Self employed and need to win more work?

If you’re self-employed, you are probably always looking to re-assure yourself that you have enough work for the future. It’s always nice to win more work.

Being self-employed gives you flexibility so that if you want to take a two-hour lunch break at 10am you can. It also means you don’t have to worry about office politics and keeping your boss sweet.

It does come with plenty of drawbacks as well though.

The pressure of ensuring that you always have enough work coming in to pay the bills, socialise with friends and let’s face it, make sure you have some savings, is probably one of the largest!

With approximately 5 million people in the UK registered as self-employed, here are my five top tips for winning more work:-

1. Follow up with clients who you haven’t spoken to in a while

They might have said they only needed a small piece of work done in the past but their circumstances may have changed. Don’t assume that because a customer has used you in the past that they’ll come back to you again and again. Get in touch with them every so often to see if there are any new projects you can help them with. Your call or email may just jog their memory.

Think about events that occur annually that they may need extra support for. Maybe a public holiday or a conference they usually attend?

They would probably prefer to work with you because they already know what you can do and it will save them time finding another suitable supplier. As they know the quality of your work then assuming that they were happy with the service you gave last time around, it could be an easy win.

2. Tell existing clients about the other services you offer

If, for example, you laid a new driveway for a new customer, would they also know that you also offer a maintenance service and that you can now build extensions? You might do the bookkeeping for a client but make sure you tell them you also offer a business coaching service too. They may not be aware of all the other things you could do for them.

3. Always be prepared for when you may meet a potential client

You never really know when you might meet a potential client. Make sure you always have a business card (or two) close to hand, so that they don’t leave without your contact details. You could be delivering a beautiful wedding cake to a wedding venue only to be approached by one of the bridesmaids who has just got engaged. Always be prepared! 

Make sure that your business summary is well-rehearsed too.

When someone asks you what it is you do, make sure you can explain it concisely and positively. Don’t sell yourself short!

4. Use your existing work examples as a sales tool

Recommendations and case studies are vital because they show potential clients that you have experience doing what they need. Think of it as your shop window. You will need to check with your clients first before you promote their work or name but anyone you have a good relationship with is normally more than happy to co-operate. It’s more publicity for them as well of course.

If you have a website, include the case study on there as well, so people can see what you’re capable of. It might make all the difference between them calling you or not.

5. Make sure you network

Social networking sites such as LinkedIn are great places to grow your network. If you have a blog, make sure you post it there too. Engage with other people and organisations by liking or commenting on their posts. There are countless online forums out there which can be good sources of work if you’re willing to invest some time in them.

Then there are the face-to-face networking opportunities that come up.

Find out if there are any small business groups local to you that you could join. If not, you could always start your own!

These groups can be a fantastic source of work once relationships have been established. They will also be a source of names of business contacts to recommend to your clients. For example, if you’ve just designed a client’s website, they might be looking for someone to write the content. Perhaps you know someone in the networking group who can do that for them?

To recap..

Don’t ignore your existing clients.

It’s much easier and more cost-effective to win additional work from them than it is to find a new client. Make a song and dance about the work you’ve already done and don’t shy away from social media. Get your name out there.

It’s usually easier to find work when you already have some. Don’t leave it until the order book is empty and the cupboards are bare before trying these top tips.

Sitting at home doing nothing is unlikely to result in new work falling on your desk. It would be nice, but it’s unlikely.

More support for your business

Setting up and growing a successful business is hard work and with so much to do it can be difficult to fit everything in. Time looking for new business opportunities is well worth spending, however, so allow yourself more time to do this by letting your accountant do what they do best.

At THP, we love to help businesses grow. We can look after your accounts, payroll and bookkeeping and much more besides. We’ll also let you know where you could save money or how you could increase your sales.


Need further advice on any of the topics being discussed? Get in touch and see how we can help.

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    Avatar for Mark Ingle
    About Mark Ingle

    Owner-manager business specialist, Mark Ingle is key to building relationships with clients at the Chelmsford office. “I like to see clients enterprises grow and succeed.” Mark explains, “The team here has a lot to offer and I can see a lot of new businesses responding to that.”

    Having worked for accountancy practices in London and Essex, Mark has worked with a range of companies varying in size. For Mark, THP stands out for its “local firm approach with the resources of a larger practice.”

    Although a keen traveller, Mark is focused on giving his clients at THP the highest service, “Right now, I aim to help the clients we have to the best of my ability which will help me attract more of the right clients in the future.”

    Mark’s specialist skills:

    • Annual and Management Accounts
    • Tax and VAT
    • Strategy and Business Planning
    • Marketing and Sales
    • Business Development
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