Getting clients is one thing, keeping them is another. In this blog post I’m going to show you how to get and keep clients for your freelance business. I will show you what I did wrong and what I did right. As a freelancer online, you have to be able to show what you can do so not only prospective clients will know you are the right person for them, but it will also bring you lots of business.
How to Get and Keep Clients for your Freelance Business
Does cold messaging or cold calling work to get and keep clients?
When I started looking for clients I sent Facebook page cold messages to Facebook pages that I saw were running ads for page likes. This is what worked to get me hundreds of different clients, but out of the hundreds of clients I got, I have been able to retain only one percent, which is very low.
Cold messaging is not a good way to get and keep clients. It is an effective way to get clients in the short term, but it is not a good way to keep clients in the long term.
I didn’t know any better way than cold messaging, cold calling and cold emailing. Cold messaging is the most effective compared to cold calling and cold emailing in my experience, because on social media if you are using your own Facebook profile, then you have got a lot more trust behind you than someone who is just cold calling or cold emailing. I advise against ever cold calling or cold emailing, take that right off your list of strategies. Don’t cold text message, either.
These are suggestions and you can go do whatever you want to. If you have already done some of these, you might laugh at how right I am about this. I’m not saying you can’t get and keep clients doing these methods, I have got clients doing almost every one of these methods.
Actually, I don’t think I have gotten any cold texting or cold calling. I can’t prove I have got any cold emailing. I have got cold Facebook and LinkedIn message clients, cold Twitter @ messages. I have gotten a lot of clients online using social media messaging,
If you do get cold messaging to work, it doesn’t scale up as I have found. The best I could get it to scale up was to have Joseph send the messages, that did work. When I tried to hire freelancers to send cold messages for me, that did not work.
With getting clients, you don’t want to do anything that won’t scale up.
Get and keep clients: Demonstrate what you can do.
A great way to get and keep clients is to use the free time you have to demonstrate your experience as much as possible. Don’t even bother with products, don’t bother with free e-book downloads, just put everything you know out there for free on your YouTube channel, then you are in an outstanding position to convert that into clients.
As soon as I started putting out my Facebook ads videos and asking for clients, I started consistently getting emails every day sent to me by people with questions asking if they could pay me to do their Facebook ads. Some of them even would go directly to my website, pay $399 and order after seeing the video, without even talking to me.
That’s a great way to get and keep clients.
When I think of the time I spent cold messaging, I would have been a lot better off to show my experience on my YouTube channel, and it also scales up very well.
Putting YouTube videos up demonstrating your experience scales up. When someone watches it and says, “That’s great, I want to work with him.” They share that with all their friends and you get a couple of their friends interested, that scales up nicely. The more interest you get, you can start charging for calls instead of offering them free, you can start charging more for your services, and you can start being able to work less and make more.
You should have the chance to build even deeper relationships with your clients and maybe bring additional people to help in. All you have to do is just show what you know how to do. The best part is if for some reason no one wants to hire you as a client, all that time you take to build an audience, then you can translate into selling products.
The main mistake I see that freelancers make and their main limitation is that they have no proof that they can do what they say they can do. When you go show up at a job for an interview, you might be able to get a job with no proof of what you say you can do, but at least you are standing in front of the person.
When you are just sending a random application somewhere online, when you are just out there with your freelancer profile, you have got to have proof of what you say you can do, or you don’t count.
I have looked at so many freelancer profiles, anyone can write an impressive profile, but at the same time a lot of people can’t write one. I can usually tell pretty quickly about the people who are trying to hustle me as someone who has done a lot of hustling.
The people who write up fancy profiles and have no proof are generally a pain to work with, just like I was. I wrote up all kinds of fancy things I could do before, many of which I had never done.
Get and keep clients: Do not offer services you can’t do.
Do not try to offer services you don’t know how to do as it can have a lot of damaging consequences.
Did I tell you about those vein articles?
I told the client, “Oh, yeah, I can do SEO articles, sure, what do you need?” They paid me hundreds of dollars to produce a bunch of search engine optimized varicose vein articles, which they were then doing for their client.
