For those of you that don’t know, I’m quite an introverted person and have been for as long as I’ve known. For some reason I’ve always suffered with anxiety in a wide range of different scenarios, and I’ve yet to find a solution as to how to deal with all of them. With that in mind, it’s made it increasingly difficult to grow my own business; as networking tends to play a huge part in finding & acquiring new clients. That left me in a difficult position where I had to start thinking outside the box and try out a variety of different methods of client acquisition, and now I can give you some actionable advice for getting new clients as an introvert.
In my personal experience of running a business, you have to focus on your strengths as an introvert and not get sucked into the con-trepreneur lifestyle that you see plastered all over social media. After a day or two of searching through YouTube, you’d be easily convinced that you HAVE to be knocking on doors, calling random businesses and filming Facebook Live videos whilst cleaning your (neighbour’s) Ferrari, when in reality you don’t have to do any of that. Double down on what you’re good at and outsource client acquisition if needs be.
First things first, you’ll need to understand what you’re comfortable with & what you’re good at. As an introvert it’s likely that you’re not a fan of putting yourself out there in public, and meeting people face-to-face, especially if it’s in a large group! So to compensate you’ve probably developed some decent skills behind the computer screen (or phone). With that in mind you’ll want to focus your efforts in building an online platform for yourself which can eventually sell your services itself.
How to begin getting clients as an Introvert
One of the very first things you’ll want to do is create a portfolio for yourself, which you can showcase to any potential clients that may be interested in your services. If you’re a creative then you can create mock designs based on things you like, or better yet designs aimed at businesses within your ideal niche. You can choose to have your portfolio on your own website, or on your social media pages such as Instagram & Dribbble. This will come in handy in a moment as we go through the various ways that you can find new clients.
Sign up to freelancer websites
Joining freelancer sites might seem like an obvious point, hence why I’ve added it near the start of this list, however it’s a point that needs to be made as I personally dismissed it for a long time until I started taking them a bit more seriously of late. Before then I tried everything from emailing prospects, sending physical letters and even cold calling, with each attempt knocking my confidence down further and further. Eventually I made more of an effort with freelancer sites like Fiverr, Upwork & Freelancer.
After dedicating some time towards these sites, I began to pick up new projects quite regularly. The trick though was to re-frame my mindset from thinking that this work was below me, as I’d already been building websites for 2 years, and to start thinking “This is a great opportunity to build up my portfolio”. This mentality shift meant that I was happier to lower my prices and undercut my competitors (on these sites), and also that I was going to succeed long-term, as I was starting to build a solid portfolio that was eventually going to sell itself.
Another way that you can start gaining a positive reputation on freelancer websites such as Fiverr and Upwork, is to get in touch with friends, family or even old clients, and ask them if there’s anything that you can do for them in return for a review. This is a simple way to kickstart your freelancing career, especially considering that it can be quite difficult to get new clients without any reviews otherwise.
If you’ve been impressing your clients lately, then you’ll want to make sure that you’re getting the best possible (video) testimonial from them. Check out this post which covers the exact points that they need to cover in their testimonial, to ensure that you’re attracting more business on a regular basis.
Implement the $1.80 strategy
This popular marketing strategy, that has been been coined by Gary Vaynerchuk as the ‘$1.80 Strategy’, involves reaching out to 90 different people each day, and leaving your 2 cents on each piece of content. Initially this strategy was intended for Instagram however it can be applied to any social media platform that utilises decent hashtag or niche searches, such as Linkedin. You can learn more about the $1.80 Strategy in this post.
The way it works is that you’ll come up with 9 different hashtags that your ideal client will likely be using, for instance as a website designer my ideal clients might be using the hashtag #startup or #business, so I’ll collate 9 of these hashtags and search through each one everyday. I will then leave a genuine, insightful comment on the 10 most recent posts under each respective hashtag. Each comment will count as my 2 cents on 90 different posts, which mathematically adds up to $1.80, with the intention being to build awareness for your social media page, portfolio, brand and business.
If you really want to take the $1.80 Strategy to the next level, then you should check out this post on why you need to niche down your business, which contains an excellent example of how one particular freelancer is bossing it on Instagram!
Work with extroverts
Touching on the earlier point of gathering valuable testimonials from clients, one thing that I’ve consciously done to grow my business, is to help out highly extroverted people and have them shout my praises for me. The reason for this is because I knew that I wasn’t overly confident in promoting myself on social media, regardless of how good I thought my work was, so instead I would work with extroverted individuals who were more than happy to publicly praise my efforts for me.
The best part about this is that there’s really no limit to who you could help. I myself have found extroverted business owners in Facebook Groups, on YouTube Videos and on my social media feeds, many of which were more than grateful when I offered my advice (and services) for free. You might lose out financially on the first couple of projects, but when you have the public backing of someone who has a growing network around them; that initial investment becomes priceless.
What you’ll want to do is find a business owner who’s confident in front of the camera, reach out to them and state that you’re looking to build your portfolio and that you’re willing to work for free in return for a video testimonial. If they accept your offer then you have to do your magic, producing your best work, and then get that video testimonial off of them. You may find that they post their review to their own social media feed however this isn’t overly important, the main purpose of the video testimonial is to add it to your online portfolio for future clients to see.
Focus on repeat business
As an introvert you’ve already demonstrated that you struggle with getting new clients, so it would make sense to go over and above for the clients that you already have. Your focus should be on establishing great, long-term, business relationships with them – as opposed to just making a ‘quick buck’. Remember that it’s much easier to sell to a client that’s already purchased from you, than it is to sell to a stranger.
Also it goes without saying that your clients may recommend your services to a friend or colleague of theirs, so make sure that you’re providing the best possible service each and every time, as a way of ensuring the long-term future of your business.
I often suggest that entrepreneurs should always try to niche down their business, focusing on a specific demographic that they want to help – and I stand by that opinion, however that doesn’t mean that you can’t offer additional services once you’ve already established a positive relationship with your client.
I can’t tell you how many times an old client has asked me whether I “also do Google Ads” or “Email Marketing” after I’ve already built them a website. In fact, just as I was writing this sentence I received a message from an old client on Fiverr, asking if I could edit some logos for him! So don’t underestimate the power of repeat business, especially when there are so many additional income streams that you can tap into once you’ve earnt their trust.
Getting new clients for your business as an Introvert can be depressing, however you’re more than capable of doing so if you follow the points that I’ve covered above. Don’t get distracted by the nonsense that you see online about cold calling & knocking on doors, instead stick to your strengths and go over and above for the clients that you do acquire. The money is in building a portfolio that ends up selling itself, so don’t be afraid of working for cheap (or for free) in the beginning.
Do you have any questions or feedback on this post about getting new clients as an Introvert? Let me know in the comments below!