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I have been a consultant for the past 15 years but have worked mainly for LARGE corporate clients who know they need expertise and are prepared to pay for it.
I made the move from mainframe to internet 3 years ago and did work as a developer/webmaster/I.T. Manager for internet companies. Recently however I have been looking to find my own clients and build my own business. The trouble is I dont have the contacts or the background to market "myself".
Can anyone give me any insight as to how to build up a client base - without spam emails etc.
Word of mouth and cold calling are still the best way to get new clients.
You should build up a site for your company with reference to previous assignments you took and put as many good site as you can in your portfolio. Then go to your local library and take a look at some marketing and sales book to learn the strings of cold calling.
Now you can take your prefered directory, like the yellow pages, and start calling.
Hope this help.
Consulting is better than "optimizing"... first because you can only be effective to a few clients at a time, adding that each new client depreciates the time/value dedicated to all other clients.
Consulting on the other hand, someone else does all the work and you simply reiterate the knowledge/skill to do it.
In this case... a local focus is best > put on an added-value conference to demonstrate your expertise.
You can either charge for the conference or free and then charge to provide dedicated time to interested parties.
After a few local sessions expand your reach and use the local "hubs" to do contract work for you (with clients that do not have the technical ability or time to learn).
Your credibility and reach grows ten times as fast (and alot less work).
Most of my clients are web design, communication or advertising companies. They have already build a business relationship with some clients and contacts. I prefer to work with them and on their behalf than to work directly with clients. This way, we spend less time prospecting and more time playing with other professionals who, at least, know the lingo.
Here is how I started to find them :
"welcome to adobe golive"+ city name
"untitled"+ city name
"untitled document"+ city name
They needed help!
Looking for the credits for such sites and built a small database.
It worked a lot faster than the yellow pages...
I sometimes think that going back and doing consultancy for the big corporations would be the solution. The only problem with that is "he who pays the piper, calls the tune". I was hoping to break free from all of that.
Some of the ideas posted here have given me more options for finding new customers.
Thank you all for your good advice.