How To Find Your First Client

How To Find Your First Client

Updated July 28, 2020
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Are You Ready To Serve Your First Client?

How exciting! Finding and serving your first client is special.

How do you know if you are ready to be a social media manager?

Have you
✓ educated yourself?
✓ researched the social media marketing industry?
polished your social media management skills?
✓ practiced on friends and family or during an internship?

If your answer is ‘yes' to most or all of these questions you are ready to jump in and get paid for social media management!

Wait!
How do you intend to find that first client?
Do you have a plan of attack?

No fear!
We are here to help guide you.

In this article, you will find real-life examples of tried and true ways social media managers have found their first client.

For ease-of-use and easy reference, we have grouped these tips into four sections.

  • ‘Warm' Online Connections
  • ‘Cold' Online Connections
  • ‘Warm' In-Real-Life Connections
  • ‘Cold' In-Person Connections

Use these examples to come up with your own strategy for finding that first client. Pick the ideas that match your style, your business, and your comfort level. Start implementing these ideas until you find something that works for you and your geographical location – as in, see what works – and rinse and repeat to build your business and add one new client at a time.

How To Find Your First Client Using the Internet

It is always easier to reach out to people you know to start a conversation about your business.
Here are ways to reach out to people you already know, or are familiar with, using the internet.

‘Warm' Online Connections

Warm online connections include people you or your friends and family are currently connected to. Reach out to your current connections on

  • LinkedIn
  • Instagram
  • Twitter 
  • Facebook

You can use private messages to start conversations about your new venture. We advise you not to lead with a sales pitch! Instead, start a simple conversation – and research what each person does and likes before you start that conversation. Asking questions is a great way to start a conversation; one way to be effective is to read someone's bio and to pick something in the bio to ask about. People love talking about themselves! All of these platforms have been used to land a first client by other social media managers! One might work better for you than another; we say give each of these a try.

‘Cold' Online Connections

Next up are your options for using the internet to find your first client through cold connecting. This list includes social media groups, job boards, online research and email marketing.

  • LinkedIn Jobs  – search for jobs and projects based on keywords and your profile
  • LinkedIn Groups – search for both industry and local groups to join and become active within the groups
  • Facebook Groups – search for industry groups, job listing groups as well as local groups to join and become active within the groups

Whatever you do, please don't spam groups with desperate pleas for work. Instead, start by answering questions, give support, look around, and start developing personal relationships with other members. Taking the conversation to a private platform to grow those relationships is step 2 of this process before asking about job opportunities and available projects.

The next group of places to find your first client consists of search sites and job board sites. Again, these have all been reported as places where social media managers have found their first (paying) client.
This includes:

We have reports of people making good money through these sites listed above, yet other people report that the type of clients they found on these sites were not the quality clients they wanted. Whatever it is you are looking for in a client, getting that first client might be more important than the quality of that said client. As always, this is a personal choice.

Last but not least, here are more ideas on how you can use the internet to connect with that first client! These are tried and true ways to find your first client; if it has worked once before, why couldn't it work for you?

  • Research Businesses and Brands Online – start a conversation with the owner on your preferred platform
  • Your Website – be clear what you offer. Set up a landing page a give out eBooks or PDF with email sign up
  • Your Blog – show off your expertise and start a blog; monitor the comments for inquiries
  • Your Social Media – share exciting industry updates and you might get an inbound lead!
  • ‘First Client Special' – put together a ‘first client special' and promote on social media – limit to one, of course
  • Online Advertising – put together some Facebook ads and drive traffic to your landing page
  • Guest Blogging – reach out to companies you admire and whose blogs you read; connect with the team
  • Cold Email Marketing – send emails to researched businesses you'd like to work with

become a social media manager


How to Find Your First Client Through In-Person Meetings

What better way to showcase who you are than by meeting in real life! The ‘know, like and trust factor' goes a long way when looking for that first someone to give you a break and hire you. Starting with someone you already know is ideal. Do stay professional and always draw up a contract, even when working with these warm connections.

‘Warm' In Real Life Connections

Warm connections can help you land your first client; these are people who you already know. This list consists of people in your inner circle.

  • Family and Friends
  • Internship Boss
  • Fellow Alumni
  • Neighbors
  • College Professors or Advisor

If these warm connections can't hire you, ask these ‘warm connections' for introductions to people who would use your services as a social media manager. Make sure your request is made in a professional way and that you have a clear way of tracking your referrals.

‘Cold' In-Person Connections

Everywhere you go there are opportunities to connect with people and have conversations. Each of these connections could alter the course of your life. Below, find ways social media managers we know have found their first client. You never know who you'll meet and where and what they can offer you! Be open to connect everywhere and anywhere and to start that conversation!

  • Networking Events – find these via meetup.com
  • BNI (Business Network International) – find and join your local chapter
  • Industry Associations – join, and network
  • Local Sporting Events – as a volunteer or participant
  • Conferences – volunteer (free) or attend (pay)
  • Cold Calling at Brick and Mortar Stores – Mondays generally work well to walk-in and talk to a business owner
  • List Winners – approach local ‘List' winners and offer to work with them
  • Free Lunch & Learn – bring in some lunch and teach what you know. Pitch your services at the end
  • Public Speaking – pitch to local groups to speak i.e. Rotary, Optimist Club, Associations
  • School Career Days – speak to the kids about your career and connect with other business owners over coffee
  • Volunteer with a Non-Profit – do a bang up job and they might hire you
  • Barter – it's not paid in the true sense of the word. Might still be worth it to get your feet wet; it has worked
  • Teach at a Local College – add that to your LinkedIn profile and resume for instant credentials
  • Write for a Magazine – gives you instant credibility; make sure your bio has a call to action
  • Collaborate with other Freelancers – offer to work together on projects; they might pass some leads to you
  • Join Local Chamber of Commerce – join multiple chambers if possible and offer to conduct a seminar to members
  • On an Airplane – be open to talking about your business and be prepared with a business card

There are lots of ways to find your first client. Some people will use the same platform, networking event or method to find more clients once they find their first client. Other people will use multiple methods at once until they land their first client. Whichever way you do it, be sure to have

  • a portfolio or presentation ready to present
  • pricing nailed down
  • your proposal process laid out
  • consulted with your legal counsel for contract help
  • a way to invoice your first client

Good luck, be sure to leave a comment below if you have a super way to land a first client as we want to know!

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