Author Topic: Struggling to find new clients  (Read 1382 times)

supomglol

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Struggling to find new clients
« on: August 24, 2017, 11:12:55 AM »
WARNING: Long text to follow
Hello fellow MMM forum members,

I am posting here in the Entrepreneurship section hoping for some assistance on how to gain new clients for my IT consulting business.  I have been officially "in business" for 6 years now (LLC) and have been doing side-work unofficially for about 10 years now.  Finding new business has always been a personal weakness of mine, I originally started with a business partner who was supposed to fill this role.  This partner ultimately failed at their job and we eventually went our separate ways.  I have been doing everything on my own now for 4 years. 
I recently lost my full-time job and have decided to put another wave of effort into growing this side-business into a full-time gig which would give me the wealth and flexibility I need.

For the last 2 years I have also done real-estate investing using a friend's money as capital.  We own that business 50/50, I put in time, he puts in the money.  We have 7 ‘doors’ and it is going along great but that income is "some-day" money, not right-now money.  IE: part of my long-term retirement plan.  Based on my experience with the workload of this business, I believe I could reasonably accommodate as many as 20 'doors' before requiring assistance or considering it a near full-time job.  I cannot buy any additional properties until my business partner produces additional un-needed cash.  It could take us 5-10 years to reach 20 ‘doors’.

Back to the I.T. consulting biz I need help with:  When people ask me what the business is, I typically respond as following: I am the entire IT department for companies who have IT needs but cannot or do not wish to keep someone on-staff full time.  Everything I do is self-taught.  I started out doing basic technical support for friends of friends or family of friends type of deals.  As the years go by I've branched out to accommodate my existing clients in any way I think I could be useful.  This includes: server virtualization, bio-metric access control, PoE video surveillance, custom software applications, etc.  Everything I do is top notch.  I do not cut corners and I do whatever it takes to do what I say I'm going to do.  I have been extremely blessed with 2 amazing clients, both of which I have maintained for more than 5 years.  These two clients alone have provided me with a good amount of income over the years and we have actually become quite close, I would now consider these people my friends (they were all invited to my wedding).  One has expanded significantly going from about 15 employees to nearly 50.  They do not have any growth plans for the future.  My other client has downsized significantly over the years and is currently on borrowed time until they are eventually edged out of the market.  They have gone from about 30 employees to 15.  Both of these clients pay me a monthly service fee as well as an hourly rate for anything not covered in that service agreement (such as moving locations or adding additional new equipment). 

