1. People are having a hard time getting their first clients.
2. They are not charging nearly enough.
I see the same questions pop up time and time again. So let me discuss pricing strategies and how to get your first few clients and what to do after you get them. And let me be clear this is NOT what I did, but when I started things were much different(6 years ago). But if you were my best friend and you didn't live where I live and you wanted to get started, this is how I would tell you to do it.
First the name of the game is to get your first few clients. You just need around 5. So start putting up index cards everywhere with that goal.
I NEED 5 SMALL BUSINESS CLIENTS
I like to write a big goal I'm working for and tape it to the center of my steering wheel.
Now for your first five clients it's not about the money, it's all about the portfolio. You should be looking to build your portfolio up and not trying to get rich, maybe make enough to pay for a few essential tools like Scrapebox or Article Marketing Robot. And you probably need to prove to your significant other that you're not wasting all your time on big dreams over at the Warrior Forum.
If I were starting out today. I would build my website for my services probably on Wordpress, and then I'd build a mobile version of the website. I think mobile websites are pretty much the easiest thing to sell to people, they sell themselves. If you show a business owner a version of your full website and then what it looks like on a smart phone with a good design. I mean it is REALLY striking the difference.
You could easily sell a mobile website for $195 and it won't be any hair off their back to pay you $195 for it. You could just as easily sell it for $495. It's up to you what you want to charge. But somewhere in that $200-500 range is just about right. Almost anyone will say yes, I mean it is dramatic. Especially when you back it up with the statistics of mobile traffic. I hand them my iPhone with site not optimized and then a version with the site completely optimized. And they all just say, "How Much?". You're not going to get an easier sale. If you're a techno-tard, and some of us are. GoMobi makes some REALLY NICE looking websites, you should check them out. And it only takes about 20 minutes to make one.
From that point, I would go back to them and demonstrate the way their website looks. Now that's your chance to show them their site, and say oh and by the way you're not showing up on the maps, how about I help you to do that. I can get you setup on the maps for $300-500. Whatever your comfort level is.
Now I know what you're thinking, where am I going to get my first 5 clients? That's going to be easier than you think.
The first thing you're going to want to go after is your friends and family. Show your friends and family your website on your smart phone, ask who they know who they can talk to who owns a business. Tell them you literally need sixty seconds of their time. Ask about their doctor, dentist, attorney, accountant, auto repair guy, home repair contractor, etc. You know the one that when someone says they have a problem with X they say "I have a guy who......"
Now let me be clear here as well for your first few clients you really want to go after some low hanging fruit. So I'd be a lot more interested in a prospects who was a massage therapist than a personal injury attorney. It's going to be a lot harder for you on your first few clients to tackle someone in the difficult fields. Which are in my opinion.
You need a massage therapist, or a cleaning service or an interior decorator or a house painter. Someone who you could reasonably optimize for their local searches that isn't going to dent your confidence on your first shot.
Ok, if you don't find your first five within family. Then here is another way to get a client.
Why not put a facebook message that you just did a mobile website for a client and here it is, do any of your friends know any business owners who need a mobile website? Depending on how active you are on Facebook you could get a few clients from just this. A post or two a week about the cool things you're doing might rustle up some business for you.
Ok, and here is the killer. What I do is I go to GotPrint.com or VistaPrint.com and print out 500 postcards. And what I do is I put on the front something like this.
With big yellow words underneath, "What do people see when they find you with their phone?"
And either a sales message or just simply something like "To Get Started call Marcos at 888-888-8888"
Now what you're going to need to do is print one REALLY big one. Let's say around 20x30 on 100lb stock.
And what you do with this kick butt tool is find all the business networking groups around town. In many of these, each person has a chance for a 30-60 second pitch on what they do and the leads they are looking for. You can usually attend up to 2 meetings before you have to pay. Now depending on how the group is setup you may not be able to pay a lead fee. You can easily offer $100 per site you sell. The picture speaks for itself. You give the postcards to anyone who is interested in promoting your sites. Depending on where you are there might be 10-30 different groups meeting monthly/weekly. You can make the rounds and really rack it up.
Now on to pricing. As you get your first solid clients you're going to need to start slowly raising your rates. I'm ok with not charging much for your first clients, but eventually you're going to have to pick and choose who you want to work with it's much easier to have 10 clients each paying you $1k a month, than 40 clients paying you $300/mo. It's extremely important that you start raising your rates after 3-6 months and your portfolio starts to grow larger. I have a video testimonial from my client in my shock and awe package that talks about how my work got him on Dr. Phil for half a dozen show. The most I can charge a local client is around $3k a month but most are closer to $1-1.5k. I'm open to the idea that it's possible to charge even more than that. It should be your goal. to get to the point where you're in at a very minimum the $500-1k a month range.
After you've had around 5-10 clients you usually get most of your next range of clients just from word of mouth. You'll need to put together referral programs where you actively try to go after referrals from the clients you've already worked with. You need to be clear with them that they cannot talk about how cheaply you did work for them. They need to know for sure that you were offering introductory prices to them.
Anyway, those are my thoughts on first clients. And how to charge more money. Hope this helps some of you out there.
P.S.- Mobile sites!!!