Confession: One week ago (per time of writing this post in mid-May), I had no idea where my next clients are going to come from.
Seriously. No freaking clue.
Which is probably not what you were expecting me to admit here, but I’m secretly hoping that admitting it both doesn’t make you think less of me and gives you some realness into the insight of being in business for yourself… and being “successful.”
I know there’s a lot of stuff that I “could” and “should” do to make sure I’ve got this constant influx of new traffic to my site, and up until about a month ago, I thought I was pretty set to keep coasting on easy.
But then… new client leads stopped coming in.
I checked my on-site contact form, and it was working. And I checked the redirects from my old URL, and they were working too.
So I didn’t know what was up.
Because I’d spent YEARS blogging for other people, putting my name, my links, and my expertise out there.
And up until then, it was enough to consistently have sufficient client leads coming in. I made a comfortable income from my agency work, and the leads helped me feel secure in my future.
But when I got about a month and a half away from my current projects drying up and realized that I didn’t have anyone on deck?
I started to freak out a little.
Sure, I could resolve to be in touch with people in my network more often, but I’m already in touch with them enough and I *know* if they need copywriting they’ll be in touch with me.
But if they don’t need copywriting, I can’t force them to need it, right?
And yes, I could check out my competitors’ client acquisition funnels and mimic them to create one of my own, but that felt icky and not like the way I want to do business.
So I didn’t do it.
And I wish I had a 5-step blog post where you could follow my advice and have this problem solved forever.
But I don’t.
(And can we just call all those posts out as total bullshit once and for all?!?)
But I do have a lesson I learned, which I think is valuable when you stumble across this kind of situation when you’re in business for yourself.
And the lesson is this:
Just toot your own horn, dang it.
Because in the middle of this “oh crap no one new is getting in touch with me” scare, I figured it would be a good idea to get more people on my email list so they could see what I was about.
And word of mouth is never a bad thing, right?
Plus, for the most part, it was something I could control and then feel better about myself in the interim.
So when I went to networking events, I told people about my awesome copywriting freebie and how much it could help them… and you know what?
THEY ACTUALLY SIGNED UP FOR IT.
Like, whoa, right?
Because here’s the thing: if you provide something valuable that people need, people want it.
And you know what started to happen after a few of those meetings?
I started getting client leads.
Yet again, another mind-blowing moment. (I hope you guys picked up on my sarcasm there.)
But that’s really the point of it all, isn’t it? When you aren’t afraid to toot your own horn, people aren’t afraid to take you up on your offers.
And if you don’t toot your own horn (gasp!) people won’t know about you or what you have to offer.
It all seems so glaringly obvious when I type it out in words, but we have our lovely cultural conditioning to thank for our setbacks here. You know, those beliefs that tell us it isn’t okay to outshine others because heaven forbid we trigger someone else’s insecurities and make them feel bad about themselves.
Well guess what babe… ain’t a damn thing you can do about other people’s insecurities. Nothing. They’ll have them or they won’t, and nothing you do (or don’t do) will change it.
I doesn’t matter how much money I make, my old college roomie is still gonna bitch about poor she is and how “stupid” the system is for not paying her more every time I see her. I can make a lot or a little, and she’s not going to change. So it’s just damn foolish for me to try to shrink myself for her sake.
But instead… what if me not shrinking could inspire her?
Yeah, that may not happen.
But hell, at least I’ve got client leads now.
So go get it, babes.
Toot your own horn. You have my permission.
What a gutsy post for you to write, Chelsea — and perfect timing for me to read! I am JUST coming to terms with the reality that I need to toot my own horn, which is super difficult for me after a lifetime of being terrified of doing so. Thanks for the (gentle) kick in the pants… and bestowing PERMISSION!! 🙂
Yeah Gwen! Go get ’em!