Getting your first clients or customers is rarely easy, but it’s always exhilarating. We asked some of the brightest folks we know to take a stroll down memory lane to talk to us about how they got their first customers back when just starting out.
Tamay Shannon | Social Media Strategist and Consultant
Fun Fact: My mother got me my first client. Go family! However, how I built from there was face to face networking. Video wasn’t as popular or as easy to execute then (Back in my day *old person wheeze*). If I were to start over today, I would leverage video! Video allows you to communicate and network with people in a wide variety of locations expanding who you know in your niche. More than that if you use video and then follow up, follow up, follow up, you can grow your funnel in all of it’s stages. An example of what that could look like is:
Do a webinar or live or live podcast.
1.Responding to any comments that are left live
2. Follow and ENGAGE with them on their social social
2a If the comments were “I need you!”, slide into their DMs and set up a call.
2b. If they are not ready for a call, share with them the value of your list and why they should be on it.
3. Repurpose that video into smaller content.
4. Share that new content with strong CTAs. This is one example of how this could look for you, however, the main take away is quality content with call to action, Follow Up Follow Up Follow Up, and repurpose content and repeat cycle. Note: When I say quality content, you might have automatically added “long” in your head. It does not have to be. It has to be content that your audience wants or content that you audience can use to shift something in their life today.
About me: I offer social media strategies that align with your business and your life. Let’s take the overwhelm out of your social media and have ease and growth instead.
- Website: w2smarketing.com
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tamayshannon/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/where2start
- Other: Clubhouse @tamay
- Instagram: https://instagram.com/w2smarketing
Nirjary Desai | Chief Experince Officer/ Event & Interior Designer
I started my business within my network, word of mouth referrals, and a grassroots effort of building up my clientele. I made sure to hand my business card out wherever I went. If I were to start over today knowing what I know, I would have compartmentalized my teams, and hired more sales teams versus focusing on team members being cross-trained. I also would have spent more time being present in the situation as opposed to always hoping for more right then and there. As you grow you learn that time creates opportunity and that nothing happens overnight. The same amount of hustle and work ethic you bring on day one of your business is what you need to bring at year 15 and beyond.
About me: I am the owner & founder of KIS Cubed a Boutique Agency curating & producing Event Experiences, Hospitality Marketing and Lifestyle Creative Design, all while Keeping It Simple, Sophisticated & Stylish.
- Website: www.kiscubedevents.com
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nirjarydesai/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/KISCubed
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqU2BKHWuPTS8dm8chQr_Sw
- Other: https://vimeo.com/kiscubedevents
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kiscubed
- Instagram: @kis_cubed_events / @nirjarymdesai
Crystal Jordan | Autism Advocate I Boutique Owner I Podcaster I Publishing Agency
The first step in my business was to begin working on it in 2020, and I launched my company in February of 2021. I would promote my coloring books and children’s books more heavily if I had it to do over.
About me: I am from Atlanta, Ga. I owned an autism-friendly brand. My brand offers a wide variety of Autism awareness products including sensory toys, clothes, books, puzzles, & much more!
- Website: www.zachariahworld.com
- Twitter: www.twitter.com/amor_allure
- Youtube: www.youtube.com/amorallure
- Other: www.amorallure.com
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/shopamorallure
- Instagram: @iamcrystaljordan
Miguel Carmona III | Creator of Clipnwhip
Initially, when we started to get clientele in the Atlanta Georgia area we simply posted every single day and tried to speak to as many schools or beauty institutions as possible about what we do. In the beginning, it did give us a lot of good word of mouth or foot traffic but it didn’t translate into sales just a lot inquiries into Clipnwhip. However, if I started over again today I would do a couple things differently. First, I would make sure to establish my bio and make it symmetrical across all social media channels so that way no matter what platform they search, it will be the same information so you have a clear concise message. Second, get my business listed on Google, Bing, yelp, and other online business directories especially free ones(which most are) as soon as possible. As many as possible as the more reach you have the better you will come up in search results. Third, collaborating with other influencers and other businesses with pop-up shows along with other networking events to increase your networking channel but also the amount of exposure you can get from other sectors will surprise. Lastly, don’t be afraid to be your own brand influencer, the greatest employee no matter how big your business gets has to be you and in the beginning you cannot be afraid to let your face represent your business, customers nowadays love to see you as the owner and the business that has fun too.
