When I first launched my business, I was so nervous about consistently booking clients. I knew I had the right skills and personality to thrive as an entrepreneur, but I had no idea how I was going to book, and then continue to book, one client after another.
But within my first month of business, I cracked the code.
I finally created a sustainable and thriving web and brand design business after attempting to create three other businesses prior to that. I have learned so much in the last decade about how to become a successful and impactful entrepreneur. After working closely with over 40 small business owners in my first year of business, I continued to gain insight into what works when it comes to owning a small business that is profitable and sustainable.
I did all this working, on average, 16 hours per week while being the primary caregiver to my two little ones under three years old.
Here are four key takeaways that have been instrumental in growing my business and building strong relationships with clients in my first year of business:
Be Kind: The Power of Building Meaningful Connections
The first and perhaps most crucial lesson I learned was the profound impact of kindness. Treating clients with respect, empathy, and genuine care has been the cornerstone of my success. By making my clients feel comfortable, seen, heard, and valued, I have built strong connections that extend beyond just a business transaction. Many of my leads have turned into loyal clients, and they often become repeat clients. While skills and expertise are vital, it is the lasting impression of kindness that leaves an impact on clients, fostering trust and loyalty. This in turn often leads to clients referrals which results in booking clients!
Automate, Automate, Automate: Streamlining for Efficiency
In the fast-paced world of entrepreneurship, time is a valuable commodity. Automating day-to-day tasks and client onboarding/offboarding processes have allowed me to focus more on delivering high-quality work and acquiring new clients. By using tools and technology to automate repetitive tasks, I have gained the freedom to invest my energy in the areas that truly require my expertise. Whether it’s using project management software, automated emails, or other productivity tools, finding ways to streamline operations can significantly enhance overall efficiency.
Value Yourself: Finding the Right Balance in Pricing
Determining pricing and self-worth is an ongoing journey for any entrepreneur. In my first year of business, I learned the importance of regularly evaluating my pricing structure and acknowledging my true value. Starting out, it’s normal to charge lower rates to gain experience and build a portfolio. However, as you grow in experience and confidence, it’s essential to reassess your worth and adjust your pricing accordingly. Remember, fair pricing is not just about the time you invest but also the value your clients gain from your services. Understanding this balance will help create a win-win situation for both you and your clients.
Create a Marketing Strategy to Attract Aligned Clients
Effective marketing is crucial for any service-based business. Attracting the right clients who align with your values and vision is essential for sustainable growth. Here are some tips to consider:
- Create a Brand with Personality: Showcase your authentic self on social media, as this will naturally draw in clients who resonate with your values and personality. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable, as it can be a powerful tool in building connections.
- Develop a Client-Focused Website and Brand: Tailor your website and branding to speak directly to the type of clients you want to attract. Use colors, tone of voice, images, and textures that will resonate with your target audience. For instance, if you are targeting luxury clients, evoke a sense of luxury in your branding. My favorite website platform is Showit.
- Nurture Your Email List: Building an email list is an effective way to draw in potential leads. Offer valuable free content that showcases your expertise and personality. Nurture your list by providing value and occasional service promotions. When the time is right, some of these leads will convert into clients. My favorite email provider is Flodesk.
Booking Clients Doesn’t Have to Be Hard
My first year of business was an incredible learning experience, and I am grateful for the valuable lessons that helped me book 44 clients. The power of kindness, the importance of automation for efficiency, understanding my true value, and developing a targeted marketing strategy were all instrumental in my success. As you embark on your entrepreneurial journey, I hope these lessons inspire and guide you towards building a thriving business and fostering lasting client relationships. Remember that success is not always about the numbers but the meaningful connections you make along the way.