So let's talk about getting more clients.  I don't have an overly outgoing personality and I've never been a good "sales person" (usually taking the path of suggesting we can get similar results with less $$$).  I have tried a few things over the years with varying results:
  • Paper Flyers – We did this back when I had a partner and we were targeting residential customers primarily for TV mounting services.  We printed about 300 professional fliers and my partner was able to make a deal with a highrise business owner here to let us distribute them to all tenants.  It resulted in 0 sales. 
  • Radio Advert – Again back in the day of the partner.  This one cost us about $1,000.  We had the radio station produce the 30-second commercial and I think we got about 12 plays.  We got 0 calls relating to that commercial.
  • Business Facebook – Business partner handled this one, I didn’t have anything to do with it but it seemed silly to me.  We didn’t get any business from Facebook as far as I know.  I haven’t had a personal facebook in over 5 years. 
  • ISP partner – 5+ years ago there was a small ISP in town who had a technician visit a business I had been doing some wiring work for.  The tech was very impressed by my work there and actually called his boss in to see it too.  After a lot of back and forth with the company we were added to their approved vendor list.  This meant that when they signed a new client and that client happened to need additional wiring or some other type of work that we would be put on the list of people they would  then recommend.  They referred us 1 time, resulting in one of the clients I mentioned above that I’ve retained for years.  Sadly, shortly after this they were bought up by a much larger ISP and the agreement could not be transferred. 
At this point I parted ways with my business partner and decided to focus almost exclusively on businesses.  This was because I found the cost of client acquisition for residential too high with very little chance of repeat business.  (how often do you need to have a TV mounted) for example.  Through the years I’ve settled in on my ideal client being somewhere around 10-50 employees.  Any less and they just don’t have the resources or needs of my services (they are still buying desktops from bestbuy and use generic logins for example).  Larger than 50 employees and they are probably paying somebody full time to sit in an office and wait for the phone to ring. 
  • Google Adwords – I spent a few hundred dollars on campaigns here, but I really felt like I didn’t know what I was doing, received 0 leads and eventually gave up after a few months.  I also felt like I just couldn’t out-advertise the “big guys” like geek-squad. 
  • Payed website promotion – This was years ago when the algorithms weren’t as complex as they are today.  After building a current-generation (wordpress) with custom domain I paid a few hundred bucks to try to move up the list.  I ultimately didn’t see any additional legitimate traffic. 
  • Authorized Dealer – I became an authorized dealer to get some outside exposure to get some linkbacks to my website.  I did this for a line of surveillance equipment as well as dipping my toes back into residential by doing a home automation system.  I got a couple of nibbles from the home automation side but mostly people kicking the tires, and I didn’t feel like there was much money to be made in it. 
  • Business Cards – I really went all out on my business cards by hosting a design contest on freelancer and then picking a great design and having them custom printed.  I had 1000 printed, I’ve maybe used 200 in the last several years.  I get compliments on these any time I hand them out, but I’ve never had one generate a lead. 
  • Craigslist – I did create a few adds for craigslist’s for the computer services section.  I never got any responses from these. 
  • Networking – Ok, I admit that this isn’t my strong suit.  I did attend a networking event hosted by the local chamber of commerce for breakfast about 5 months ago.  We sat in tables of 6 and everybody got 60 seconds to say their piece and exchange business cards.  There was 3 rounds of this.  I felt like it was a good experience for me, but I didn’t feel like there were any “buyers” in the room, basically everyone trying to sell their wares or services to each-other.  Cost was bout $25, nothing came of this. 
I did not post all of this just to whine to the masses; but to illustrate what I have tried so far and my results thus.  I know there are a lot of successful business owners on MMM and some even specializing in IT services like myself.  I have been very lucky to have been as successful as I have, and I hate to admit that the clients I have… have basically fallen into my lap.  I purposely left out the name of my business or website, however if you think it may be helpful to take a look at my website, business cards, logo, or something else entirely – please feel free to private message me. 

Thank you for your insight!

Edit:Formatting
« Last Edit: August 24, 2017, 11:14:55 AM by supomglol »

lexde

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Re: Struggling to find new clients
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2017, 11:24:00 AM »
Do you specialize in any type of business you service? Are you familiar with the different software in that field?

I know a lot of small/boutique law firms need IT support and struggle with it on their own. The attorneys end up spending a few hours googling and troubleshooting when they could be billing at $150-250++ per hour.

I'm part of a network of female attorneys and know that the need is there. I'd recommend figuring out a niche and going for it there. Facebook groups, networking events as a vendor, etc.


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BigMoneyJim

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Re: Struggling to find new clients
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2017, 11:25:10 AM »
Posting to follow as I'm getting laid off and may want to find clients.

But I think your biggest problem is that you're selling tech skills when you should be selling solutions to problems.

Don't get technical; if your prospect were technical they'd be looking how to DIY or already found a vendor.

You need to be able to tell them how you're saving them time and/or money or make them feel better about themself.

supomglol

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Re: Struggling to find new clients
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2017, 11:32:54 AM »
Do you specialize in any type of business you service? Are you familiar with the different software in that field?

I know a lot of small/boutique law firms need IT support and struggle with it on their own. The attorneys end up spending a few hours googling and troubleshooting when they could be billing at $150-250++ per hour.

I'm part of a network of female attorneys and know that the need is there. I'd recommend figuring out a niche and going for it there. Facebook groups, networking events as a vendor, etc.
...
I don't currently specialize in any type of business.  I've done some small jobs for most segments including legal. 
My main two I've got now is financial and healthcare. 

