Start with the low hanging fruit
Photo by Effervescing Elephant
It’s January and the Christmas bills are starting to come in. Mother Hubbard’s cupboards are feeling a bit bare so as a freelancer it’s always the time of year where I start to worry about drumming up some more work.
My advice is to sit with a pen and paper and start to make a list of all the ‘low hanging fruit’ which surrounds you.
Low Hanging Fruit
Low hanging fruit are all the ripe luscious fruit which can be easily picked without having to climb too far up a ladder. It’s where you start when you go out into the garden/orchard.
Work Your Network
Low hanging fruit might include clients who you have worked with in the past. You have a perfect excuse to contact them wishing them a happy new year and mention any new products or services you have to offer (or simply remind them you are available to help out if they need it).
How about all the business cards you collected over the previous year? Get them into your database and send an email off to them.
Make an Offer
Why not put an offer for your products or services out on Facebook/Twitter/Linkedin?
If you have a mailing list, send them a January message and include a special offer.
In January people are often feeling that money is tight so it’s a really good time to offer a discount on your offerings – but be clear that it’s for a limited period of time and then you will revert to your usual rates (or even implement a price increase! Nothing like the fear of paying more money to get people to commit).
You might also offer a payment plan where someone can spread the payment for your goods or services over several payments. Make it easy for them to commit to you.
Ask for the Work
January is a good time to become comfortable with asking for work. Reach out to your contacts and ask for referrals. Pick a few key individuals who may be able to send referrals your way and take them for coffee or lunch. Face to face time is essential for continuing to build relationships.
Coffee and Lunch
Coffee and/or lunch is a great weapon for increasing your audience. It costs you a bit of money and time but committing to one coffee per week with a client or potential client will pay off huge dividends in building long term relationships. Casually over coffee you can quiz the person about their current needs and, where appropriate, suggest how you might be able to help them. Keep it cool and casual – you’re just chatting over a cup of joe. Ask for referrals. People love to help out other people.
New Year’s Resolutions
January is historically when people look to make changes in their life. You can use this to your advantage by looking for ways that your product or services can help people to facilitate positive changes in their life – there’s your marketing angle! Pitch your product to them as a solution to making a positive change in their life.
A common New Year’s resolution is to learn a new skill. Can you teach what you know to someone else? Could doing a few hours of teaching per week – whether one-on-one, small classes, online – bring you a new audience and an additional income stream?
Give Something Away
In order to stimulate interest, January might be a good time to give something away – a product you’ve created, an hour of your time, or a sneak preview of something you’ve got cooking up for later. Develop an appetite for your work by giving away some of it. If people like it, they may come back and pay for more.
Fill Your Basket
With a bit of lateral thinking you can come up with a list of easy and accessible ways to increase your business for the coming year. Find the low hanging fruit which surrounds you and get picking.
Share your own low hanging fruits below in the comments section – I’d love to know what you’re planning.