10 Ways to Get Your First Customer Without Spending a Dime

So you just started your business and it’s not looking like you’re anywhere near getting your first customer. You’re worried and you don’t know where to start from. All effort seems fruitless and nothing seems to work. It’s just like all the customers in the world, none of them knows you or your business exists.

While this is the ideal time for me to pitch my unique guest blogging services to you, I think we both understand you’re not willing to spend money before you get your first client.

Don’t worry, I will show you, in different ways, how you can get your first client without having to spend a dime.

#1. Setup Your Website


Iimage credit (Flickr) www.descrier.co.uk

This is the first step you should take. While it’s not one of the solutions I will be profering to you, because you might even have a website and still not have a customer. It is, however, a fundamental requirement if you’re to be taken seriously in any engagement online.

See your website as your portable mobile brochure. This is where your would-be clients would to be directed to if they want to know more about your business. Let’s say everyone you meet for potential partnership wants to know how your products or services can benefit them, it is the job of your website to tell them in full details.

This is partly why you should take the task of setting up your website as the first step in acquiring your very first customer. Here are some other benefits to having a website first:

  • You’ll get a clear direction on where you’re headed. Many of us will usually have big dreams about how our business is going to flourish once we launch it. Without a very clear documentation of how the market is or what the attitude of the consumer towards our offerings are, we’re just like ducks heading in a hazy fog. Having a website would serve as an eye-opener into what being in this industry would be like.
  • You’ll Improve Your Professional Outlook. Your website is often how your prospects view you. With the internet setting the stage for many businesses, we have come to associate a lack of website for businesses as a lack of seriousness or a sign of unprofessionalism. If you want to improve the outlook towards your business, you need to start by having a professional looking website.
  • You’ll Educate Your Prospects. Prospects, that is what they are called in the business world. The people you look forward to making your customers. Having a website will help you educate them enough on what your business is all about and will help you reduce the stress and headache of having to drum it into their brains every time you meet.


2. Give Out Free Services


Image credit (flickr.com Bryan Rosengrant)

If you’re new into business and have not gotten your first client, this is the time to keep your hands busy. Start by giving out your services for free. Giving out your services for free will help people to know about you and how good you are at what you do. Even the people you’re giving your services to will be the ones to advertise you to their friends, who will pay you handsomely for your services.

Look for shops or small businesses in your local area that you think might benefit from your services but are not willing to pay or maybe cannot afford to pay for it. Make an arrangement with them to have you offer your services for free and, in return, they’ll advertise you to others. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.

But while doing this, make every effort possible to make them understand the worth of your services, of course without being annoying.

3. Teach People What You Do


Image Credit (Flickr.com Alec Couro)

You can also teach people what you do in order to bring awareness to your services. Set up a little lecture in your local area. If your local area is not so great, you can move to a more business conducive area and organize a little lecture on what you do. This should not cost you any money if you’re willing to put in the efforts to get everything done yourself.

You can also attend events and ask if there will be room for an extra speaker at their events. You’d be surprised at how many people will be willing to host you if you make them know you’re doing this for free.

At the end of your session, don’t forget to ask them to go to your website.

4. Ask for Referrals from Friends and Colleagues

If you have a lot of friends, chances are they know a couple of people who might be interested in your services. This is the right opportunity to pitch your services to them and let them market you to their bosses and colleagues.

If you’re not so keen on asking friends for a favor, just ask yourself what will you do if they approach you for similar requests? Will you turn them down? Of course, doing this will make you feel bad. So you too should try to ask for favors and, I bet, they’ll be more than willing to say yes.

Moreover, you can see it as if they’re not only helping you out, but they’re also helping the third party who would benefit from your irresistible services.

5. Reach Out to People

There are people out there who can pay well for your services. They might not know they need it at the moment, or maybe they simply do not know of your existence. Break that barrier by reaching out to them first.

You can email people. It’s called pitching in the internet marketing world. Visit various websites you think the companies might benefit from your services. Offer them a discount if they sign up and you’re on your way to close your first deal.

6. Write Online


Image credit (Frickr Erin Kohlenberg)

Writing online has grown to what everybody does. But this doesn’t mean that the gap for all expertise has been filled up or closed. More publications are looking for writers and if writing is where you excel, then start writing for the internet.

Chances are someone reading your article will be interested in your offering and they might just give you a phone call.

7. Promote Your Website


Use your website to attract your first customer by promoting it on and offline. When you write articles for the internet, let your byline or author information page mention and link back to your website. SEO can also help you get your first client from your website.

You need a website that is regularly fed with information and is well promoted to start getting clients. Not all of these efforts will cost you money.

Read my blog post on how to gain backlinks to promote your website.

8. Partner with Your Competitors


Chances are your competitors might benefit from your services but are not sure they want to reach out to you. Why don’t you reach out to them first?

When I started my freelance writing career, majority of the companies I worked for were established in the industry I’m currently in. Many businesses will be magnanimous enough to pay you to do what they can sometimes do just to ease off some burden.

9. Look Through Your Contacts


image credit (flickr Yvonne Larsson)

Getting your first client might require that you leave no stone unturned. If you’ve always made efforts to keep the contact of everyone you met, this is the time you begin to reap from that effort.

Start by making a list of possible persons in your contact that you can get in touch with. It’s not everyone that will say “yes” to new house decor or a baby sitter. So your aim here is to strike out every possible “time-wasters” from that list.

Once you’ve finally rounded up a list of potential “leads,” start by giving them a warm cold call. Introduce yourself, and try to remind them of how you met so that you don’t pass off as a total stranger. Then tell them how you’ve started your own business and was wondering if they’d like to benefit from the incredible sales offer you’re giving to people in your close contact group.

If you end up calling 100 people, it’s nearly impossible not to get 5 people to say yes.

You can read SitePoint’s John Tibita’s 8 tips on how to successfully land clients through cold calling.

10. Connect With People on LinkedIn


Unlike most social media sites, the thing with LinkedIn that makes it work for getting clients is that the site is mainly for professionals. LinkedIn is designed to make introducing yourself, and subsequently your services, less intrusive.

By optimizing your LinkedIn profile to look and speak what you represent, you stand a higher chance of closing your first client through LinkedIn.

These are my tips on how to land your first customer without spending a dime. If you find the tips in this blog post useful, then you’d also love my guest blogging services. And if you have any more tips you want to add to this, feel free to share them with us in the comments section.


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