While working for the financial client I recognized one piece of their software suite was heavily outdated and costing them bundles of time, money and frustration.  Over the course of 2 years I put up the time and money to have the software rebuilt from the ground up using current-gen tools.  I outsourced the labor itself while I did the design, testing, and implementation.  I sold the 1 and only perpetual license to that software to that same client of mine (I just invoice him separately for it). 
I wouldn't mind doing more of this kind of work, but larger software platforms require more upfront time and money, and even if I end up with a great product, it then comes time to sell said product. 
To be clear here: I am not a developer, but I know enough .Net/C#/SQL to be dangerous and enough for software design. 

The healthcare business operates entirely on a cloud-based platform owned by ADP with the exception of quickbooks, so no optimization to be done there. 

More events are really a good idea, and I have a lead on another local group I can try getting involved with in-person. 

lexde

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Re: Struggling to find new clients
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2017, 11:36:32 AM »
Do you specialize in any type of business you service? Are you familiar with the different software in that field?

I know a lot of small/boutique law firms need IT support and struggle with it on their own. The attorneys end up spending a few hours googling and troubleshooting when they could be billing at $150-250++ per hour.

I'm part of a network of female attorneys and know that the need is there. I'd recommend figuring out a niche and going for it there. Facebook groups, networking events as a vendor, etc.
...
I don't currently specialize in any type of business.  I've done some small jobs for most segments including legal. 
My main two I've got now is financial and healthcare. 

While working for the financial client I recognized one piece of their software suite was heavily outdated and costing them bundles of time, money and frustration.  Over the course of 2 years I put up the time and money to have the software rebuilt from the ground up using current-gen tools.  I outsourced the labor itself while I did the design, testing, and implementation.  I sold the 1 and only perpetual license to that software to that same client of mine (I just invoice him separately for it). 
I wouldn't mind doing more of this kind of work, but larger software platforms require more upfront time and money, and even if I end up with a great product, it then comes time to sell said product. 
To be clear here: I am not a developer, but I know enough .Net/C#/SQL to be dangerous and enough for software design. 

The healthcare business operates entirely on a cloud-based platform owned by ADP with the exception of quickbooks, so no optimization to be done there. 

More events are really a good idea, and I have a lead on another local group I can try getting involved with in-person.
Well, I'm not really talking about building the programs. Most firms have case/firm management software,  and there are a few big programs in the business, but the attorneys don't have the know how to really optimize it and need IT help and support. If that's something you could do (if it was worth the money for smaller jobs) you should definitely look into that. I'd imagine it'd be easy to familiarize yourself with the big programs (ProLaw, Clio, mycase, etc) and help support firms that way.

Bliss

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Re: Struggling to find new clients
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2017, 11:38:27 AM »
Do you participate in the local chamber of commerce? Attending an event or two may easily put you in contact with your target clients.

supomglol

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Re: Struggling to find new clients
« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2017, 11:53:44 AM »
Do you participate in the local chamber of commerce? Attending an event or two may easily put you in contact with your target clients.
The only interaction I've had with our local chamber was during the networking meeting I mentioned in the OP.  I went there with a family member who is a member of the chamber.  She indicated that they basically have one of those breakfasts (as described) once a month in addition to a similarly-structured dinner w/drinks.  1/3 of the businesses in attendance were advertisement firms (radio, billboard, vehicle wraps, digital signage, etc).  1/3 was people selling benefits, insurances, and then there was 1/3 of typical businesses like mine (there was 1 other tech service provider in attendance).  None of the people there were what I would classify as "decision makers".  Most of the attendees appeared to be sales people who were basically there to make their monthly pitch and score a free meal paid for by their company.  I again assert my ignorance, but these didn't appear to be the people I needed to be talking to. 

Are other chambers more active?

BigMoneyJim

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Re: Struggling to find new clients
« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2017, 08:02:19 PM »
I know a lot of small/boutique law firms need IT support and struggle with it on their own. The attorneys end up spending a few hours googling and troubleshooting when they could be billing at $150-250++ per hour.

I'm part of a network of female attorneys and know that the need is there. I'd recommend figuring out a niche and going for it there. Facebook groups, networking events as a vendor, etc.

