I know this is a burning question in the minds of many entrepreneurs and freelancers.
I don’t have a “how-to” guide that will guarantee your success, but I would like to share my perspective because it is not just about getting more business, but also about creating a better world for everyone :). I also admit that what I about to share does not apply to everyone or every business model.
My first customer was my first employer. They were buying what I had to offer, my unpolished, raw programming skills fresh out of school. I did not like that customer, but they taught me a lesson:
your customers should find you, rather than you finding them.
It took me almost a decade to understand it, though.
My second customer was my second employer. But this time there was a big difference. They called me, and I had to decide if I wanted to work for them, not the other way around. They had already decided they wanted me there.
This may seem like luck, and that is what I also thought for a while. But it happened again with the third employer. And after that, I stopped being an employee and became a freelancer. And the people I work with today found me.
It wasn’t until I read about inbound marketing that I understood what was going on. And that, in fact, luck was just a part of it, and maybe not the most significant part.
What I was not doing was not sitting around, waiting for clients to call. I was continuously working. Either to improve my skill or to generously solve other people’s problems.
When I began my freelance work, I’ve spent the first two years doing volunteer work. And they have been the best years. In those times, I would only do work that was profoundly satisfying to me. And I discovered how nourishing it is for the soul to be able to choose the people you are working with or working for.
To paraphrase Seth Godin, the way to get clients is to do work that matters for people who care and to do so generously.