As a sole trader, you might be the best at what you do, but you’re still going to have to be proactive to find work. Here are some tips to help sole traders find clients and either get their foot in the door, or grow their business further.
Build a website
In this day and age, if you are a business without a website, you might as well not exist. If you sell products, your website can act as an online shop, and if you sell services, your website can explain them, give examples of previous work, show testimonials from clients, and show your contact details.
One of the easiest ways to find new clients is to actually meet and get to know people. You can do some networking on social media, LinkedIn or Twitter for example, but it’s also recommended you go to networking events and even industry events to meet people in person and tell them how you can help their business.
Before you start going to networking events, you’ll need to get some business cards to exchange with the people you meet. Keep the business cards of the people meet so you can keep a record of everybody you meet, and even request a LinkedIn connection. If you really hit it off with somebody at a networking event, you now have their contact details, enabling you to continue the conversation over an email or phone call – don’t try to give it the hard sell though; they’ll come to you once they need your services.
Content marketing, which can include things like blog posts (like this one!) or videos, is all about providing expert information to people on the Internet. It won’t directly or immediately get you clients and work, but it will raise your profile by getting on your website and making you look like an expert in your field.
Once work does start coming in, you’ll be able to ask your clients to write you testimonials, where they can say what a great job you did for them – this will give other potential clients a reason to come to you.
Using social media
Sole traders can use their social media accounts, such as Twitter or LinkedIn, to share their knowledge and talk to likeminded people. It won’t get you work immediately, but you’ll be able to slowly build your reputation and people will know to go to you when they need your services. The blogging we talked about under content marketing also applies here, and you can use social media to share and discuss with your followers and connections.
Using your existing contacts
People just starting out as a sole trader might be intimidated by the idea of having to find new clients, but it’s likely that they’ll already know some people, whether it be family, friends, or ex-colleagues, who might know somebody else who needs your services.