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Readers Respond: How to Find Clients, Advertise on a Budget, Get a Business Started

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From cold calling to advertising, how do you get a new design business started? Share your tips on ways for all types of new desktop publishing or graphic design businesses to find clients, get publicity, or expand into a new area. What Worked For You?

8 ways to find clients for your desktop

First, always have samples of your work. Purchase pocket envelopes (Dollar General for the best value). Place samples of your work and place in your car. When you go out to restaurants, banks, gym, grocery store, plane, and vacation. Armed with your samples this will fortify your confidence. Not that you need fortification, but everything helps. Make sure you include business cards. Business cards should be brief but have an impact. Name, phone, and of course hours of operation. Invest in a WEB site. Many sites are available for do it yourself. If you decide to call, here is a great tip: Always introduce yourself first then ask, "Is this a convenient time to make an appointment for blah blah blah." The best to all. G. M. Reighs
—Guest URProfessional

sunfoot

I did a lot of cold calling when I opened my business, as well as networking. Then came word of mouth, after I did several jobs. My cold calling would be to go in the door of the business and ask for an appt. If I couldn't get I would ask for the marketing manager and get his or her card then call a few hours later or next day and ask for appt. You need to provide a benefit within 30 sec. of your call if you want an appt.
—Guest Sunfoot

Really it's word of mouth

My best clients have been referred to me by existing best clients - never fails, and I am so blessed!!
—Guest Storyboard.Pro

Business cards and lots of them

Hand out your business card to EVERYONE. Your lawn guy. Your hair stylist. Your doctor. And not just once. Give them one everytime you see them. Ask them to pass it along to a friend or co-worker. Join a local networking group. Never leave home without a stack of cards. It's the simplest and least expensive way to get your name out there. Its not the only way but its something you need to do.
—Guest BizLady

Be on the Web

Even if all your work is local you need a web presence. People expect designers to be on the web. I dropped my yellow pages ad a long time ago. people may look there for plumbers but not for designers. Have a nice portfolio in print and on the web. Keep them updated. Put your url and email on everything along with your phone number.
—Guest SBD

Gifts in Person

I'm more comfortable in person than on the phone. I don't know why. I cold call in person to small businesses in my area. I made a gift basket with my business card and brochure and some small gifts like a couple of wall calendars one year and a bunch of pens another time. With my name and contact info on the items. Following up with a phone call was a lot easier then
—Guest Belinda

Cold Calling

The phone is still the best way to initiate personal contact. The most effective way in the door is usually an appointment made by phone. Then you can talk up your business or show your portfolio. But first you just have to get on the phone.
—Guest AG

What Worked For You?

How to Find Clients, Advertise on a Budget, Get a Business Started

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