Does size really matter?
The answer is: it depends.
There are many reasons why keeping your business small can be to your advantage – like your ability to remain agile and flexible. But when you’re just starting out and looking to acquire new clients, it can pay to look a little more sizeable.
Especially if you’re going after bigger companies, looking credible and trustworthy is essential. A large business suggests a more successful business – and that translates to a safer option for your client.
Here are a few ways you can appear more professional even if you’re just getting started.
1. Choose a business name
Even if you are working as a solopreneur, choose a professional business name to represent you. Brand this across everything you do (on invoices, email signatures, and proposals, for example).
Using a brand name from the beginning can set you up for future success. If you do grow to a size where you’re hiring other employees, your brand name allows you to keep consistency across the clients you’ve worked with from the outset.
Not sure where to start in choosing a name? This free freelance essentials course can offer some tips.
2. Have a professionally-designed website
These days, you just can’t get by without a good looking website. Even if it’s just a one-pager, a professional site tells your prospects that you’ve invested in your business and you know what you’re doing. Your website is your first impression, so make it count.
A professionally-designed website that looks impressive doesn’t have to be expensive. Fiverr is a great place to look for help if you don’t have a big budget.
On your website, reference examples of previous clients you’ve worked with, with testimonials if possible.
3. Grow your social media
Your online presence doesn’t start and end with your website.
The popularity of social media means that potential clients are likely to go looking at your business pages on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. Spending time creating and maintaining your social presence can be just as important as your website. Choose one or two platforms that are most relevant for you, and regularly post content that will attract the kinds of clients you’re looking for.
4. Choose a higher invoice number
If you send an invoice to your client with the number 1 or even 10, it screams loud and clear that you haven’t been in business very long. Use a tool like AND CO for your invoicing, and you can easily choose whichever number you like for your invoice – providing the impression that your business is much more seasoned.
5. Create professional contact details
Create a separate work phone number. That way you can set up a professional business voicemail, and you can easily tell which calls are work-related and which are personal. And you don’t necessarily have to get a separate phone for this – services like Google Voice or Hello Chava allow you to pick your area code and talk and text with clients just like a regular phone number.
You’ll also need a work email address that looks professional. It’s easy to add a second email address with most email providers. You could even set up addresses like [email protected] and [email protected] – no one needs to know that it’s you replying to all of them!
Look the part
While creating a more professional appearance can take some time (and maybe a little money), it’ll be well worth the investment when you start to seamlessly win more projects. You may even create a self-fulfilling prophecy – and soon enough you won’t have to act like you’re big anymore.