By the end of the decade 40% of the U.S. workforce is predicted to be self-employed freelancers, consultants and contract workers (see our previous post). If you have already started a freelancing or consulting business on Zoondy (click here to find out how Zoondy works), you know that starting a business is just the first step. To grow your business and increase your earning potential, you will need to expand your client base.
The more diverse your clientele, the better you’ll be able to weather the periodic economic fluctuations that can spell disaster for self-employed workers. Work to develop clients in a variety of markets so that a downturn in one economic area can be mitigated by business from other economic sectors.
Building a diverse customer base for a freelancing or consulting business requires hard work and good marketing skills. Use these tips to market yourself and expand your customer base:
- Network, network, network. Keep in touch with previous employers and coworkers. Connect with friends in the business community. Keep your business cards handy and don’t be shy about handing them out. Wherever you go, be alert to networking opportunities.
- Attend open houses and happy hours sponsored by businesses or industry groups that might use your services.
- Beef up your social media presence on LinkedIn, Google+, Brazen Careerist, Facebook for business and Twitter.
- Join professional organizations within your target industries and within the self-employed community. Look for chapters of Freelance Success and the Young Entrepreneur Council in your area.
- Look for collaborative opportunities with other small business owners.
- Use social media contacts and your website to build contact lists. Offering downloadable white papers or a monthly newsletter is a smart way to build a subscriber list.
- Start a blog and post to it regularly to increase your reputation as an expert in your field.