About me: I own a mobile app that list hairstylist, barbers, make up artist and others in the health and beauty industry, that can come to your house or you come to their location for whatever style you need.
- Website: https://linktr.ee/Clipnwhip
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/clipnwhip
- Yelp: https://m.yelp.com/biz/clipnwhip-atlanta-2
- Other: Android app link: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.app.clipnwhip
- Apple app link: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/clipnwhip/id1464966987
- TikTok: https://vm.tiktok.com/ZMeCGWyNt/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ClipnWhip/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/clipnwhip_/
Troy “Tre’ Vaughan” Vaughan III | Dating Commentator | Media Personality
Initially, when I started my business, I relied heavily on my convenience network to build up my clientele. They were the people closest to me, i.e. friends, family, associates, co-workers, If I were to start over today, I would do the same; however, I would integrate more social media strategies as well. I would become more conversant in ALL the major social media platforms and learn how to optimize my customer reach. People in my generation, Gen Xers, grossly undervalued the importance and necessity of social media at the beginning. Millennials and Gen Zers have shown us the power and utility of having a substantial presence on social media and how this translates into running a successful business.
About me: I, along with my trusted admins, operate an infamously well-known private Facebook group/community that I use to galvanize and stimulate communications between men and women, via debate, on issues germane to dating, relationships, marriage and sex. I also use the group to promote my local events, partner events, products/merchandise, and our YouTube channel.
- Website: ringsidedebates.com
- Youtube: Youtube.com/Katholik1911
- Facebook: RING|SIDE, LLC
- Instagram: lettroytellit
Lorrie Thomas Ross | The Marketing Therapist®
My business started itself, it was very organic. When I was working full time as a Web Marketing Director, one of my past students from UCSB Extention, who was starting a business, asked me to advise him on his web startup. Then after I spoke at a conference, a publisher of a fashion website asked me to be a consultant to her. I was excited to help and worked for these two clients nights and weekends. I realized that I loved consulting far more than doing the corporate thing, so with not even two thousand dollars in the bank, I resigned from my 6-figure “safe secure” job and went out on my own. I emailed all my professional contacts from my then-hotmail account letting them know what I was up to and asked them to send anyone who needed marketing support my way. It pays to be a pleasure to work with, past colleagues and bosses began to refer clients to me. Referrals got me going, speaking took my business to real heights. When you speak, you have the floor and an opportunity to serve, empower and educate. I attracted clients who got me, got what I did and were ready to improve and grow. No cold calling, no pitching. My marketing was simply referrals, speaking and teaching. The #1 thing I would do differently is to not waste so much time with non-ideal leads. If I only had a dollar for every stupid coffee meet and greet that I dressed up, drove and wasted time on,…ha! Shifting meet and greets to calls was a huge time saver.
About me: I run Web Marketing Therapy Inc., a full-service agency specializing in marketing support and optimization to put the pieces of your marketing puzzle together so it clicks! Social media marketing, search engine marketing, content marketing, strategy, website design, website management and more.
- Website: www.lorriethomas.com
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lorriethomasross/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/WebTherapist
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/webmarketingspeaker
- Other: Lorrie Thomas Ross is the CEO of Web Marketing Therapy Inc., a marketing agency that diagnoses, prescribes, and guides healthy, sustainable marketing solutions and Wild Web Women, coaching and marketing support to help digital women grow gorgeously. She loves helping leaders lead themselves…unapologetically.
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lorrie.thomas
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lorriethomasross/
Marian L. Thomas | Award-Winning Women’s Fiction Author
My first women’s fiction book was released in 2009. I didn’t know that much about marketing a book at the time, so I reached out to Ella Curry of EDC-Creations, for assistance. Ella really helped me understand the book industry and got my book in the hands of readers. I made quite a few mistakes initially, but I look at those mistakes as learning experiences today. If I had to repeat my author journey, I would invest time in blog writing, building up a good social presence, and establishing a solid author platform before launching my book.
About me: I’m an author. I write women’s fiction books that bring characters to life—characters who face real obstacles, cross difficult barriers to find love and discover all the wonderful possibilities that life can offer.
