How did you get your business out there?


Active Member
I'm at that stage where you have to spend money to make money. I've been discussing advertisement, SEO or leafleting with the other lads and we're not really sure which direction to go in.

We will probably go for getting business cards and leaflets printed, then move onto SEO of our site.

However, I really wanted to know how YOU promoted your business/yourself as a freelancer.

It's a very important situation that will make or break any business, and just wanted to get an idea which ways some of you found business, and which ways you found most useful.
For us it was recommendations via word of mouth and LOTS of networking on MANY business forums.

Now we don't really rely on the forums as much as we receive quite a lot of traffic from search engines and our existing customer base.

We have recently targetted local businesses to us as this is an area we have never explored before (being an online business), it seems they have been getting ripped off left right and centre so they have welcomed our competitve pricing.

It depends where you are looking to get most of your business from, if you are looking online then get your SEO done straight away as you won't stand a chance if nobody can find you, if you are looking to target local businesses then flyers and business cards as you have mentioned are a good start, get them dropped through doors in the new year.

This offer we have running for members may be of interest to you and a cost effective way of trialling a door to door campaign (or similar)
Likewise, most of my business is from referral and word of mouth and has been from the start. I was lucky in that a business I worked for went bust and I was able to start with a few 'ready made' clients.

The other thing I did was join the BNI for a year. This was great for getting really good business contacts and also improving my own skills in promoting my services and dealing with other companies. Quite expensive at about £900 a year (I made £5k from BNI in that year), but they only let one person from any particular trade join so you can lock out competitors. I was lucky because every business in the room required my service at some point.

BNI isn't for everyone. WOrth popping along to your local chapter though to check it out, you get to go for free twice before having to make a decision on whether to join or not.

I am now into my 3rd year ( as of 3 days ago :icon_thumbup:) and its only now that I'm looking to maybe start doing some printed promotion to try and boost the business to the next level.
Cheers lads, I'll look into both of those.

Boss, I find it interesting that you got quite a bit of business from forum posting. Not that I doubt this in any way shape or form, just that I'm surprised that there's much room for business these days on forums, as they're jam packed with offers.

I'll have to start posting around on forums as well as this obviously. If you have any in specific you hold in high regard then a link will be welcomed.
It depends where you are looking to get most of your business from


Don't target the whole market you will fail, specialize in something and you will be successful.
Interesting point dores. Something that I'd never thought of. I guess we're aiming at the local market, but surely there's no harm in doing SEO of our site aswell?
but surely there's no harm in doing SEO of our site aswell?

Not at all but don't sit back expecting the orders to flood in, for example if you solely concentrate on SEO and wait for online orders you will more than likely fail as it takes a LOT of time and work.

Personally I would focus on my local market to bring in some money to start and at the same time have somebody working on my online presence which you can look to progress with further long term.
What we have always found to work, is get your website up and running, do the basic SEO yourself, then get a batch of business cards/leaflets printed up and get them all over your local area. You should then get orders from this, and you can use these orders to pay for some more SEO / development of your site.

Hope this helps
Cheers CBC. That's pretty much what we have planned, we've got a few jobs on the go, once they've come in we'll get our business cards printed and I'll probably leave them around potential business who need a website, possibly under window wipers on business vans.

I've barely ever spent money, and any time it's never worked.

I've marketed myself by doing my own search engine optimisation, which has proven very effective, and also by online and offline business networking.

If you spend some time (well a fair amount of time actually) on seo along with online business networking you really can sit back and wait for the orders to come rolling in. If you are consistent they will definitely come rolling in.

Time spent on seo probably amounts to no more than the time spent knocking doors or cold calling. Either method of marketing is fine depending on what you prefer. Both will work. Or maybe you could try all of them together.

I'm 7 years trading, and going strong still :) You don't need to spend a penny really if you don't want to.

I totally agree with Amanda as we have hardly spent anything in advertising, I think it just depends who you are targetting, online or your local business community.

Personally a bit of both is your safest bet as online marketing can take a while to get right and will take a lot of your time, especially from a SEO point of view, where as a local leafleting campaign or newspaper advertisement (or similar) can give you instant business (although this costs money).
Regarding the SEO side, what exactly did you and others do Damon? I checked your page rank and it's a fantastic 5/10.

Is that just following the article you posted in the SEO forum, and lots of networking (such as submitting to directories?)?

Our site's SEO is currently so bad we don't get to the top of the search 'Xenonsoft Studios', a directory submission from us does.