Well, I'm not really talking about building the programs. Most firms have case/firm management software,  and there are a few big programs in the business, but the attorneys don't have the know how to really optimize it and need IT help and support. If that's something you could do (if it was worth the money for smaller jobs) you should definitely look into that. I'd imagine it'd be easy to familiarize yourself with the big programs (ProLaw, Clio, mycase, etc) and help support firms that way.

Whiff on a softball. Ok, well, if OP isn't going to ask you where these small/boutique law firms in need of IT support are, I will. (Think I'm starting to see why OP doesn't have more clients. Or maybe OP PMed you.)

I'm in Irving (Dallas), Texas, am getting laid off—last day is Thursday Aug 31—and am considering a number of income options including consulting. I'd like to deploy web sites, services, and cloud automation, but I also have a long background in networking, desktop and application support including small/home offices and would be happy to establish some business relationships with small law firms.

I even did a couple of law firm help visits way back in the day...I recall they had a problem with PCs falling off the network, and I determined it was related to their having routers from two different services conflicting, and I fixed the problem. (By disabling DHCP on one of the routers, for the techie types.)

I also volunteer-admined early-retirment.org forums back in 2005-2007 and migrated them from a failing platform to one very much like this forum software, so maybe one or two people around here will remember me for that.

Edit: OP, ^^^ that's one way to network. She literally said she knows folks who need IT help. She literally said she's part of a network of people, at least some of whom with an IT need. And then find the problem to solve; don't offer a big menu without knowing what they might need. Also, generally law firms—or any small professional office—without their own IT support will be small offices dealing with turnkey software, xDSL, cable or fiber business data plans from the usual consumer ISPs, retail PCs, and small, simple networks. They are generally looking for someone to swoop in, fix something, then go away until something else breaks. Maybe you'll find someone wanting to deploy or update a website or someone with a wild idea for a mobile app, but generally probably no long projects.

Edit 2: Well, I'm not the best at networking, either. I didn't directly enough ask for the business. so, lexde, please let me know if you know of firms in the DFW area with IT needs. If I don't see a public reply, I'll PM you in a couple of days or so.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2017, 08:39:31 PM by BigMoneyJim »

GenXbiker

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Re: Struggling to find new clients
« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2017, 08:36:04 AM »

I'm the senior systems engineer in an enterprise IT dept., and this is the type of work I've been doing for about 30 years, working my way up to a six figure income in recent years in a LCOL area, although I've rarely done any side work because I have put in a lot of hours week to week directly employed in an enterprise environment, so I'm not too excited about doing any more when my workday ends.  I'm one of those guys you mentioned working for larger business who is "sitting waiting for the phone to ring," well not really, too busy most of the time to be waiting around for anything.  Also, phone calls have to make their way through other staff in the dept. before they can get to me, which is great.  I rarely do anything as far as desktop support, so I don't have to deal directly with users much.

We have spoken with outside consultants about potential assistance with project in the past when we've been overloaded with things to do, but they are organizations with large staffing and well known in the community.  I can't imagine we would have considered services from a very small consulting business with just one or two people.  We did use a larger outside organization to assist with an installation 6 years ago, and I had to work so closely with them on what they needed to do that it didn't free up much time for me.  For specific software solutions, I've had to work with many software support people for upgrades, migrations, etc., but they are part of those companies' staff that are trained specifically for product they are working with.  I'm generally unimpressed with their capabilities outside of their narrow scope.

Earlier in my career, working for a medium size IT VAR business, I provided network services to various smaller businesses in the area and sometimes to larger businesses as well.  It was an established business before I ever worked there.  I'm already FI, but I plan to FIRE in about 2 years, and I sometimes consider doing consulting or other IT services on a limited time basis, figuring that 30 years of full time IT experience should hold some value, but everyone who has learned some basics working on computers at home thinks they can start their own business, and by the time I differentiate myself and build up any client base, I will probably be wanting to throw in the towel to enjoy total FIRE.  So, I'm thinking it might not even be worth the effort to ever get started, so I'm planning to work long enough here to build up a decent stache to provide a nice cushion over bare bones expenses.  Once I exit the field to FIRE, I don't think re-entering will be that easy, especially at the level and salary I have achieved, which is all the more reason for me to stick it out now to build the stache (I hit 83% savings rate last year.)

