How to Get Your First 10 Clients
Legacy Advantage is a bookkeeping services firm that started in 2015. We now have two locations, more than 15 employees and are doing over $1,000,000 in sales per year. It sounds flashy, but we certainly didn’t start that way. Just like every start-up, we began at the bottom.
I left my previous job at a traditional CPA tax firm without any clients, not only because I couldn’t take clients with me, but also because I didn’t want to. Taxes weren’t my focus. The company I started only provides bookkeeping services. It’s our niche.
How did we go from zero in sales to one million in sales in just two years? Well, we started with one, then two, then three clients and so on. Specifically, your goal should be to get 10 clients within the first three months of starting your business, as that will enable you to start generating a profit.
If you’re starting off, you might be thinking, how the heck do I get clients? Here’s are some do’s and don’ts to get you started. First up, the dos.
Get my point? Getting started takes hard work, but if you put in the work, you will be rewarded. Now, let’s get a bit more practical.
4. Networking Events
When you’re just getting started, sorry but your time really isn’t worth anything. So, attend every single networking event possible. Join a BNI or a Chamber of Commerce. Go to Eventbrite and attend all the business-related events. Go to conferences. Go to dinners. Participate in competitions. Let people know what you do. There’s an art to networking, so before you go out, I recommend you read “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. It’s a classic people skills book and can be very helpful.
5. One-On-One Coffee Meetings
Whatever your niche is, it’s time for some creative brainstorming. Ask yourself, what other businesses can you have a mutually beneficial referral relationship with? Then, go beyond that. What other accountants? Lawyers? Insurance advisors? Benefits brokers? In my case, Legacy Advantage only provides bookkeeping, so naturally, our best referral partners are other accountants. We send tax work to them, and they send bookkeeping work to us. So, for example, if you’re a tax accountant focused on real estate, focus on networking with real estate lawyers, photographers and marketers so that you can establish a powerful network.
6. Plan Your Day Wisely
If you want to get your first 10 customers within the first three months of starting your business, then your days should look like this:
6 a.m. – Breakfast networking event
9-11 a.m. – Coffees with your referral partners
Noon – Lunch with a referral partner OR a lunch networking event
1-5 p.m. – Coffees with your referral partners
6-9 p.m. – Evening networking event
Repeat, Monday through Friday.
Do this consistently every day for three months. I guarantee that you will get at least 10 new clients. That’s what I did. Of course, if you don’t want to supercharge your growth, then don’t do the full regiment. Half the effort and you’ll get half the result. That’s still five clients in three months.
Now, you might be asking, when do you find time to actually do work? Realistically, you’re not going to be able to fill every hour with meetings, so in the hours you don’t have meetings, you do client work. Or, squeeze in some work in the evening after your networking event. When we were starting up, I’d work until midnight or later to clear my docket so that I had a fresh slate the next day.
As stated above, getting started takes hard work.
1. Waste Money on Advertising
In the beginning, you won’t be able to invest the amount of money into your marketing that’s necessary to reach the critical mass required to make that marketing effective. If you don’t have at least $1,000 per month to spend on building web content, ad campaigns, promotional materials and more, then don’t focus on this.
2. Spend Tons of Time and Money on Your Website
Yes, it’s true you need a website. People will check for that to confirm that you’re running a real business, but that’s about it. Just go to WordPress or Squarespace and build yourself a simple template website that’s clean and informative. Don’t worry about SEO, copywriting and blogs until later.
3. Don’t Worry Over the Aesthetics
It’s great to have a kick-ass logo, but if you think you need to have that logo and all of your corporate identity collateral perfect before you can present yourself publicly, it’s the wrong approach. Forget the aesthetics. I’ve seen too many people use this as an excuse to avoid diving into the networking game. You won’t get everything perfect anyway, so don’t worry about it.
4. Wait for People to Call You
They won’t. Get your butt out there and hustle. You may be really good at what you do, but your superior skills won’t get you referrals. Don’t get me wrong ... the quality of your work will show and will translate to a great reputation, but that takes months and years. By then, you might not even be in business.
Get your butt out there. Network. Hustle. I know it can be scary. Networking takes practice, and there’s definitely a momentum to it. When you first begin, it will suck. But, as you get more and more practice, it will become much easier. Remember, hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. Getting your first 10 clients has nothing to do with your talent; it’s all about hard work.
Are you ready to kick your business into the next gear? Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions.