It can be super intimidating when you first start your business and you’ve yet to start working with clients. It may feel like there are so many other, more experienced, more talented and established professionals out there – why would someone want to work with YOU?
The answer is simple – nobody else out there is YOU.
Sure, there may be hundreds of experts offering the same service as you. But are they following the same process as you? Do they offer the same project experience, workmanship, results, as you do?
You ARE different – you just need to know what sets you apart from everyone else out there.
The next stumbling block you may face when you are starting out, is that you have no website.
But today I want to share 5 ways you can start sharing your know-how, build meaningful connections with your audience, and ultimately begin working with your DREAM clients even if you have no website yet.
1. Build your Brand from the start
I’m sure you’ve heard people talk about building a brand, and there is a very good reason for this – a brand is what will set you apart from everyone else online and have you stand out from the crowd! You want your potential clients to keep YOU in mind when they are looking to hire someone with your skillset and your brand is what will help them remember you.
To build your brand, you will need to decide on a colour palette, logo, fonts, patterns or elements and photography style, among other things such as graphic design. Your brand is the visual representation of your business vision and values, so it is therefore important that you understand the “heart” of your business so you communicate the correct message with your visuals.
When you are starting out, there is no need for you to break the bank with this. If you are not able to do it yourself you can absolutely purchase done-for-you brand kits which will give you a great head start with a polished brand that looks professional.
If you want to go the DIY route, my advice to you is SIMPLE IS BEST!
2. Create a service & pricing guide
Once your brand is in place, you’ll want to immediately get yourself a service & pricing guide set up. This is a great way to share more about you, your business, your service and booking process, all in one place with a call-to-action to take the next step.
Some other important things you’ll want to highlight in your service & pricing guide included:
- Timeframe of the project
- The booking and project process
- Manage expectations and set clear boundaries
- About the service and costs involved
- Best way to contact you
- Project examples pulled from your portfolio or client testimonials
You will want to make sure your service & pricing guide is tailored to your offer – example, if you offer day-rate services then make sure your guide is suitable for this.
The quickest way to get a service & pricing guide set up is to use Canva templates designed for this purpose! Grab this FREE 3-page guide to get your started.
3. Establish trust and form meaningful connections online
This can be tricky without a website but thank goodness for social media!
Platforms such as Instagram and Facebook were a game changer for me when I first started working with clients and I had no website.
I used Instagram to share my knowledge of my trade, give my audience helpful advice or tips, and share pieces from my portfolio to show off my experience. I also used Instagram to share client testimonials, personal stories to build connections and talk about causes close to my heart so my potential clients knew what I stood for as the person behind the business.
You also want to make sure that you are using the link in your bio correctly. Since you don’t have a website, you could link to your service guide or client invitation packet, or you could have them book a free clarity call with you. Whichever you choose, be sure that there is a clear call-to-action that will encourage people to click the link and get them a step closer to hiring you.
Facebook Groups are also fantastic places to build trust. FYI I am NOT saying you must go drop your links all over the place because that’s just not good guest etiquette! What you should do is try to offer some helpful feedback or tips to people who are asking questions in the groups related to your service/skills. This will give you the chance to be seen as an expert in your niche, help someone out, and get in front of more eyes. In my own experience, this has even led to onboarding new clients!
4. Build an email list as soon as possible!
While your social media is crucial to build new connections and nurture existing relationships online, I highly recommend that you try getting those people subscribed to your email list too. This way, you can communicate with them personally, and keep in touch with them outside of these social platforms.
It is a good idea to also have people who have enquired about your service, booked a clarity call, or worked with you in the past sign up to your list, as they are going to be more likely to book you in the future.
A few things you can send to your email list includes:
- A free resource to help them achieve a small win before hiring you
- A roundup of helpful posts you shared on your social media platforms
- A tip or trick that can help them overcome a specific pain point
- A before and after case study of a client you worked with
- A special offer on a package you currently offer or
- Announce the launch of a new service offer
When you are starting, you may not want to invest in an email marketing platform right away. If this is the case, here are two free options that are really great, as they’ll grow with your business:
If you’d like something more user friendly that still allows you to create STUNNING emails to send to your email list, I cannot recommend Flodesk enough! This is the platform I currently use after trying the above two first and not really loving it.
If you want to give Flodesk a try, you can use my special link to lock down 50% off – instead of paying $38/month you’ll pay $19/month for your first year!
5. Three ways to accept new clients without a site!
When you are ready to start signing on new clients there are a few ways you can do this without a website! Today I am going to share three ways I have personally used in the past…
Selling your service packages on Etsy
Simply add a product as you usually would, sharing all the important information about the service in the shop graphics and product description. Be really clear on things like your boundaries and conditions, the timeframe of the project, your refund policy, and what they will be getting once the project is complete.
The PDF download will be a client welcome document with a link for them to follow to take the next steps in the onboarding process, such as
- Signing the contract
- Booking a call
- Filling out a client intake form, etc
Accept payment via PayPal
You could also have clients pay you directly to your PayPal account once they are ready to book you. Simply add all your information into your client welcome packet or invitation guide and include the contract (and any other instructions or documents they’ll need before the project kicks off) as an attachment to your PayPal invoice. This way, they immediately receive everything before the project begins and there is no delay in the process.
Use Honeybook to onboard new clients
Honeybook simplified the onboarding process by allowing me to create proposals, giving me access to contract templates which I can customize for my own offer AND accept e-signature, send invoices, communicate with clients right inside the portal, accept payments, send batch emails and so much more. I can even schedule important dates and let clients know when I am free to be booked – no more double booking!!
Things I love about HoneyBook
- It’s so easy to use
- I can make templates for everything
- Did I mention they have an app?!
- Customer service is so helpful!
- Allows me to customize invoices for different project types
Let’s talk about the perks
- Send your invoice, contract and accept payment all in one place
- Set up tasks for yourself so nothing slips through the cracks
- Workflows to streamline my business
- The contact form on my website sends all my inquiries to HoneyBook
- Automatic payment reminders
Did I mention you can now get 50% off for your first year? If there is one investment that will give you plenty of bang for your buck, then it is HoneyBook! Use my special discount code ‘OURPOLISHEDPAGES’ to get 50% off – this is one you will NOT regret.
Never let anything stand in the way of your dreams! If you want to start working with soulmate clients on projects that light up your heart, you can absolutely do so using what you have at your disposal right now. The fancy website will come, along with the stunning photographs, high-end brand and scroll-stopping graphics. But, you need to start somewhere! So get your laptop fired up and just START!