I guess I don't really have any specific advise and am posting more because it strikes closer to home for me.  Was the full time job that you lost in IT also?   And if not, have you looked into pursuing a new job in the field?  I have had some friends that tried to make it on their own providing IT services, but they all ended up working for businesses/institutions.

BigMoneyJim

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Re: Struggling to find new clients
« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2017, 12:11:05 PM »
I'm not sure how much of this is aimed at OP and how much at me, but such things have never stopped me from posting before!

I've rarely done any side work because I have put in a lot of hours week to week directly employed in an enterprise environment, so I'm not too excited about doing any more when my workday ends.

I agree. In IT there is also on-call, off-hours maintenance, and often self-study, so 8-5 isn't 8-5.

Quote
Earlier in my career, working for a medium size IT VAR business, I provided network services to various smaller businesses in the area and sometimes to larger businesses as well.  It was an established business before I ever worked there.  I'm already FI, but I plan to FIRE in about 2 years, and I sometimes consider doing consulting or other IT services on a limited time basis, figuring that 30 years of full time IT experience should hold some value, but everyone who has learned some basics working on computers at home thinks they can start their own business, and by the time I differentiate myself and build up any client base, I will probably be wanting to throw in the towel to enjoy total FIRE.  So, I'm thinking it might not even be worth the effort to ever get started, so I'm planning to work long enough here to build up a decent stache to provide a nice cushion over bare bones expenses.  Once I exit the field to FIRE, I don't think re-entering will be that easy, especially at the level and salary I have achieved, which is all the more reason for me to stick it out now to build the stache (I hit 83% savings rate last year.)

I worked briefly for a startup in 2000 that catered to small businesses / home office. (TechPlanet - I'm surprised there's still mention of them on the web at all.) Same tech concepts, just slightly different application. Like visiting another English-speaking country...same but different.

Working for a startup is not something I'd recommend, but on the other hand it was quite a learning experience. OP's mention of Chamber of Commerce events where everyone is selling and nobody is buying is very, very familiar to me!

Oh, and as a field tech for much of my early career I visited all shapes and sizes of businesses as on-site vendor support for one product or another they were using. I had never quite realized this angle of my experience before...I need to update my resume now!

But yeah, I've long toyed with the idea of working for myself, but I know it's not that simple. You have to find customers, bill them, follow up, file taxes...run a business. And I know that's not easy, and I know it's not in my core skill set. So yeah, working for "the man" has made a lot more sense.

People say to start on the side, but I'm starting to learn about myself is that I can only focus on one thing at a time (to a fault), so working for a company and trying to run a labor-requiring side business is just not going to happen for me.

So I was not looking to go into consulting. I think the turning point--aside from having at least a year's worth of expenses saved up, glowing references and relevant IT skills--was the out-of-nowhere thought that at this point in my savings and career, I could "drive for Uber for 5-10 years and still retire." But the point isn't Uber, and given my IT skills and my enjoyment of it it would be silly for me not to do IT. The point is I have the ability to coast to the finish line by earning enough to cover expenses and let my nest egg grow. So I have an opportunity to try something new and scary, and if I only half-succeed I am suddenly semi-retired.

But yeah, I would not have voluntarily left my job to try to start a consulting-business-without-a-plan, and the fallback position is to go running back to MegaCorps for a couple of paychecks a month and some golden handcuffs.

Quote
I guess I don't really have any specific advise and am posting more because it strikes closer to home for me.  Was the full time job that you lost in IT also?   And if not, have you looked into pursuing a new job in the field?  I have had some friends that tried to make it on their own providing IT services, but they all ended up working for businesses/institutions.

For me, I am almost planning to fail. I have already forgiven myself if I fail to cover expenses and start running out of money within a year. And I'm not going to go looking for W2 work right away, but if my old company initiates contact or one of my ex-coworkers' new companies reaches out to me with a decent job offer, I'm almost certainly taking it. And yeah, my [ex-]job is in IT.

