Getting valuable customers into your business without spending a dime
Venturing out into the world of owning your own small business can seem daunting. There is so much to consider, so much to pay for and so many decisions to make. Owning your own business isn’t for everyone, but if you have even the slightest desire to do it, I fully would encourage you to try it out in some way, even if you start small.
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As most of you know, Liz recently announced she’s starting her own tax prep business. My husband has actually worked for himself for many years now, so I thought it’d be fun to share the various ways we advertise for free.
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My husband runs a painting and handyman business. He started his business in Arizona 8 years ago and has now been growing his business here in North Carolina for the past 5 months. He had to start from scratch in building his clients, so we had to start from scratch with advertising. Since we’re on a budget, we seek out various ways to advertise for free. Some of those ways, along with a few others, include:
Craigslist is not just for buying and selling used items, but it’s also a great source for finding jobs. For starters, it’s free to post an ad and you can post multiple job ads per day. This is our main source of advertising. John has a few different ads that would apply to different types of clients. Since jobs come and go rather quickly and new ones are popping up every second, you have to be diligent about posting ads daily. We’ve found it works best to post early in the morning, mid-morning, during lunch hour and in the evening. Of course, depending on your type of business this could vary.
Our second biggest group of clients is from referral business. Referral business can come in one of two ways – either a customer refers you to someone else (this is the easiest way as it requires no work on your part) or you have to ask the customer for a referral. When my husband completes a job, he almost always asks the customer if they know anyone else who may need his services. More often than not, he gets a name and a number.
We’re in the process of building my husband a website so he can have a presence online. Even though his business is conducted offline, developing an online presence is pertinent if you wish to be a successful business owner. It’s no longer an option to advertise via social media, but a must. Social media advertising is especially useful if you can do your work remotely, such as running a web design business or a consulting business.
One of the things we’ve really improved on since moving to North Carolina is giving my husband’s business card to almost everyone we meet. I meet moms at parks and libraries weekly and carry a few of my husband’s cards with me so I can pass them on. We give his business cards to neighbors we meet, people we meet at the grocery store and more. You never know when someone is looking for a handyman. And even if they’re not, they can save his card for later if they ever do need his services or pass the card along to a friend. Word of mouth is by far one the best forms of advertising in the world, and it’s free!
Do you run a small business? What is one of your most effective free ways of advertising? Share in the comments below!
About the author: Sarah Brooks is a personal finance blogger at The Frugal Millionaire. She’s a wife, mom to two little girls and recent transplant to Charlotte, NC. She loves spending time outdoors, baking and being with her family.
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