4 Reasons to Target Small Business Clients
The corporate job I left behind to freelance gave me a lot of the experience that I took with me to set up my own business. It also taught me that I don’t particularly like working for big corporations. Nowadays, I target small, local businesses when looking for new clients.
Many freelancers go after the big fish with hopes of making more money and beefing up their portfolio. It’s true that larger businesses probably have more bank to pay a freelancer. Moreover, a well-known business will look better on a resume then a local spot nobody has heard of outside of its 10-mile radius.
But I find that working with small businesses is often an easier, intimate and enjoyable experience. Here are four reasons I go small.
1. It’s easier to get hired. Large businesses have larger budgets, meaning they’re more likely to be hiring for full time positions. But small businesses are often missing entire departments (i.e. marketing and accounting). With a lack of budget and tiny staffs, they’re more likely to hire independent contractors.
None of my clients have a marketing department in-house, but all of them recognize the need for marketing. I’ve been able to come in and offer to help them with social media, email marketing, website copy, etc. and they’re more than happy to hand it over to someone who actually knows what they’re doing — and actually has the time to do it. Hiring me is even more enticing because they can pay me at an hourly rate and don’t have to worry about benefits.
2. Less competition. Many freelancers spend hours of their time browsing the Internet for gigs, writing cover letters and editing their resume in the hopes to land projects or clients. In many cases, the businesses advertising these gigs receive hundreds of applications to sift through.
Instead of wasting all of that time, I proactively approach small businesses that I think could use my services, and offer them my help before they even think to ask someone for it. I don’t have to write any cover letters or fight it out with the competition, because there is none.
3. No Micromanaging. At my former 9–5, my boss was a classic micromanager. Everything I did, no matter how small, had to be approved by him, then approved by three other higher-ups. My expertise and creativity never felt so underappreciated or underutilized.
I felt like this, in a big board room every day…
My small business clients are just the opposite. They don’t have the time to hover and they trust that I know better than them as an expert in my field. I deal with very few revisions and projects get completed in a smooth and timely manner.
4. Building Strong Relationships. With my small business clients, I’m usually just dealing with one of a few people, often the owners or CEOs themselves. We’re able to get to know each other and develop a close business relationship that often even leads into friendship. Because of this, I find that they’re more invested in me as a person — not just another freelancer or employee out of hundreds — and more likely to keep me on with them for a long time to come.
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Originally published at No Pants Freelance on March 24, 2016.