I then hired down on Fiverr and spent hundreds of dollars getting the articles written, and then spent hours and hours editing the articles, and then the client wasn’t even happy with the result, and I was so disgusted with anything to do with the word “veins” that it still bothers me years later, today.
Even a sign with varicose vein removal, brings back those nauseating memories of working on all those vein articles, which I essentially paid to work on.
If you mess up working for clients, you can literally pay to do work for a client.
“Well, how would you do that?”
If you try and do something you don’t know how to do, then you end up having to outsource it, or you try to do something you don’t know how to do.
One client hired me to win this social media contest.
I won the contest for them and it cost more than I calculated. I actually spent several hundred dollars over what they paid me to win the contest for them. I literally paid to help them win the contest, and then they weren’t even happy.
You can learn from your own mistakes and be a smart person or you can be a wise person and learn from mine. I have done it wrong about every way you can do it.
Get and keep clients: Are you doing it wrong?
Honestly, I realize that there are lots more ways to do it wrong. I have done it wrong a lot of different ways. I have done a lot of client relationships where I have essentially paid to do work for them, and that’s as stupid as it gets because the client expects, if they are going to pay you, that it should be worth your time.
If you set up the payment and the terms in a way that it is not worth your time, that’s your fault. It is up to you to fix it. That’s why I only take paid calls and paid interviews now.
I get lots of requests to get interviewed.
“Lots of requests, what does that mean, Jerry?”
I get an interview request every week or two, and I tell all of them, “Sure. Go to my call page, you’ll notice it’s $299 currently for a call. If you would like to have a call with me, that’s the only way.”
That’s what I have done after learning the hard way of doing it so many other times, of trying to have a free call with the hope of something, and then doubling down and doing stupider and stupider things like continuing to do more work all with the hope to get some offer, that never even comes through.
I respect my limitations today. Any time I spend needs to be spent productively. For better or worse, I have a lot of opportunities to do productive things today. If I don’t in the future, I will go back to taking free calls, and that’s fine. There is nothing wrong with free calls, on a general basis.
There is something wrong with free calls in my case because I have so many people who want to talk to me. That’s my own fault for demonstrating my experience. If you demonstrate your experience well enough, you will have the problem of having too many people wanting to talk to you, which then you can solve with charging for it.
Get and keep clients: Selling your business
One of the most powerful ways to build a business online is to get and keep clients. If you ever want to sell your company, it can be difficult if you have products that are all about you. I can’t see anyone wanting to buy my company when all my products are all about me. If there is no Jerry Banfield, there is no company then, with all the products and courses based strictly around me.
When you have a business that does a great job to get and keep clients, you also have a very lucrative business to buy. If you want to consider selling your business, serving clients is a great way to go for because if you have taken good care of those client relationships, and you sell your business, you very well may be able to have many of the people that work with you to help with clients go to whoever buys it.
You have a good chance of being able to maintain those client relationships with a buyer. You can demonstrate how much the clients are worth, in terms of what they pay and what you do for them. If selling a business is your goal, get and keep clients. That’s the way to go.
If you see businesses getting bought out, the client ones, are the ones I have seen that have been consistently getting bought out, because buying clients is something that larger companies do to get even bigger. They have extra cash, they have extra employees available.
“Hey, let’s buy another company that already has clients, and we’ll serve them with our existing system.”
Serving clients is also a very comfortable position to be in, compared to creating products.
Get and keep clients: One or two big clients is better than 50.
In summary, you have one or two clients you do a great job for. If you can find them by demonstrating your experience online, and realize it is going to take time, but it is worth taking the time, just like dating. It is worth taking the time to stay single until you find the right person than just taking whoever comes along, and then not being available to take the right person when they are available.
It is better not to be bogged down with 50 clients you don’t like, when your one amazing client walks by and sees, “Well, they’re too busy with these other fifty, I’m not going to walk in there, I’m going to go to someone else who will appreciate me.”
The nice thing is, if you just work to demonstrate your experience, the same things you do to get and keep clients will also set you up to sell products. Serving clients and selling products are not mutually exclusive. You can have one client that pays your bills and then you can spend the rest of your time working on making products and demonstrating your experience.
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