Today on the blog, continues the series titled Land More Freelance Clients! The purpose of this series is to address questions that come up a lot from both Live Free Academy students and moms who are just learning about freelancing.
Today’s blog post is based on The Live Free Podcast episode 236: Land More Freelance Clients Series | Landing Brick & Mortar Clients. So that you can get the information no matter your listening or reading preferences!
Last week’s Podcast episode was about freelancing predictions for 2023. Spoiler alert: the brick-and-mortar space is trending to be a huge opportunity to land more freelance clients.
In this post, I talk about how to land more freelance clients, traditional brick-and-mortar clients, and the pros and cons of traditional clients.
Land More Freelance Clients
As we begin this series, let’s remember a few (really) important points about landing freelance clients.
- If you can land one client, you can land 100 clients! You simply will repeat the process that worked for landing that first client.
- When it comes to landing clients, you need a solid foundation in your business with a service to offer. Whether you are first starting, or are established and transitioning your services go visit those steps in the Live Free Academy course. Get clear on what your services are!
- You need to know who you want to work with. Be clear on who your ideal client is and have conversations with them. You want to have conversations about how you can help their business.
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What are brick-and-mortar clients
Working with brick-and-mortar clients means businesses that have a physical location and/or a building. They may even travel to the customer to provide a service to them.
This is going to be businesses like restaurants, boutiques, chiropractors, painters, general contractors, real estate agents, and venues.
There are tons of different types of businesses that could fall into this ‘brick-and-mortar’ label. If they have a physical location in a building, or they travel and come to you, that is going to fall under this type of business.
Services brick-and-mortar clients need
All businesses need similar types of services or help to function. They need admin support, backend, website services, project management, social media, and marketing.
However, some specific needs of brick-and-mortar businesses are updated mobile and user-friendly websites.
In addition to that, and this could be in partnership with that, is local SEO services.
They also need help with social media presence, either starting it or just taking over it to grow and maintain it.
They need admin support which could include email inbox management and other backend tasks that keep them busy.
They could potentially need copywriting and/or content-writing services.
They need Bookkeeping.
Business project management.
Virtual office management.
How to land more freelance clients
1. Local Networking
A lot of communities have small business groups that meet up to provide learning and networking opportunities. Even the small-town communities, not all, but a lot!
Look into your local chamber of commerce. Here in Kansas City, there were several entrepreneurs, small businesses, and bigger companies that are part of the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. When I reached out to them, they invited me to come to a few meetings to see if I wanted to join. So I was able to go try it out before I invested into being a member.
Another opportunity is BNI chapters. Google ‘BNI chapter’ (Business Network International) near you or the biggest town around you.
Or if you live in a very small town that doesn’t have a local Chamber of Commerce or BNI Chapter, then do a Google search for ‘small business networking (insert your town or city here)’.
Then when you join these groups, it will take consistency in attending the meetings, networking, and building relationships each time you attend to become known. Don’t expect to walk into one event and walk out with 5 clients.
This is just your start, the goal of the event is to meet people and build relationships. Think of it in terms that you are going to meet people, not find clients.
Then after you build some business relationships schedule a coffee meet-up to chat. Ask about their business, and how you can support their business. Hopefully, they will ask you the same question, and when/if they do your response should be, “If you ever hear of anyone that needs help with (your service here), then I would appreciate any referrals.”
If this is the route you want to take, then make it your goal to go to 1-2 events a month, and one coffee chat per week.
Check in with them every few weeks to see how they are after that. And if you said you would do something for them, do it, then check-in. Don’t ghost them!
2. Direct outreach
This is also called cold pitching, and while it can have a negative connotation to it, it doesn’t have to! You can go this route and do it in a way that the other person is excited about and pleased to receive your email.
If you want to do this with local businesses, the best approach to take is to make a list of local businesses and then start reaching out.
You might find businesses by doing a Google search or from businesses you have visited. There may be businesses you have a special connection to. Or businesses that you see that need your services. For example, you offer social media management, and you see that a business is posting once a month on its social media channel. That could be a good indicator that they need more support.
Type up a good email pitch, don’t forget there are 3 different templates in The Live Free Academy for you to start with! Personalize it, make it specific to that business, then send it.
Make sure you have a mail tracker installed, and be prepared to follow up. You’ll need to follow up at least 3-4 times before you mark them off as not interested.
A final reminder about the direct outreach approach. A no isn’t always a no. Sometimes it’s “a not right now”, and they can reach out down the road and often do!
3. Facebook groups
The third route to landing traditional businesses is Facebook groups. There are lots of Facebook groups for small and local businesses. You can just go to the Facebook search bar and type in ‘your town or city (or the closest one to you) + small businesses’.
If you need help finding groups for your ideal client you would like to work with, sign up for The Live Free Academy course, then check out Step 5. Which is a whole lesson on finding and networking in Facebook groups + it has templates and starters for you to use. Also, come to a coaching call!
You can also search for a specific kind of business. For example, you want to work with chiropractors. Do a Google search for ‘cash-based chiropractors’ or ‘private practice chiropractor office’, guaranteed you will find something.
4. Personal Connections
Personal connections are the 4th and final way to go with landing traditional brick-and-mortar clients.
Make a list of the well-connected people you know, the people that have businesses, or people you feel comfortable reaching out to. Then reach out to them, and say, “Hey, I just started a freelance business as a virtual assistant. I’m looking to take on clients in the ______ industry. You wouldn’t happen to know anyone who needs help with this would you?”
It’s as simple as that!
They could say yes, and then you would ask for those referrals.
Or they could say no, to which you would reply with, “I appreciate you getting back to me, and if you come across anyone in the future, I would love to be top of mind and would appreciate anyone you could send my way.”
Pros and Cons of Traditional Clients
These brick-and-mortar businesses are established and they probably have a consistent revenue. So this client is going to be consistent to work with month-to-month.
Sometimes when you are working with a client in the digital sector, even if their business is established, their revenue can be a little unpredictable compared to some brick-and-mortar type businesses.
And because they have an established business and customer base that is more consistent month-to-month, they will likely have the budget.
These traditional businesses and business owners may not be familiar with hiring freelancers.
If you want to learn how to talk to traditional brick-and-mortar businesses, check out Part 2 of the Land More Freelance Clients Series: How To Talk To Traditional Businesses About Hiring Freelancers.
In this post, you will learn how to talk to traditional businesses about hiring freelancers, why they should hire freelancers, how to educate them on freelancing, and the benefits a freelancer can have on their business.
Now if this all sounds intimidating to you, and you are not yet a The Live Free Academy student, please know that this course can help you at every stage of starting and growing your business. Inside this course, you get full access to a how-to build your business course so you can get ready for clients ASAP!
You will get all the tools and templates, skills training, and the most supportive community of freelancers on the internet by your side! Plus, you get weekly coaching calls, freelance job leads from the exclusive LFA Hire Form available only to the LFA community, and monthly land your client goals challenges.