Getting customers should be the hardest part, but I may have identified a niche or two in which I may have half a foot in the door. I volunteer-migrated another finance forum...geez, 12 years ago now...and apparently that impressed quite a few people, some of whom later asked me to help with websites, but for various reasons--work--I either flaked out or outright said "nah". I've been running my own web servers for 12+ years at home without battery backup, so even in a case or two where I might have accepted work or volunteered work I steered them away because my home server could go offline for hours at a time, and they'd be better off someplace more consistent.

But cloud services and automation make it much easier for me to deploy reliable hosting, so I'm going to work on a service offering to start testing out in a couple of months.

But hearing that there are a bunch of law firms and small businesses needing desktop help...well hey, I can still do that and bring in some money!

Smokystache

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Re: Struggling to find new clients
« Reply #10 on: August 28, 2017, 01:10:24 PM »
I hate to be the guy who posts a link to a book and simply says, "Read this! Twice!" But I'm going to be that guy:

Irresistible Consultant's Guide to Winning Clients by David A. Fields (Amazon link: http://amzn.to/2gkNuNn)

For me there were many hand-to-forehead moments that seem so obvious in retrospect, but I didn't really understand. I've changed my business model based on this book.

lexde

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Re: Struggling to find new clients
« Reply #11 on: August 28, 2017, 01:20:30 PM »
I know a lot of small/boutique law firms need IT support and struggle with it on their own. The attorneys end up spending a few hours googling and troubleshooting when they could be billing at $150-250++ per hour.

I'm part of a network of female attorneys and know that the need is there. I'd recommend figuring out a niche and going for it there. Facebook groups, networking events as a vendor, etc.

Well, I'm not really talking about building the programs. Most firms have case/firm management software,  and there are a few big programs in the business, but the attorneys don't have the know how to really optimize it and need IT help and support. If that's something you could do (if it was worth the money for smaller jobs) you should definitely look into that. I'd imagine it'd be easy to familiarize yourself with the big programs (ProLaw, Clio, mycase, etc) and help support firms that way.

Whiff on a softball. Ok, well, if OP isn't going to ask you where these small/boutique law firms in need of IT support are, I will. (Think I'm starting to see why OP doesn't have more clients. Or maybe OP PMed you.)

I'm in Irving (Dallas), Texas, am getting laid off—last day is Thursday Aug 31—and am considering a number of income options including consulting. I'd like to deploy web sites, services, and cloud automation, but I also have a long background in networking, desktop and application support including small/home offices and would be happy to establish some business relationships with small law firms.

I even did a couple of law firm help visits way back in the day...I recall they had a problem with PCs falling off the network, and I determined it was related to their having routers from two different services conflicting, and I fixed the problem. (By disabling DHCP on one of the routers, for the techie types.)

I also volunteer-admined early-retirment.org forums back in 2005-2007 and migrated them from a failing platform to one very much like this forum software, so maybe one or two people around here will remember me for that.

Edit: OP, ^^^ that's one way to network. She literally said she knows folks who need IT help. She literally said she's part of a network of people, at least some of whom with an IT need. And then find the problem to solve; don't offer a big menu without knowing what they might need. Also, generally law firms—or any small professional office—without their own IT support will be small offices dealing with turnkey software, xDSL, cable or fiber business data plans from the usual consumer ISPs, retail PCs, and small, simple networks. They are generally looking for someone to swoop in, fix something, then go away until something else breaks. Maybe you'll find someone wanting to deploy or update a website or someone with a wild idea for a mobile app, but generally probably no long projects.

Edit 2: Well, I'm not the best at networking, either. I didn't directly enough ask for the business. so, lexde, please let me know if you know of firms in the DFW area with IT needs. If I don't see a public reply, I'll PM you in a couple of days or so.
Hi sorry I didn't get back to this earlier. PM me your contact info and website if you have one and I will put your info on the threads I've seen. The particular network I was referring to is closed to female attorneys but is nationwide. I'm not in TX but several members of the group are (we are at 5k members now I believe?) so hopefully I can bring some business your way.

