Here a a few ideas for those of you looking to get your first client, although these ideas apply to anyone at just about any stage of development:
1. Write down the names of everyone you know, everyone. You should be able to get a list of 100 people. Use some techniques to “jog” your memory. For instance, go throught the phone book business pages and list anyone who is a specific professional you know (accountant, architect, etc. all the way through to the z’s). Include your neighbors, your family, your former employers/colleagues, people you play sports/hobbies with, people at your place of worship, and so on. List people with red hair, people with good senses of humor, people named tom, and on and on.
Then contact these folks, tell them what you are doing, and ask them to make connections for you. Ask them specific questions, like, “Who do you know who recently started a business?” Then follow up with those people. Either they will need a web site or redesign or they can refer you to people they know.
For every door that closes, try to open 2 more doors by asking for two more names.
2. Target some visible local businesses. Check out there website. Send them by mail a 3-page report assessing their website and providing ideas to improve it. Then follow up to meet and discuss how they can use your ideas to get more business.
3. I borrow this idea from marketing consultant David Frey, and really like it. Take a page from the yellow pages where a prospective client has a listing. Get that page blown up to a poster 2-3 times its current size. Circle the names of competitors of the prospective client. Write a letter that says, “I’m going to help one of the companies on this page dramatically increase their business and market share with a dynamic, leading edge website. I hope it’s you, and not one of your competitors!”
There you go — 3 great ideas for free. Ideas are cheap for a reason. It’s action and follow up that are valuable. So get moving.