exist before they can hire you!
Sell Your Specialty
Is your bachelor’s degree in nuclear physics? Do you love reading science fiction? Are you obsessed with soccer? Any one of these could become your specialty, and having a specialty is a good thing: it sets you apart and helps you find those 1,000 people who are already looking for you.
You’re well on your way to avoiding problem clients and building an editorial services business that effortlessly attracts people you’ll love partnering with. It takes patience and a lot of hard work, but it’s definitely worth the effort.
Image by Ryan McGuire of Gratisography