CargoBiker

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Re: Struggling to find new clients
« Reply #12 on: August 29, 2017, 09:01:53 PM »
    • Google Adwords – I spent a few hundred dollars on campaigns here, but I really felt like I didn’t know what I was doing, received 0 leads and eventually gave up after a few months.  I also felt like I just couldn’t out-advertise the “big guys” like geek-squad. 
    • Payed website promotion – This was years ago when the algorithms weren’t as complex as they are today.  After building a current-generation (wordpress) with custom domain I paid a few hundred bucks to try to move up the list.  I ultimately didn’t see any additional legitimate traffic. 
    • Authorized Dealer – I became an authorized dealer to get some outside exposure to get some linkbacks to my website.  I did this for a line of surveillance equipment as well as dipping my toes back into residential by doing a home automation system.  I got a couple of nibbles from the home automation side but mostly people kicking the tires, and I didn’t feel like there was much money to be made in it. 
    • Business Cards – I really went all out on my business cards by hosting a design contest on freelancer and then picking a great design and having them custom printed.  I had 1000 printed, I’ve maybe used 200 in the last several years.  I get compliments on these any time I hand them out, but I’ve never had one generate a lead. 
    • Craigslist – I did create a few adds for craigslist’s for the computer services section.  I never got any responses from these. 
    • Networking – Ok, I admit that this isn’t my strong suit.  I did attend a networking event hosted by the local chamber of commerce for breakfast about 5 months ago.  We sat in tables of 6 and everybody got 60 seconds to say their piece and exchange business cards.  There was 3 rounds of this.  I felt like it was a good experience for me, but I didn’t feel like there were any “buyers” in the room, basically everyone trying to sell their wares or services to each-other.  Cost was bout $25, nothing came of this. 
    I did not post all of this just to whine to the masses; but to illustrate what I have tried so far and my results thus.  I know there are a lot of successful business owners on MMM and some even specializing in IT services like myself.  I have been very lucky to have been as successful as I have, and I hate to admit that the clients I have… have basically fallen into my lap.  I purposely left out the name of my business or website, however if you think it may be helpful to take a look at my website, business cards, logo, or something else entirely – please feel free to private message me. 

    Thank you for your insight!

    Edit:Formatting

    You're not finding success because you are all over the map.  You try one thing you know nothing about, then it fails, and then you move on and try another thing.  Racking up lots of failures in the process.

    You need to pick one thing.  ONE. Then become the expert on that one thing. 

    You will fail at first. Then you will learn from your failures and try it again.  Then you will fail again, but will understand more about why you failed. Or if you don't understand why you failed then you will read and research specific ways to not fail at this one thing, and then you will try again.  This time, you might see a sliver of success, but not as much as you'd like. You're on the right track. Then read on how to optimize this, and then try again.  Eventually, you will figure it out.

    It sounds like you want to do IT for people local to you.

    Google Adwords is where I would go, for sure.  If you're going for local traffic, you can easily beat out geeksquad and the like, because they are only bidding on the generic keywords.  They aren't bidding for "Network IT Support in Leander, TX".

    Here's a link to one of my favorite guys who does Adwords for local business.  Read all of his stuff. It's free.  https://www.thefastlaneforum.com/community/threads/lead-gen-for-local-service-businesses.61148/[/list]
    « Last Edit: August 29, 2017, 09:06:13 PM by CargoBiker »
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    CowboyAndIndian

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    Re: Struggling to find new clients
    « Reply #13 on: August 30, 2017, 10:25:50 AM »
    But I think your biggest problem is that you're selling tech skills when you should be selling solutions to problems.

    Don't get technical; if your prospect were technical they'd be looking how to DIY or already found a vendor.

    You need to be able to tell them how you're saving them time and/or money or make them feel better about themself.

    +100


    BigMoneyJim

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    Re: Struggling to find new clients
    « Reply #14 on: August 31, 2017, 10:38:01 PM »
    I hate to be the guy who posts a link to a book and simply says, "Read this! Twice!" But I'm going to be that guy:

    I bought the Kindle version and am reading it. Thanks!