- Website: https://marianlthomas.com
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/marian-l-thomas/
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAYUdgNI_v8
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marianlthomasbooks
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/marianlthomas09/
Aaron Thomas | Family Law Attorney
When I first opened my doors, I hit the pavement. I went to networking groups, I told all my friends and family what I was doing, posted it on social media, etc. I sat down with other family law attorneys and asked their opinion, and many of them sent me cases as well. I did lots of one to one meetings with people in my community, including several past clients, and got the word out that way. If I had to do it all over again, I’d still do all of the things I did the first time – it worked, after all – but I’d add in writing and doing videos talking about what I do – those are things that you can share over and over across social media and in newsletters, and are great because you can create those resources for potential clients once and they can be of use years into the future. That’s our current strategy: we share as much helpful information as we can for free, and just try to be a resource to people who need the information. Giving away our expertise for free may sound counter-intuitive, but the benefits always seems to come back to us in multiples.
About me: I own Aaron Thomas Law, a family law firm (divorce, custody, child support), and am the founder of Prenups.com, the fair and friendly take on premarital agreements.
- Website: aaronthomaslaw.com & prenups.com
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/aaron-thomas-law
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCi293c0bKrOKlXNHH92ACFg/videos
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/aaron-thomas-law-atlanta
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Aaron-Thomas-Law-786150208408617
Leonard Fingerman | Adult and Youth Fitness coach @ Game Fitness
I found some new clients on fitness trainer portals and some through Groupon. I actually found new clients by offering free classes and volunteering at a local fitness studio. I started building new relationships with local schools and teaching fitness classes for kids. A word of mouth spread much faster than I anticipated. The quality of service is what sells much better than any ads
About me: I serve my clients with one sole purpose to make them healthier and happier in life. Join our online Tabata and Strength building program! Game Fitness
- Website: https://www.game-fitness.com/
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXuWGZs4yxHGsrjNPu-oHjg
- Other: https://www.facebook.com/GameFitness-LLC-2030074140358652
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009160103461
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gamefitnesscoach/
Lavette Minn | Business Coach & Brand Consultant
I started my business in 2017 and the name of it then was The Family Brand Movement. The name and the way it was operated gave off the essence of it being a non-profit, so because of that, I made no profits. I was attached to the business because it was a family business with my children. It wasn’t until after a meditation session and me getting serious about running a profitable business that I decide to transmute it into what is now known as Blue Diamond Brandz. Since the re-brand, my sales and clientele have drastically increased. I primarily attract my clients by doing what I do best and genuinely love: TEACH! I teach branding strategies, I share business tips and I share personal experiences that I’ve had in my life and business. This has helped to grow my brand awareness and increase my client base. If I had to start all over, I would not have been so emotionally attached to a business that really was emotionally and financially draining. Business is about serving people and yielding real results for the people you serve. When you keep this in the forefront, it’s easier to pivot and tweak where neccessary so that you yield the results in which you desire for your business and brand 💎
About me: I’m a Business Coach & Brand Consultant that assists women business owners with transmuting their brand into Diamond Brandz by increasing their sales and leads with Brand Development, Attraction Marketing Universal Laws & Brand Magick.
- Website: www.bluediamondbrandz.com
- Youtube: The Brand Alkhemist
- Facebook: Lavette Minn
- Instagram: @lavette_minn @bluediamond_brandz
Dj Dontey | Car Audio, Lighting, Decals & More
I initially started building my clientele from work, customers come in to buy parts and I would start telling them about all of the things that my business offers and they started booking with me, if I had to start all over again I would definitely invest in more promo for my business because it definitely helps out a lot. I also have been able to get a lot of new booking for me to Dj as well through promo.
About me: I own Dj Dontey Kustoms we offer car audio custom car lighting decals custom merchandise and much more. I also own Knight Time Productions where I produce and also offer Dj services as well
- Twitter: https://www.instagram.com/dj_dontey/?hl=en
- Youtube: https://youtube.com/channel/UCmOemZH9zEExDmIkGSE7UJw
- Facebook: https://www.instagram.com/dj_dontey/?hl=en
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dj_dontey/?hl=en