As a coder, you may find it easy to build functional software or find flaws in existing code, but you could find it difficult to find and secure new clients--the lifeblood of your business. Anytime someone attempts to singlehandedly turn their main skillset into a business, they face the realization that entrepreneurship and client management require an entirely different skillset. Your work may be exceptional, but if you can't get a steady stream of clients to request and pay for your services, your coding business will inevitably collapse. Fortunately, if you're struggling, there are a handful of strategies you can use to win more clients with relative ease.
Strategies for Procuring More Clients
Try using one or more of these strategies to win more clients for your business:
- Expand into consulting. If you're only offering coding services, you're limiting yourself--and likely shortchanging your own expertise. Instead, start expanding into consulting. Not every client will need your consulting services, but you'll appear more authoritative and have the opportunity to make hundreds to thousands of dollars more on every job you offer. Plus, you can use tools like Consultants500 to quickly build a reputation for yourself and gain visibility with prospective clients.
- Broaden your expertise with new hires or skills. You can also broaden your horizons by picking up new programming skills or hiring people who complement your existing skillset. Once you already know one coding language, it's remarkably easy to pick up a new one. Doing so instantly makes you available for an entirely new realm of job opportunities.
- Take advantage of networking opportunities. Networking has enormous potential for winning you new clients and new work--if you know what you're doing. Randomly following some new people on social media may help you build an audience, but if you want to secure long-term clients, you'll need to build more personal relationships. Attend some in-person networking events in your area, and make sure to schedule follow-up phone calls, coffees, or lunches with your best prospects. Keep nurturing those relationships--even if you don't get an immediate deal, you'll earn a connection who can help you find one.
- Attach your name to big projects. Instead of going out to find clients, attach your name to a significant project that your prospective clients are likely to see. For example, you could volunteer to work on a big up-and-coming app, or work on a personal project you feel has significant potential. The more people start to see your name, the more they'll want to hire you for their own jobs--plus, you can list them on your resume.
- Build a better website. Even basic website builders like Wordpress afford you enough stylistic and functionality choices to build a beautiful, intuitively usable website. But you're a coder--and you likely have the ability to take things to the next level. Invest time in your website, finding the perfect colors, wording, and layout to represent your brand. It's often the first place your prospective clients will look, so it needs to make a strong impression.
- Invest in content marketing. One of content marketing's biggest draws is the potential ROI of the strategy. It's relatively inexpensive to implement, and provides exponential growth in its long-term returns. Start a blog on your site, exploring topics related to your area of expertise, and invest in guest posting offsite to complement your work (and link to it). You'll start ranking higher in search engines, earning more social shares, and generating more visibility for yourself within a month or two.
- Drive referrals. According to the New York Times, as much as 65 percent of all new business comes from referrals. One of the best ways to get new clients for a coding business is to push for more referrals. You may offer a formal referral program, giving your existing clients a discount if they send more clients your way, or do something more informal, like asking your main points of contact if they know anyone else who may be interested in your services. In any case, those personal recommendations have the potential to be highly valuable for your business.
Finding the Best Approach
In addition to these seven recommended strategies, you probably have tactics of your own in mind. Juggling all those possibilities can be intimidating, so don't try to do them all at once. Instead, take the time to evaluate the pros and cons each angle has for your specific business, and focus on one at a time. If you start to see a change, continue investing in that strategy, and if not, move to the next one. Eventually, you'll find a tactic that works for your brand.