The surprising thing you told me about getting clients

Handshake -- getting clients

Thanks to those of you who took a minute to complete the recent survey. Your answers showed some interesting themes and uncovered something surprising about getting clients.

Also, congrats to Kim R. who won the $100 Amazon gift card that I gave away during the survey!

Quick summary of your survey results

Interestingly, the things that Kim R. said echoed what many of you said:

  • She wants to go from a single client to more clients, and boost her income along the way. Most of you said something similar, along with the goal of growing your consulting business into a full-time income so you can quit your current job.
  • Despite reaching out to prospects, Kim’s gotten resistance, where prospects don’t see value in what she can provide or just aren’t interested. Lots of you mentioned the same thing, especially having a hard time getting prospects to see the value in your services.
  • Underneath that obstacle of disinterested prospects, lots of you said that you don’t feel like a natural salesperson, which makes it more difficult to get clients.

Overall, getting clients was the #1 thing you said you want help with.

Why we care about getting clients

You need clients because clients mean money, and having a repeatable process for getting clients means being able to replace your salary (so you can quit your day job, have more freedom, choose your own hours, etc.).

Once you can find & convert prospects to clients, you can generate cash.

Having a reliable, consistent system to get clients generates consistent cash flow.

And consistent, predictable cash flow means you can safely quit your day job, virtually risk-free and stress-free.

What happened when I quit my day job to consult full-time

I’m risk-averse, and it was actually my wife (she’s also risk-averse) who pushed me to quit my day job after I was consistently earning more from my part-time consulting than I was at my day job.

Back then, the thought of quitting my day job, even though I’d consistently been bringing in 71% – 95% more than my day-job salary for 4-6 months (consulting only part-time), was still scary.

The funny thing was, after I left my day job to consult full-time, in the first 6 months after quitting my day job, my income jumped 270% compared to my former day-job salary.

If you were making 2.7 times your current salary, would you think about going back to a “real” job? Hell no!

As of today, I’ve been fully self-employed for over 7 years, even growing my business by double-digits throughout the worse recession in the past 70 years.

You can see how my revenue jumped when I quit my day job, even as the economy tanked:

Consulting Revenue vs. S&P500 for 2008

The surprising thing you told me

Hearing that you all want to get clients wasn’t surprising.

But beneath that, you said something interesting: While the majority of you mentioned marketing as your biggest challenge, when I probed deeper, most of you said you’re actually struggling with confidence-related issues:

The fear of not succeeding on my own makes me afraid to take risks and makes me doubt myself and what I am capable of accomplishing. –Michael O.

I tend to lean towards over-thinking and detail orientation when creating processes for the first time, rather than just doing the work. –Matt A.

I keep on thinking I need to give it more thought – or doubts creep in that it’s not going to work. I talk myself out of it. –Howard D.

Fear. I guess I’m a bit shy about getting feedback from people with whom I have no prior relationship. –Jodi

Likewise, many of you mentioned feeling like you’re not cut out for selling:

I know I need to talk to more people and try again but I am not a strong salesperson. –Kim R.

I know what I need to do to improve my sales pitch…but I’m not skilled at self promotion – in fact I tend to talk down my abilities. –Thom G.

Somehow I think I am not cut out for the marketing side of things even though I have a sense of what it will take. –Sahr M.

Why is this?

If you know you need to do marketing-related tasks to bring in clients, why aren’t you doing it?

For example, you told me you need to reach out to prospects, but aren’t doing it.


My guess is that a few things might be going on:

  • You don’t know where to start or what you need to focus on (form your business entity? create a brochure? start cold emailing?)
  • You don’t know what specific tasks to do, and what those tasks actually look like.
  • You don’t have anything or anyone to hold you accountable.
  • You’re not confident that you’ll succeed.
  • You’re afraid you’ll fail, even if you give it your best shot.
  • You think you need to be a “natural” salesperson.

Does any of this strike a chord?

If any of this resonated with you, let me know.

Comment below or email me to tell me:

  • Have you felt the same way?
  • Have you had the same thoughts, fears, or concerns?
  • Have you struggled with procrastinating?
  • Are you unsure what to do or where to start?

Yes? Of course? Hell yes?

If you want to go further, tell me exactly what you’re stuck on right now. Is it:

  • finding prospects?
  • connecting with prospects?
  • getting prospects to want what you offer?
  • something else?

Take 10 seconds right now to comment below or email me. I read and respond to every comment and email.

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Melissa A Cleveland - July 8, 2014 Reply

This does resonate with me too. I am a marketing/ PR professional with more than 10 years of experience. I have always wanted my own marketing business but only dabble in it while inbetween jobs. The fact that I was let go from my last position definitely has affected my confidence, though it had nothing to do with my job performance.

I have designed my logo, business card, website, a flyer and even a post card but have not gone beyond that. I haven’t even handed out my first card!! I spend my days searching for that next corporate position instead of jumping in and pursuing clients. I keep saying tomorrow I will get out and seek out my first clients……I want everything in the ‘process’ to be perfect first.

    Greg Miliates - July 8, 2014 Reply

    Hey, Melissa, when you described wanting everything to be right before taking action, that’s the same thing I’ve been hearing from other readers–and, incidentally, was the same problem I struggled with when I first started.

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