    Hi sorry I didn't get back to this earlier. PM me your contact info and website if you have one and I will put your info on the threads I've seen. The particular network I was referring to is closed to female attorneys but is nationwide. I'm not in TX but several members of the group are (we are at 5k members now I believe?) so hopefully I can bring some business your way.

    Hi, no problem. And thanks! Today was my last day at my old gig. I'm going to hold off on PMing you, though, because it looks like I'm going to be working with an existing consulting company that's expanding. I should have the initial details worked out by mid-next-week.

    It's been a busy day with some unexpected opportunities arising from ex-coworkers who think a lot of me and know people.

    lexde

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    Re: Struggling to find new clients
    « Reply #15 on: September 01, 2017, 05:03:58 AM »
    I hate to be the guy who posts a link to a book and simply says, "Read this! Twice!" But I'm going to be that guy:

    I bought the Kindle version and am reading it. Thanks!

    Hi sorry I didn't get back to this earlier. PM me your contact info and website if you have one and I will put your info on the threads I've seen. The particular network I was referring to is closed to female attorneys but is nationwide. I'm not in TX but several members of the group are (we are at 5k members now I believe?) so hopefully I can bring some business your way.

    Hi, no problem. And thanks! Today was my last day at my old gig. I'm going to hold off on PMing you, though, because it looks like I'm going to be working with an existing consulting company that's expanding. I should have the initial details worked out by mid-next-week.

    It's been a busy day with some unexpected opportunities arising from ex-coworkers who think a lot of me and know people.
    Awesome! Congrats! I'll be here if you need but having a regular gig is always nice.

    supomglol

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    Re: Struggling to find new clients
    « Reply #16 on: September 12, 2017, 09:26:05 PM »
    Hello all! 

    I posted this and then actually went on a planned vacation but I am glad to see that this thread has generated some good discussion without me. 

    The recommended book looks like it fits just the question I’ve been asking so I’m going to pick up a copy either online or at the library this week. 

    Lexde – Your group sounds really promising.  I think the trick to these kinds of groups might just be to prove yourself to one of them and then word will spread organically.  Or do you think it is OK to just come right out and ask for referrals during every job?  I’m based out of Tulsa, Oklahoma so if you have any members there that you think might be interested I’d really love to know!

    CargoBiker – I agree that it appears I’m all over the map!  I think this is a combination of my inexperience in marketing and my desire to see positive results.  But I do want to remind you that the list of failures was over the course of 10 years.  I think I posted it just to pre-emptively suppress those who might say I wasn’t trying anything at all. 
    It's interesting that you mentioned GoogleAdwords as my best opportunity.  I say that because that was one of the areas I felt like I put in the most effort, reading, watching, and generally learning a lot about the process and then tweaking and optimizing my offerings within adwords.  I liked the fact that I could see the real-time results of my efforts on my website, but as I mentioned I did a few rounds of this and didn’t receive a single client.  I’ll check out the link you provided though, even if I can’t get it working well for myself it could be a good tool to add general knowledge to my toolbelt anyway. 

    BigMoneyJim – Love to hear that you are taking this on as well.  The part of the business that you’re most unsure of (the “running the business”) side if you will, is actually the part I’ve learned to love the most!  Getting that QuickBooks balance to exactly match your bank statement?  Delicious.  Sending invoices exactly on the 1st of the month?  Love it!  I do everything myself in-house except filing my own taxes.  You’ll do fine at it, plus there are some really good resources in the various forums here on MMM. 

    Keep the suggestions coming if anybody has anything good to add!
    Thanks!

    asauer

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    Re: Struggling to find new clients
    « Reply #17 on: September 15, 2017, 06:22:07 AM »
    Consider narrowing your niche and going after that 100%.  For example- someone mentioned boutique law firms.  What if you specialized in that?  You could divert your energy into going after that business hard core- going to bar events, targeting them on LinkedIn, chamber of commerce etc.  Think about what type of business you can target and 'speak their language'- small dentists offices?  small accounting firms?  I recommend narrowing and driving towards that niche for 1 year before expanding/ changing focus.