Soooo you’re totally ready to start using your calligraphy and lettering skills for other people’s projects but… when you’re starting out, how the heck do you find clients to hire you for those projects??????
I get asked this ALLLLL the time, specifically because I teach people and have a course about how to price your work. You can be so good at pricing your work but… what if you don’t have anyone to give prices to? What if nobody’s approaching you?
In my course, Panic Free Pricing, there’s a full module on this with a video and a checklist of 15 ways to find clients. But I feel like EVERYONE needs to hear at least these 5 ways.
First Things First…
The links below may be affiliate links where appropriate. This means that your purchase through these links may result in a few cents in payment to me, to support creating further resources like this one! That being said, I will never suggest supplies that I do not personally use and fully recommend.
Rather watch than read? No problem! You can watch me explain my five ways to get hired in real-time by clicking the video below!
#1: Establish your online presence.
This feels like a “duh” thing, but I assure you, it is not. If people can’t find you, how the heck are they gonna hire you? Many beginners assume word of mouth is where it’s at when finding clients… and listen… it IS, at the start. But if someone hears of you through word of mouth and then can’t find you ANYWHERE when they go to look you up, do you think it’s going to make them feel inspired to track you down and hire you? No. It will seem like you don’t actually have a business.
So I have some action steps for you here:
- Get your custom domain.
- (If you don’t know what this means, Google “domain”.) This essentially means that you’re reserving your own little corner on the internet. My domain is “thehappyevercrafter.” Before I started my business, I made sure that domain (thehappyevercrafter) was available, so I could use it for thehappyevercrafter.com. Once you reserve your domain, make sure you set it up for your email too! Having email@example.com sounds so much more professional than firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s so important and only takes securing your domain.
- Set up a website.
- Even if it’s super basic, set one up! People need to be able to find you. You can find a free template and set something super simple up. Even if it’s just a page with a little “About Me” section and a form they can fill out to hire you. Just start with that for now! It doesn’t have to be overwhelming.
- Start focusing on showing up regularly on at least one social media platform.
- Figure out where your people are (your ideal audience), and focus your energy there. YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest – there are a lot of options. If doing ALL of them overwhelms you, don’t. Just focus on one (the one that will get you the most clients). Post regularly, and be intentional about it.
Once you create your business, you need to have a way for people to find you, to see your work, and to hire you.
#2: Actually share work you WANT to be doing.
This might seem “duh” again, but it’s so important.
If you’re sharing and posting on social media consistently, make sure it’s work you want to be doing – the work you want to get more of. Don’t share old photos you have lying around just because you can. Don’t share projects you hated doing or weren’t proud of.
Your potential clients don’t want to see projects you used to do. They want to see projects that they can hire you for. And then they will!
When you post, be sure to do it from the point of view of what a potential client wants to see.
Do they want to know what the process is like? How much to budget? What it’s like working with you? Do you supply the items you’re working with or do the clients?
Answer the questions in your posts that you think the clients want to know. This will draw them into you and teach them what your process is like. And this will make them want to work with you even more.
#3 When you get a client, ANY client… ask for testimonials and referrals!
Even if you do the work for free to get experience! Testimonials and referrals are soooo important.
It can feel kind of awkward at the start to tell people you want to know what they thought about working with you, but be open with them. Let them know you enjoyed working with them, and you hoped they did too! Tell them you’d love their honest feedback and that as a small business owner, it can be really helpful to get feedback and reviews.
The more testimonials and reviews you can have on your website and “Google search,” the more trust future clients will have in you. Hearing it from past clients is super credible (versus only hearing it from you). It provides an extra level of comfort for new clients.
Ask for testimonials. Ask for referrals! Just do it!
#4 Network with other businesses.
Not just relevant businesses. Network with ALL businesses.
As someone who does creative services (like a calligrapher or letterer), you can do so many types of projects. You don’t only have to work with a wedding planner on some signs for her clients just because you’re a calligrapher. You can network with allll types of businesses. You never know what kind of work might come out of that.
For example, network with people who work at and/or own restaurants and cafes. It might seem weird, but it’s how I get most of my window jobs! It’s all people I’ve networked with! Even though they’re not in an industry related to calligraphy or handlettering, they have businesses that can utilize my services.
And by network with them, I mean join relevant groups, like The Rising Tide Society. Check to see if there’s a local chapter near you. And look up “your city” and “business networking.” Your city might have groups you didn’t even know existed! Don’t feel awkward about joining or going to meetups. Everyone is in the same situation as you!
#5… and this one might make you freak (especially if you’re an introvert)… COLD CALL.
It’s one of my favourite ways to get new clients. If you’re a person who has a skill or service for hire but aren’t getting approached by a ton of clients, it’s your job to find them and let them know you’re available.
If you’re a letterer or a calligrapher, go into some of the businesses you want to work with. Bring them a business card or a postcard-sized card with examples of your work on it. Say – “Here’s what I do, and these are the types of services I offer. I’m not sure if you’re interested in this kind of thing, but if you are, I’d love to chat. Here are some examples of my work.”
It might not even be a service they considered in the past but will now that you presented it to them. And your name will be top of mind now. It doesn’t have to be super salesy or anything. You’re just letting them know who you are and what you offer. The worst they can say is they’re not interested right now. But if they change their mind in the future, you’re still going to be at the top of their list.
And that’s a wrap!
Honestly, all it comes down to for finding clients is screaming it from the rooftops that THIS IS WHAT YOU DO, and you’re ready to be hired for it! You haaaaave to put yourself out there. You can’t just wait for people to find you. ESPECIALLY when you’re first starting. There’s a lot of leg work up front, but it’s going to pay off in the future.
So again, in Panic Free Pricing we go more in depth with this, but what I wanted to point you to next as a freeresource is our full free workshop! It’s called “5 Keys To Confident Pricing,” which is SOOOOOO important once you do find clients. It’s all about how to confidently price yourself and actually GET the clients to sign on once they’ve inquired.
If you found this helpful I have no doubt you’ll find that helpful too, so you can find it at www.thehappyevercrafter.com/pricing
I hope to see ya there!
And finally, your dad joke…
As a doctor, I’ve lost all my clients for yelling at them for being late.
It’s true: I have no patients.