Did you know the maze exists offline, as well as on?
Last time I was telling you about my first paying web design gig. While this was happening I desperately needed more clients. Preferably clients with real, non-imaginary businesses.
A friend recommended I try local networking. After a little research online, I came across the High Wycombe Business Network. I sent an enquiry to see if they needed a web designer.
The message back was that the group already had an incumbent web designer, but if I wanted to come along in another capacity I would be more than welcome. I asked what they might like to hear about.
“Getting ranked on Google,” was the reply.
(In the years since, ‘getting ranked on Google’ is still the most common answer to that question!)
I hurriedly designed and ordered new business cards from Vistaprint, and booked to go along as ‘Rob Drummond: PPC Consultant’. I had no pay per click clients of course, but my experience with AD had proven this didn’t really matter.
The Network was a two-hour breakfast meeting, running from 7-9 AM every Thursday. I went along and spoke tentatively about my budding but non-existent Google AdWords services.
The first time I went I remember everyone seeming so assured. The financial advisors huddled in a corner to speak in their own special finance language. I distinctly remember a nice lady (who was the incumbent web designer), asking me how my service worked. What was included? How much did I charge? I can’t remember what answer I gave, but I managed to not get thrown out of the meeting.
On the inside I was in turmoil. “WHAT IF THEY FIND OUT I’M A FRAUD?” a voice screamed in my head.
As the weeks slipped by, I became more assured. Speaking to people every week forced me to think about how I structured my projects. One week a guy with an office supplies business approached me after the meeting.
“I’m spending money with Google,” he said, “and I’ve tried calling them. And I think it made things worse. Can you help?”
I stretched nonchalantly to hide my inner nerves, and said ‘sure…’
Pay per click client No.1 was on board! Courtesy of offline, real world, face-to-face meetings.