This is the third update in the April 2021 challenge to find new clients.
Recap of the challenge
The challenge is intended to help you find clients whether on Upwork or via emailing businesses. As a part of the challenge, you get to choose what you prefer and commit to contacting a number of businesses each day for the month.
How many you choose is up to you. The goal is not to send the most but to make sure you can complete your goal.
Let’s dive into my third update of the challenge.
I’ve pitched 145 leads at this point. Most of it feels like a failure as I began reaching out to fifty CEOs in the target industry but instead of pitching, it was as research to learn more about the industry.
I wasn’t sure if CEOs were the right ones to contact with my idea around marketing since they might not deal with it directly if the business is too big.
Following that, I also reached out to another fifty marketing heads but after not seeing too much of a response from either, I went “down” one level in the organization chart to contact another 25 people in another relevant marketing role.
But I didn’t stop there. I also reached out to about ten agencies for research, thinking that if they were overloaded with work, they might need an extra hand. I instantly heard back from someone interested.
In total, I’ve heard back from five people which is a good indication that something isn’t right here. In a somewhat ok market, I tend to see ten responses or so from a batch of pitches but these are simply basic research questions so they should trigger even more responses. I’ve now done 2.5 batches or so, so I’d expect to hear back from twenty people.
I’m not entirely sure as to why just yet. It could be due to a gatekeeper like an assistant managing their inbox. Another option is that I didn’t reach the right people altogether or that they will come from the follow-ups. I like to follow up once a week for two weeks after the pitch, so I still have one follow-up to go for most of the leads.
Normally, my conclusion would be that the market isn’t great but during my desk research, I found potential and indicators that it should be great. For example, specific freelancers, consultants, and agencies offering similar services to what I had in mind. And from those I spoke to, I found that some companies did work with freelancers like myself.
In the meantime, until I’m done with the follow-ups, I’m not resting on my laurels but instead, I’ll pitch businesses a little closer to home to get the ball rolling. I have experience working with the self-improvement industry and so I’ve begun pitching online course creators.
Results and mistakes
Just in this short window of time, I’ve made a bunch of mistakes… THAT I can feel because things aren’t working like I’ve experienced before. But it’s too early to tell what they are. I’ll have to come back to that later.
This is contrary to most other experiments I see online where people have a perfect run and quickly land clients. I’ve had that experience too but rarely the first time. What you are seeing in this challenge is a more realistic version of what can happen.
I could choose to keep this quiet or tweak it to appear like a smoother experience but I’ve learned that there is value in planning for the worst, so we don’t get taken by surprise and we’ll know exactly what to do when it happens.
In other news, some readers are making great progress in the challenge, so I might share their story if they are ok with it.
What I plan to do for the next week until the next update
Until next week, I have to follow up with all the leads I’ve contacted along with sending ideas over to those I’ve heard back from and contact another fiftyish leads.
That’s all for this week — I’ll update you again next week.
If you have any questions about the challenge or just want to send an update/share your experience, feel free to comment below or send me an email.