Where and how to find customers for a starting business?


I have recently (two months ago) started up a new business in the webdesign industry/Freelance industry. Everything is going well, I am creating a lot of modules which I can re-use for every client (And keeps costs down for those clients), but that is where my problem is.

I have one client for the moment and his project will take until the 21th of october. After that, I haven't got the slightest of idea on how I will find clients. The fact that I got this first client, was merely by coincidence from in the time I was still at school.

So, my question is, to all you programmers and possibly even managers, where can I find clients? How should I look for them?

I am attending an opening event of a application I helped put together during my internship, so I figured I might find a client or two there, but that is still a few months away. Also, I have already set up my own website (http://eyewebz.com) and facebook/twitter/LinkedIn, but the fact is that there aren't that many visitors, which is understandable, considering not too many people know of me just yet. So are there any websites I can go to/place my company on to promote myself maybe? (other than facebook, twitter and LinkedIn)

To conclude: Can anybody give any hints or tips on how to find new clients or on how to get build a decent reputation, so clients will find me? Any help is greatly appreciated.

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asked Sep 20 '11 at 17:15
Michiel Standaert
108 points
Top digital marketing agency for SEO, content marketing, and PR: Demand Roll
  • Hum, a web site that starts with a flash and never finish downloading it, and error "Error #2032" is not the way to welcome customers. You may find a better bounce ratio if you get away all flash. – Ross 12 years ago
  • I've heard other people who have had this problem too, but I honestly have no idea how the error is created. I have tested it out on all main browsers (ie8/ie9, firefox4/firefox5, chrome, safari and opera), but I myself haven't had any problems :s Anyways, I will be changing it to a wordpress-based site, because that is my main occupation of my company. – Michiel Standaert 12 years ago
  • I think I've located the problem (thanks to you telling me it was a Error#2032). Could you please check if the problem has been solved now? Thanks for pointing me in the right direction anyway! :) – Michiel Standaert 12 years ago
  • The problem is probably with partial loading. The second time I loaded the page it was ok. Now it is probably cached. – Ross 12 years ago
  • It seemed that it was a problem on the serverside. When checking my server, it had automatically removed the sound-file, so that is why you couldn't download it. (And i'm sure it was there initially, since others were able to see the website). Strange, but the problem has been resolved now. Thanks again! – Michiel Standaert 12 years ago

3 Answers


Network - ask your family, friends, acquaintances from school if they know anyone who needs webdesign done.

Offer to help out the nonprofits/charities in your area with their webdesign for free. This will let you build a portfolio, and give you new contacts who can recommend you, and hopefully help you find paying clients.

Call up small businesses in the area who don't have a web presence yet, or have a bad/non-functional site (of course you'd have to be somewhat diplomatic about suggesting that their website could use some work) and try and convince them that a well-designed website could bring them extra business.

Some things you might bring up:

Every business can benefit from a good web presence. People will google for service vendors in their area - if they don't have a website, or a badly-ranked all those people will land at their competitors instead.

Find out what their main problems are and address those. Not enough customers? Good SEO can help them there. (If you can do SEO.)

Are they in kind of a hidden location and people get lost a lot? You can emphasize the "how to find us" part on the website.

In trust-based professions, like lawyers or psychologists, a well-designed web presence can be part of building trust with your clients, and can influence which service provider they choose to go to.

answered Sep 20 '11 at 20:15
282 points
  • I have been thinking about calling the local companies, but how should I approach them in a way that they feel they need a website? What arguments should convince most of them? – Michiel Standaert 12 years ago
  • I've edited my answer a bit, but if you've never cold-called anyone before, it will probably take you some time to land on the right pitch. Don't get discouraged if the first few clients don't bite, just keep trying different strategies and arguments, and see what works. Maybe a discount will help get the first few clients on board. – Cass 12 years ago
  • Those are some good arguments. Now to try and get some local customers by calling them! :) Fingers crossed! And thanks for your answer! – Michiel Standaert 12 years ago


Two simple ones spring to mind, based on the limited info in your question:

  • Look for other companies in the same marketplace as your client
  • Ask your client to introduce/refer you to others

Building reputation comes from delivering good work, so if you can do that for your first client, that will help. Don't rely on clients finding you though - you need to:

  • identify them
  • identify their needs
  • describe to them why what you do will help them
  • and deliver well every time
answered Sep 20 '11 at 17:53
Rory Alsop
166 points


I think as a startup, you need serious hard work to promote your business/services using multiple channels. But before putting any efforts on external mediums, your own website should be SEO ready. This is a natural source that lasts for-ever to get you traffic and genuine customers from search engines.

To make your website more interactive and human-friendly, consider to add videos on your landing pages to convincingly showcase your services.

Once the on-page optimization is done, consider working on blog writing, blogs commenting, press releases submission, viral & affiliate marketing campaigns. All these are free ways to promote your business.

Once you start generating revenues, you can further use paid services like AdWords, Paid reviews, PRs, advertisements and placing banners to further push your business.

answered Sep 20 '11 at 21:08
Usman Sarfraz
1,326 points
  • What channels would you all suggest then? My website is SEO-friendly (rated number two on google, just after my personal blog, where there have been more posts of my company) And what if my showcase limits itself to only three or four websites at this moment? – Michiel Standaert 12 years ago

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