I have enough clients right now. In fact, with the flexibility some of my clients give me, I theoretically have more work than I can possibly do this week. However, today, I am responding to job postings, following up with previous contacts, and reaching out to new firms and businesses who might benefit from my services. Why? Because, project end, clients leave or get bought out, and as the nice version of the bumper sticker says, “Stuff Happens.”
When I do business consulting, the number one reason I see for business owners and other executive having the roller coaster ride that comes from variable income, is that they aggressively seek new business when times are lean, and then once the business starts to come in, they push prospecting and new client acquisition off.
The difficulty, as one client puts it, is that if I have enough business to fill my time, why would I waste my time on something that doesn’t earn any money?
And that, of course, is the problem. Client acquisition does earn you money. In fact, it is the only thing that does. But, the point is valid. Why put off earning $1000 today just to try and earn $1000 tomorrow?
My answer is, don’t.
Monday to Friday and when necessary some weekend hours, I work for current cash flow. On Saturday or Sunday morning, I sit down and seek out new business. In that way, I never lose sight of the importance of keeping the pipeline full, but I also never feel like I am “wasting” precious billing hours.
If you have trouble keeping up with prospecting and finding new clients, try setting aside a block of time that you consider to be “extra.” Then, every week, use that block of time to get new business.
Here is the key. Use the whole amount of time, and nothing more, every single week regardless of what volume of “usual” activity there is for you on that week. In other words, if you normally reply to freelance design position postings and there aren’t enough to fill up the block of time, then do something else related to client acquisition. This is how you will eventually get to things like mailings, research, and other marketing campaigns without feeling overwhelmed whenever you look at all the things you can do.
Does it work?
Yesterday, the media reported the biggest job losses in 20+ years; my income hasn’t changed and my pipeline is full. Yes, it works.