This post is part of a mini-series on growing your community and, in particular, your client base by being proactive and seeing opportunities all around you. Today's post comes from copywriter Lilybet Murray. Want more tips on building your business community? 28 solo business owners shared their #1 secret for growing their community with us- get them now!
Change your definition of the word "opportunity."
When you’re starting your own business, the traditional selling routes can seem loud and over-crowded, so you need to open yourself up to other, less conventional paths in order to be heard. This may mean that you have to ignore the advice of your trusted friends, internet heroes and industry inspirations who are preaching the merits of marketing over Facebook and Twitter and find other paths.
These paths will be different for everyone depending on resource and industry, but the techniques will be the same and these techniques will help you see opportunities where others don’t.
Read and research every day
The trick is to find articles and topics that resonate with your values, business and position. When I was starting out I ate business content for breakfast; I devoured sites like One Woman Shop for advice and the courage to reach out and do more. While I was reading articles on the Huffington Post, I came across one written by a Prince’s Trust ambassador about how they took the leap into self-employment and it really resonated with me. I looked into their business a bit more and saw that they hadn’t been posting regularly on their blog.
I saw this as an opportunity.
I emailed them explaining that I has seen their article and really identified with their situation, then, I introduced myself as a copywriter and offered them my services for their blog, for free. Two weeks later I had a meeting and a proposition in hand. All because I dug a little bit deeper.
Reach out to those in the same position as you
After getting to know my first client, I realised that an untapped resource was right at my fingertips: The Prince’s Trust.
The Prince’s Trust helps young, unemployed people get back on their feet by providing training courses and support. However, instead of emailing them for business advice, I emailed them and offered my services to their budding entrepreneurs, trading in experience rather than money.
Building your experience using businesses in the same position as you is perfect because they are often less intimidating than fully-fledged companies and you can use them as a stepping stone to bigger clients in the long-run.
Opportunities can look like help
After reaching out to the Prince’s Trust, I realised that one of the blogs I follow for business and copywriting advice hosts a "hook up" every month where people can ask for or lend help. I responded to the call for inclusion in Yes and Yes’ Network of Nice Hooks Ups offering my copywriting services and had half a dozen people email me to ask for help. It was all for free but it was a great way to gain experience and fill my portfolio. An added bonus was that I knew I had things in common with the people I was reaching out to because it was done through a mutual blog, so we had some common ground.
I was able to see these opportunities because I was looking in places that other people weren't. While my competition were struggling to be heard above the noise on Twitter and Facebook, I crept quietly round the corner and built a client list first so that I could start using social media with a bit of credibility behind me, therefore making my voice a little louder than theirs.
What clever techniques have you used to build your community and client base?
Latest posts by Lilybet Murray (see all)
- How I Grow My Community (And Client Base): Lilybet Murray - June 4, 2014