Mar 7, 2021

Podcast 13: Still Relying On Referrals?

Podcast 01 on what you can learn from the design startup show

Episode Transcript:

Hey design starters today, I have a quick lesson on getting leads, not just relying on referrals. So if you are still relying on referrals, um, this is more for you. And I just want to go back to my, my days as a freelance graphic designer for 10 years. And in those days I, you know what I do when I just, you know, first thing when I wake up in the morning is I just react.

To my client calls to my client emails, requests. And it’s not only, only just the morning when I woke up, but also every day, every hour, every minute, literally every time when they send me an email, I’ll just respond so quickly. It’s like more of reactive. I was simply overreacting on. There are, there are requests and requirements, and I just want to make them happy.

That was my number one priority. Right. And trying to make them happy, helped a lot with regards to raffles because they were thinking, wow, you know, this designer is just the best that I’ve ever got because other designers are ghosting on me. You know, that’s what they think because there are designers who ghosted on them.

And they may have their own reasons. They may have personal reasons. They may have anything odd to try just trying to avoid the clients. It can be anything right. And in those days I thought, wow, you know, that’s my chance. That’s not my opportunity to, to make an income more by this, this way of working. So that’s what I did.

I didn’t look for any resource to help me to get more leads. I just did what I did. You know, with referrals, um, in this way, by just doing what I do best giving good work, delivering on time and just reacting to client’s requests every time and being very responsive. It’s like to the minute, you know, the response to every emails.

So that, that helped me with. That those recommendations that they did. So you may be thinking, this is a good thing. It probably was two last needles, 10 years, but it didn’t really bring me to anywhere that I wanted to go. Uh, so those days I wanted that income, very short term. I just want to do a client work, finish it, get the money in exchange for the work and that’s it.

So that’s what I thought. Design and service is or even business, right. I thought, Oh, that’s sort, that’s how business works. You know, you just, uh, do something well, as well as you can, within the time given by the client and you deliver it, you get the money and you go for the next one. So that was all I knew.

And now realizing this, in retrospect, I was such a fool because. When I gave birth to my first son, I didn’t have much time to do this anymore. I had to be reactive to my son, right. Because he was just a baby and he needed my care, but my clients need my care as well. And they were, they were uncomfortable, right.

That I couldn’t respond on time. And I had to tell them that I had to, I had to kind of pause when it comes to client work. And that’s what they did. They had to look for somebody else. I had to recommend others and, and I had no clients for a long while. And that was terrible. That was, uh, there was a super dark moment for me because, because, uh, I, I didn’t have any income coming in and I still need to care for my son.

I had my new home at, at time. I had mortgage to P I had debts and gods. Got to half a million dollars in debt at a time. So that was a pre that moment, if, I mean to say that I have a kid and that kind of time is the worst thing ever. Right? So, so what I’m trying to say is, you know, when I was relying on referrals, it was easy.

I didn’t have to do anything. And my clients would have wanted to bring me the job and income. But when I didn’t have these clients to tell others that I exist and I’m free capacity to help them, I didn’t know how to get my own clients. I didn’t know how to get leads. I didn’t know how to make money. So I didn’t know how to build my wealth because, because right from the start for the 10 years, that wasn’t my aim or rather, I didn’t know.

That was my purpose. Right. So if you are still relying on referrals, just like needles in those days, then you need to ask yourself if, if is this how you want to proceed? And if one day you just have no way of. Serving serving those referrals or getting the leads or, you know, somehow these referrals just don’t come in.

Right. Because you have no control over the referrals, then do you have a plan? Right? It’s based on me. I didn’t, when those referrals became dry leads became dry. I was, I was just helpless, totally helpless. And I had to start all over by learning how to, what marketing is about how to do sales, what it means by not being salesy and spammy, because I was family for a while.

I didn’t know I was doing, I just needed to get a job. Right. I need to get more gigs. Yeah. And so this is something that even if you are doing a business, now you may be hiring. You may be getting a lot of clients. You may be busy with work. Uh, you may be reacting. You may be getting way more referrals than you could ever have, but I would suggest to spend at least one hour, one hour a day is good enough to figure out another way of getting leads.

Th th these are my, my best thoughts for this to start, because in the text, when I was in freelancing, I didn’t reserve that one hour to figure that out. And so I spent two, three years kind of struggling with my new startup and those in those days with my son, with my new son, with my new home, with my new debt.

Yeah. So you wouldn’t want to be in that situation where you’re stuck with, with a debt, with no money, negative in a rate, you know, with your dependency. It, it can be any situation, right? So long if it’s something that keeps you stuck, we don’t want to be in that situation. So if you are going to plan now, this is what you can do.

So keeping so blocking off the time blocking off the time will always be the best way. When you sit down brainstorm ways of getting those leads, it can be many, many ways, many, uh, many points on your list. And then after that you shot this, right? You wouldn’t want to work all of them at all. All at once.

So that’s a, uh, giving you some ideas. Now, if let’s say there’s, um, you would like to go for guest posting to get your word out there. That could be the first one. And then you can see social media, which social media, Facebook, Instagram, pick one for a start. Right? You, you, you don’t want to stick on stick to one for the rest of your, your entire career, but you want to pick one for a start.

And then after that, You can kind of expand and, um, just use more social media to do the same marketing. Yeah. So these them down take a few of them. So this is an everyday thing, right? So let’s say today, when you take that first hour to list them down, you may not have enough time to start to get started on posting.

Ready? So no worries. Carry on with your busy work the next day, another hour. Stick to that. And then the day after another hour of brainstorming doing this, remember, this is one of your impact activities to grow your startup, grow your business and not just becoming a designer, but a goal to design company for your clients, for people who need your help.

Right. So, yep. That’s it for today. And I will see you tomorrow. Bye.