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3 easy steps on how to get your first clients as an online service provider

Instagram handle secured. 

Website locked and loaded. 

Packages refined. 

So, you’re ready to launch, find your first client and leads for your digital business, make this online service venture your most successful yet. 

Goodbye 9 to 5, hello palm trees, hello freedom. 

But the fear of launching to an empty audience? Is very real. And I’ve been there before, too. We all have. 

“How can I get my first clients when I’m still trying to build my audience?”

I’m going to tell you why you have absolutely nothing to fear. Because in this blog, I’m dropping my 3 fail-proof steps to secure your first round of clients quickly and easily. By the end, you’ll not only know why you need a beta set of clients, but an actionable blueprint to find them and blow their minds. 

But firstly, what are beta clients? And why are they important for online service providers?

Well if we want to get technical, a beta customer is defined as, “a person or company (usually a potential purchaser) involved in beta-testing a product.” Basically? They’re your first round of eager clients usually at a discounted rate, and in this case, that discount is in exchange for words of affirmation and testimonials you can share on your social media channels. You’ll quickly see sharing this type of content gains a ton of external validation from your small, but quickly growing social following.

Why do I need beta clients as an online service provider?

Before you outsource your marketing or get distracted by countless processes, getting a solid lead generation strategy and your first trial customers is THE MOST IMPORTANT thing you need to get off the ground in your online small business. 

Here are seven huge reasons you need beta clients to build a successful online business. They help you: 

  1. Gain and grow confidence
  2. Learn what does and doesn’t work
  3. Receive and implement feedback privately (and with low consequence)
  4. Implement processes around your services
  5. Save money by tweaking before major $$$ are dropped
  6. Receive testimonials to build trust quickly and effectively
  7. Find new, full-price-paying clients via word of mouth referrals

Sounds amazing, right?! But remember that it’s not about gaining hundreds of beta clients in the early days. Focus on working with a couple of strong, qualified, trustworthy trial clients and serving them as you would a future, full-paying client. 

Easy strategy tips to get your first client as an online service provider

Securing your first client takes hard work for sure, but it also takes a strategic lead generation formula. Relying on Instagram or family/friend referrals for leads won’t always cut it. But here are three things that will:

Step 1 | Pricing

You’ve got your packages sorted, and if you read my last post on how to enter the online space as a service provider you’ll know pricing is eeeeverything. When you’re generating and nurturing leads for beta clients, you want to price your packages so your leads want what you have, but also know you’re on sale for them — which is a big selling point. 

For example, if you’re going to start offering monthly Pinterest Management for $600 per month and are looking for 8 clients, try sharing on your Instagram story and feed that you’re offering it for only $499 for the first 3 people who sign up. Then, work your ass off getting those clients the best results that you possibly can and use their growing statistics and metrics to generate the rest of your client roster. Oh, and then, demonstrate this value with Tip #2. 

Step 2 | Showcasing 

How can your leads invest in you, even at a discounted rate, if they don’t even know what you do? Jumping on your Instagram story to show what you’re doing, their future experience, and the process you use connects them to your service and reels them in with value. Trust me, this is what I do, and I’m telling you, it works!

If you’re an online Pinterest Manager, Instagram Lead Generator or badass Virtual Assistant, show what platforms you use, what you recommend, how you support your clients, and your daily (fun and awkward) routine, so they can follow along with what you’re doing and become invested. Then hit them with Tip #3. 

Step 3 | Scaring clients (okay, kind of)

We know there’s psychology in sales. Cialdini’s Seven Principles of Persuasion prove this, with a key tactic being scarcity. You know those VA’s who always have just ‘2 spots left’? Or Pinterest Managers who have an offer for ‘today only’? Yeah. Chances are, they’re using scarcity! And does it work? Heck yes. 

So why aren’t you implementing it too? It’s all based on our inherent psychology that motivates us to action by the fear of missing out. Classic FOMO, right?! When we know there’s limited stock available, we want it even more, and we act faster. It all comes down to supply and demand at the end of the day.

However, you want to make sure that you’re following through on that scarcity by offering your leads a clear path to sale with an even clearer call to action. Perhaps it’s to DM you, visit your website or subscribe to your email list. Whatever it is, use scarcity + a strong follow-through to really secure that first round of clients as a new online service provider. 

BONUS: Step 4 | Connecting

If you followed the three steps above, chances are you’ve got hot leads in your inbox already! But what do you do once you secure your first clients? Here are some tips:

1. Focus on delivering the value you’ll deliver every time

Consider every aspect of the service, from onboarding through to offboarding. What is sustainable for you, and value-packed for them? You can prequalify your dream clients with this pre-made, plug-and-play application template I created, too!

2. Maintain strong communication throughout the whole process

This is imperative for beta clients to understand what’s happening next, what they need to do and what you’re doing. A bomb CRM can help with this. My recommendation is Honeybook for all your invoices, contracts and project management needs.

3. Ask for feedback – yes, positive and not-so-positive, too

Your first client not only presents an opportunity to secure a raving testimonial and unmatched social proof but constructive ideas on how to improve before you get the high-paying, real deal! 

4. Go above and beyond in any way you can.

Even use your Instagram Story to promote their brand by talking about the exciting projects you’re helping them with, also showing your prospective clients that watch your story the services and solutions that you could also be offering them.

5. Keep in touch

If all goes well, you’ll have a positive testimonial and undeniably happy beta client under your belt! Leverage this opportunity by staying in touch (often but not too clingy), with the view that you could potentially work together again or be referred to more qualified, full-paying leads. 

Getting your first round of clients as an online service provider is crucial to your long term success. Before you get caught up in shiny objects like Facebook ads, or expensive group coaching programs, I want you to pause, and focus on securing quality trial customers to get the social proof and feedback you need to supercharge, refine and innovate your killer service suite. 

It’s all in that little three-step formula: Pricing + Showcasing + Scarcity. It’s so simple I know you can do it. Heck! I know you can start today! 

So what are you waiting for? For help implementing this, book a 90-minute Pinterest Intensive to kickstart your business or kick it back into gear, no matter where you’re starting from or where you want to be. You’ll get all of my attention, guidance, and strategy, without having a long term commitment, or a thousand dollar bill to pay at the end.Book your 90-minute Pinterest Intensive here. Go Go Go!

How to get your first clients in your online business

I’m Willow Kaii

Oh hey,

Let’s be real, running your own business is a 24/7 job, but when you love what you do it’s kinda amazing, right?

My life wasn’t always this way, though. After working at a boutique marketing agency, I went all-in on an online business with my fiance, Becca. I used the very Pinterest strategy I’ll teach you to scale our business, Bold x Boho, to 6-figures in just six months. My entire philosophy as a Business Coach is founded on this strategy, and I’m so passionate about sharing it with driven online entrepreneurs just like yourself. I’ll help you skill-up and scale-out with proven strategies. Oh, and you'll get me as your business hype-man.

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Hey there!

I'm Willow Kaii!

My life wasn’t always this way, though. After working at a boutique marketing agency, I went all-in on an online business with my fiance, Becca. I used the very Pinterest strategy I’ll teach you to scale our business, Bold x Boho, to 6-figures in just six months. 

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