When I technically launched Girlboss Designer earlier this year I was still doing part-time work for 1 regular client. This work took up half my week, so my new business still felt like a side-gig. It wasn’t until I let go of that work a few months later that I REALLY took the leap to do my business FULL-TIME.
After that moment everything changed…
No more regular steady income I could rely on – I had to completely change the way I thought about and managed money. I was ALL IN now and it was terrifying. If you’ve taken a similar leap in the past I know you’ve gone through all these same feelings. If this move is something you’re contemplating then girrrrl, you are IN IT – right on the edge of that cliff wondering if you can make it – wondering if you’ll survive.
I was stressed – but I pushed through the feelings of panic and focused hard on the goal. I didn’t allow myself to drown in the worries of money and instead focused on how to drive business.
Since then, I’ve had a non-stop flow of the best clients ever.
What started as friend referrals has turned into strangers contacting me, instead of me trying to find them. In my first 90 days of doing this business full-time I booked over $14,000 of work and those feelings of panic drifted away. I showed myself I CAN DO THIS. Looking back I’ve realized what has contributed to this success and I am here to share those pointers with you!
#1- I didn’t obsess over the money or focus on fear.
This is SO hard not to do. Because the flow of income was completely changing structure, it scared me – but I didn’t let it stop me. Instead of focusing on the money I asked myself, how can I connect with people? How can I get in front of people? How can I serve other people? The more I focused on these questions the more connections I made, more projects were booked, and the money was coming in consistently. When we obsess and stress over money it takes over our thoughts and creates panic – we aren’t able to think as clearly or as creatively. When we let that part of our mind rest and focus on attracting, the desperation fades (because no one is attracted to desperation anyways!).
#2- I put myself out there.
How can people refer you if they have no idea what you’re doing?! I shared and continue to share my business and recent projects on my business social channels (of course), as well as my personal ones. You have to remember, even if all these people aren’t liking or commenting on your posts – they see it – they know. I’ve gotten referrals from old friends and acquaintances I haven’t talked to in YEARS. My number one project driver at the very beginning was all referrals from friends and past clients, this is usually the case when you’re first getting started.
#3- I mingled with my target audience.
Where is your ideal client hanging out? Facebook Groups became extremely influential to my business. I joined the Facebook groups where I knew my perfect beautiful ideal clients were spending time, and I got involved. I DID NOT TRY TO SELL! This is a big one. No one likes someone popping in and trying to desperately lock down anybody and everybody she can get her hands on. I introduced myself, shared my personal journey and story, shared inspiration. Here and there I’ve left my website link on a post where someone was asking for my exact services, but usually I was just participating in the conversation, offering encouragement. People get to know more about you and they like YOU. I then had women coming to me saying “I KNOW I need to work with you”, instead of the other way around.
#4- I create a connection with my clients.
If you want people to become raving fans of yours and want to share you with all their friends, you better be a damn peach to work with and make their happiness your propriety. There was one time I had just started the process with a new client and she was already commenting on FB referring me. We hadn’t even remotely gotten halfway through her project and she was already bringing me business – all because I created a connection. I’ve learned how important initial consultation calls are for creating this connection. Get off the keyboard and get on the phone – learn about their interests, hear about their story, chit chat like you’re talking to a friend. Actually speaking to someone is way more personal than an email. Show them you genuinely CARE about them. One reason why I love my target audience is because we literally are all just a bunch of girlfriends – woman to woman, building our businesses and talking about our passions. Now during these initial calls they are so excited to get going and we haven’t even mentioned price yet. Create value and connection and you won’t be price shopped.
Plus never underestimate the value in FOLLOWING UP! Don’t assume just because they haven’t responded to your proposal that the answer is no. People have busy lives – always follow up and check in.
#5- I have a consistent brand story.
I’ve gotten 2 of the best compliments recently. Someone told me “I love all your posts. I don’t even have to look at who’s posted it and I already know it’s you”. Music to the ears of a brand designer! This is because I am consistent with the look and feel of my posts and with the type of content I share.
The second compliment came from a recent new client. Right after our first consultation call she emailed me saying “the fact that you sound like your webpage looks says something about your expertise in branding”. OMG this seriously gives me butterflies every time I read it. When YOU are your business, all of your branding must embody YOU. Stop worrying about what everyone else is putting out there and do what feels authentic to you.
One of the biggest lesson I learned with writing content for my business is I write how I talk. Yea I may sometimes overuse words like “totally” and to some people I come off as a little too casual or too valley girl, but it’s who I am. You don’t want your brand to look/sound completely different from what it’s like to actually work with you. I take this same approach when designing for each one of my clients, which is why that initial connection process is so important.
One of BEST things about running your own business is YOU are in charge.
One of the scariest things about running your own business is… YOU are in charge!
It’s up to you to bring in the clients/customers, and as unnerving as that is – is gets easier the more you practice skills and routines that’ll start making the business come to you instead of the opposite. I hope these tips will get you one step closure to a thriving business!