You’ve got yourself a core group of clients; one that allows you to leave the full-time world of corporate employment behind for greener pastures. Over time, you develop processes around how to best produce deliverables, run a business, and somehow still find time to sleep. It’s hard work, but it’s worth it when you see those invoices paid out.
Indeed, leading the life of a freelancing solopreneur can be one of ultimate flexibility and opportunity. That is, until your first client relationship ends unexpectedly and you’re left trying to fill their shoes and your bank account.
As every solopreneur inevitably realizes at some point in time, generating leads is a crucial element when it comes to backfilling clients lost and the long-term growth of the business. Here are some tactics to consider when trying to build your sales pipeline.
Attend Networking Events and Conferences
You may not be able to rely on a designated professional development stipend from your 9-to-5 job anymore, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t invest in opportunities yourself to grow skill sets and professional contacts. Set goals around attending a certain number of networking events in your community every week or month, in addition to a conference or two a year.
The more face-to-face time you can spend getting to know people relevant to your industry, the higher your chance of closing deals and building word of mouth. The added bonus is that industry events also offer you the opportunity to learn and grow in your field.
Join Relevant Forums and Online Groups
If you want to build credibility around the services or products you have to sell, consider engaging in a bit of thought leadership. Curate a list of relevant forums and online groups to join and participate in regularly. You may end up making connections with potential clients or at least get a referral or two to follow up on.
Create Valuable Content
Building a base of valuable content in the form of blogs, downloadable resources, email newsletters, and more helps establish your authority and brand recognition. The more you develop, the more you can begin to expand efforts into areas like guest blogging, speaking engagements, and podcast features.
Cold Call and Pitch New Clients
Never underestimate the power of a persuasive pitch. Just because a company isn’t advertising a need for what you have to sell, that doesn’t mean they don’t want it. They may just be unaware that a solution like what you have to offer exists.
Do your research, develop a story of value around your solopreneur brand, and put yourself out there.
Host a Profile on a Third Party Freelancer Website
While you certainly have to put in your time on sites like Upwork and Fiverr to appear regularly in searches, there’s no harm in starting up a profile. Generating leads as a solopreneur is about casting a wide net — one that allows you to better select worthwhile projects to pursue.
Go Old School with Flyers
You spend plenty of time working at that coffee shop in town. Why not advertise your services there? Don’t shy away from more traditional methods of marketing — print up some branded flyers and post them around town where allowed.
Engage with Other Relevant Blogs and Influencers
As a collective, other solopreneurs can end up being a system of both support and potential business. Build a relationship with influencers in your industry through mutual engagement for the sake of gaining insights and access to joint lead generating opportunities. Running the show doesn’t mean you always have to rely on a party of one.