The Top (unexpected) Ways To Find New Business (they're probably not what you think...)
We all know new business = $$$. But when business isn't rolling in, it's nerve-wracking!
Like many people, I learned a couple things (to put it lightly, ha) my first few years going freelance. I can't tell you how many days I had a pit in my stomach, unsure of how I would be able to keep things moving forward. What if more business... just didn't happen??
One thing I was determined NOT to do though, was sit around and wait. And out of all the things I DID do, some were pretty useless (loop giveaways, anyone??) and some ended up being the KEY to bringing more business in.
Let's get to it:
1) PINTEREST IS A SECRET WEAPON!
I don't mean to use it in the way you use Instagram. Pinterest is a different beast entirely. It may not be as cool, but unlike IG and it's algorithms (where image engagement declines after the first couple hours), images on Pinterest do BETTER over time, as they are re-pinned.
If I pin something, and my two friends re-pin it, and then their two friends re-pin, and so on... that quickly becomes a LOT of people.
But wait, it gets better-
One day, I was looking at website traffic, analyzing what came from where (assuming most of it would be IG) and you know what? A whopping 47% came from Pinterest!! Of the people in the whole wide world who stumbled across our website, 47% were total strangers that found our work on Pinterest.
Since then, I've noticed how many inquiries we receive through the site, that start with "I found your work on Pinterest" or "We had some of your pins on our moodboard..."
The point is this:
People and brands use Pinterest to find creative inspiration (of all kinds!), not just haircuts and recipes. The longer your pins are on there, the more eyes they get.
PIN ALL OF YOUR WORK and have it link back to you and your site. And make sure you have a clear description in the caption of what it is/who you are... every time someone sees it or pins, it will link back to you!
2) BEFRIEND LOCAL BUSINESSES!
I'm not saying you should run around trying to be bff with every business in town (unless you're just really friendly)... but if you are a newer freelancer hoping to find business through the internet, it can feel lonely because you are literally one of millions. But not in person!
Reaching out to businesses around you can strike up some IRL relationships AND lead to more business.
One of my first bigger jobs came from meeting a local party shop owner who was looking for a photographer to take fun pictures of their products. I was SO nervous to step outside of the screen of my cultivated "IG presence" but it was such a jolt of energy to have a real life interaction with someone on a similar path. (It was a bonus that we hit it off and are still friends!) Over the years, both of our businesses have grown and changed but we have referred work back and forth.
Networking is an overused word but it IS important- seek out real people around you! It's not just about being social- it's about building your business!
3) PITCH YOURSELF TO YOUR DREAM CLIENTS.
I'm so serious about this. Yes, you can start with smaller clients first. Pitching in any form is so good for you, for a few reasons (I'll save this for another post).
But you would be surprised what can come of a well-written pitch!
You might think that brands get hit up all the time- and they do, with overly-casual DM's or unclear emails.
But a true, professional-sounding email, with links to work examples and a "pitch" (i.e. what you would like to do with them)? Those will get attention!
NEVER think you're too small to go after what you want... half of the game is smoke and mirrors!! I'm not saying lie about your capabilities (don't do that) but no one needs to know how busy/not busy/experienced/ you are or how cool your office is (hi, I worked out of a garage for a year…scroll down for a pic)... be brave and reach for the work you want!
It will not be all Yes's but there WILL BE SOME.
I remember reaching out to a luxury hair care line I was dying to work with- and when they responded wanting to set up a call, I almost fell off my bar stool (in the garage, mind you).
Not only did it lead to work, it boosted my confidence that I could ask for and receive the work I wanted to do.
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Thank you for reading and supporting!! If you have any questions you would love answered, PLEASE send! I always love chatting with other creatives + freelancers. :)
a photo of my original “office”- the garage workbench
note the lovely fluorescent lighting… we all start somewhere!