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Maybe you have been working in your industry for a little while or maybe you’ve worked for a wellness center, yoga studio, or fitness gym and have decided that now is the time to start your own business. One of your first questions may be: How do you get your first client? 

When starting out, getting your first few clients or students can seem impossible. You may have offered your services for free to family and friends to start your practice, but now it’s your business and you need to find clients or students who will pay for your services. There are many ways to find and convert clients. Let’s look at three no-fail ways to get your first clients to sign up.

Often when we start out in business, it can be daunting to get people to pay for what we’re offering. Where do we find these people and how do we talk to them and get them to sign up? How do we get beyond offering our services to those people we already know? Though that is a great place to start.

When you want to start acquiring clients that are new to you and fresh to your services, and you want to grow a sustainable structure for your business. Here are three ways you can do that will bring you more clients. 

1. Start Networking

Networking does not need to be  the scary socializing nightmare that some of us think it is. I suggest starting with your current professional network. If you’re a massage therapist, talk to other massage therapists, physiotherapists, and to other people who work within your industry. Specifically, reach out to people who are already small business owners. Offer to take somebody out for a coffee or go for a walk and talk.

It really is amazing how these small moments of connection can go a long way to spreading the word about your new venture. According to statistics published by Nuvo Resumes Career Blog, 70% of the time networking presents new opportunities for business owners. That means that if you have ten coffee dates or ten walk-and-talk dates, seven of those times are going to create some form of opportunity to grow your business. That’s a fantastic return on your time and effort.

Even with so much of our time occupied by the internet, face-to-face connection is still the best way to gain new clients.

2. Team Up with a Complementary Service Provider

When you’re just starting out, it can feel daunting to put yourself out there. Make it easier by partnering with someone who has already established themselves in the industry. Offering your services to an already-existing client base is a great way to build your brand awareness and offer opportunities for people to experience what you have to offer. You could, for example, offer to join a yoga retreat or wellness event.

A great things that happened to me when I worked with the Kidney March, an amazing annual event where hundreds of people come together and walk 100km over three days, raising awareness and funds for kidney disease. One year I joined and I walked the 100km. It was an amazing life experience. By participating in the Kidney March I met so many people who needed my yoga services. For each of the 8 years since my initial participation I’ve worked that event in the“stretch tent”. Each day the marchers can come in the morning before they start walking and in the evening after they’re done, and I help them stretch and warm up their bodies. That opportunity, that thing that I go to every year and talk to people about what I do, has garnered me more clients and more other opportunities than almost any other marketing that I’ve done. Joining up with events like the Kidney March and offering your services in those ways are invaluable.

You can also offer discounted service to the clients of another service provider. It’s a great way to partner with another small business and say, hey, your clients could come to me for my services at a discounted rate and vice versa. When it comes to collaboration, think outside the box.

The key consideration when looking for potential collaborations is to know who your clients are and what other businesses target those same clients. Think about who the clients are that you want to work with and what other businesses they might access. What other sort of services do they need, want, and seek out? Can you partner with those people?

Make sure you’re always giving value in exchange. Sharing your services could increase value for other businesses and their client base. Offer your skills during an event and help diversify that event. Partner with another service provider and bring value to the clients of that business. Make sure that you’re always aware the balance of value. Partnerships are a fantastic way to build your business.

This topic is so rich – how to partner well, how to look for collaborations, and how to take those collaborations and grow them into something that is mutually beneficial. It’s such a wonderful topic that I will be sharing a podcast on that topic very soon. Keep your ears out for that!

3. Ask for Referrals

The third way to start growing your client base is to ask for referrals from colleagues, friends, and family.

From the start, build your business rooted in the foundation of strong connections. As you grow your client base, start with the connections you already have. Tell the people you know about what you’re doing. Ask them if they know anyone who is looking for your services and if they would mind passing your name along. Sharing your skills and creating a small business is an exciting adventure. Allow your excitement and enthusiasm to spread. That energy will come back to you in ways you never have expected. 

Conclusion

Starting out as an entrepreneur may feel daunting and there are lots of things to learn along the path. But don’t forget, it’s also meant to be a fun adventure. Generating clients doesn’t have to be a slog. Let your enthusiasm for your work expand through your network and don’t be afraid to ask people to help spread the word about you and your services.

The world of small business ownership is a growing community that you are now a part of. The more active you are in that community, the more that community will give back.

If you want more guidance, or are looking for support in managing your digital marketing, book a Discovery Call now. We can help you bring your services to those who need them most.

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