You and I both know that without clients, you don't have a business. So why do so many "gurus" insist on selling you strategies that when used by themselves don't get you, clients?
Either it's because they don't know how to get clients without selling you on strategies that only work for a hot minute, or because they are more interested in keeping you in the dark.
You've seen all the bullshit ads out there promising:
Get High Paying Clients TODAY With Instagram
Start A Free Facebook Group To Land Clients
The Only Strategy You Need To Consistently Book Clients
And if you've tried their strategies, maybe you booked one client, but from what I hear in the Society from our community of designers that these ideas don't continue to work.
Or maybe they've tried to sell you on creating a pretty website and let it do all of the work. Beautiful sites aren't magically magnetic once you make the website live.
The past year showed us that lazy marketing will not continue to work (there are still some shitty strategies that continue to work, but they will eventually die, too). There is no easy way to get clients. You have to work to get clients.
The goal of your business should be to create a solid foundation and then continue to build on it. There will be a shit ton of work at the beginning, but as you start to get into the rhythm of your business, you'll be able to develop a system for yourself where you won't have to hustle for clients constantly.
If you have a baby design business, you need to put the foundation in place.
Know who your client is.
If you don't know exactly who your client is, you won't be able to create a solution (your design service) to sell them to solve their problem. Spend time researching who your client is. Find out how they talk about their decorating and design issues and make notes. Spend the time on the front end profoundly understanding who your client is so you can get them to hire you.
Give your prospect a reason to give a shit.
You could be the next $97 designer or you could be the next quick turn-around designer and sure you'll get some clients. But do you want to be known as the cheap designer or the designer that busts out rubber stamped designs in 48 hours? No, you're not the Wal-Mart of design.
Instead, show some fucking personality. Do a quick search online right now (in another tab because I need you to stick with me) for your "competition" and open up the top 10 results in new tabs.
Look at their homepage that you just landed on for each of those companies. How many of them are boring AF? Probably most of them. How many of them look similar? Most of them. Seriously, you need to get people to stop in their tracks and give a shit. You can do that with your personality.
There is so much out there for interior design, that while your dream client is bouncing from one site to another, they are very selective as to what they pay attention to. You need to capture their attention.
Just like you would someone that you've got the hots for, you need to woo your clients. Share stories with them. Their stories. Let them see themselves in your stories.
When I started blogging my first posts were as exciting as watching paint dry. My writing style up to that point was influenced by my need to pass classes. My virtual pad was just a boring as scrolling through Tori Spelling's social media posts where she shills practically anything for a buck.
I was getting desperate to land my first client, and I had followed all of the advice I got. Nothing was working so I said "fuck it" and just started to write about the shit I found funny with decor and design.
I wrote about my love for Doug Wilson on the "Trading Spaces" TV show (the OG version) which then turned in side-eye at how he let his hair turn into a hot mess that ruined my crush on him.
I wrote about horrible real estate photos and would compare them to gas station bathrooms.
I wrote about how to tell if your decor sucks and how you shouldn't have a wolf howling at the moon shower curtain or a curio cabinet of crap.
I had fun writing posts like that and people had fun reading them. They got to see my personality and learn something. Win-Win!
Grow Your List
As you put all these pieces of the puzzle together, the big goal you must have at all times is to grow your email list.
If you haven't even started a list, do not pass go. Do not collect $200. Start your email list today.
If you have a list and it isn't growing, you need to figure out why it isn't.
Maybe you don't have something awesome to offer them in return for them giving you their email address. "Join Our Newsletter" doesn't make people excited.
Create a freebie that is known to work like cheat sheets, checklists, how to guides. Create content upgrades on your blog content as additional ways to grow your email list.
As you grow your email list, you daily marketing tasks can become more automated. Isn't that excellent news?
1 email subscriber = $1 dollar per month
That right there is the consensus of why your email list is so valuable. Depending on your business that figure may be higher, but as you grow your list, you also expand your opportunities to make money.
The most important reason you need to build your email list?
It's the only fucking thing you have control over.
Yes, you need to use social media to grow your business, but when you've wasted a fuck ton of time posting on your perfectly curated Instagram feed only then to have them change everything? You'll be screwed.
Email is not dying even if a handful of gurus and bloggers say it is. When you grow your email list and nurture your subscribers, you'll have yourself loyal customers who love what you do. But that list growth isn't going to happen without putting your foundation in place.
Join me in the Society and I'll walk you through the exact steps you need to take to start your design business (or scale your existing business) the smart way. And you won't even have to take your clothes off.
Alycia Wicker is an interior design business coach specializing in online marketing strategies.Her clients land more of their own dream clients and make more cash, period. Celebrity gossip whore. Elvis-obsessed.