How to Market and Spread the Word

There’s only one currency for entrepreneurs, and it’s not measured in dollars and cents.

It’s measured in clients and customers.

Without a solid client base or loyal customer following, your new full-time gig won’t have much of a chance at remaining a full-time gig. But with effective marketing and networking, you may feel more secure in your former “side gig” than you ever did as an employee!

What’s Better—Word of Mouth or Heavy Marketing?

We all know lucky people like Ritika Puri of Storyhackers, a boutique content marketing consultancy.

“Believe it or not,” says Ritika, “I built my entire business through word of mouth referrals.” Not only did Ritika handle marketing solely through word of mouth advertising, but she doesn’t even have a traditional freelancing website!

Not everyone is so lucky. Or is it really “luck” at all? Ritika credits her success to her passionate approach to work. “I genuinely love getting to know my clients and love to make them 200% happy…I am very passionate about (and completely believe in) the work that my clients are doing. This passion guides me towards amazing projects and people.”

If you take a similar approach to your work in a field that is friendly to word-of-mouth marketing, then you’ll likely see the same success as Ritika Puri. But that’s no reason to ignore conventional marketing, either.

Our advice? Experiment, and adjust your marketing strategies according to the results you’re getting. If you’re as busy as Ritika, perhaps you can rely on word-of-mouth marketing for now. Keep approaching each client with passion and a dedication to making them “200% happy.” You’ll be sure to attract new customers naturally.

If not, keep reading.

When—and How—to Start Marketing Your New Business

In taking your side gig to a full-time job, there are two very important variables to consider.

  1. The first is when to begin. Many entrepreneurs who have just taken the leap to full-time self-employment think that spending an inordinate amount of money on advertising is essential. Many entrepreneurs recommend having a core strategy in place first, as well as a definable, unique brand that will attract customers more readily. “Successful start-ups build a product for a specific user that’s unlike anything out there,” says Andrea Cutright of Foodily. “Focus on what makes your company different from the beginning.”
  2. The other variable is how to begin. If you’re like Ritika Puri, you’re already marketing simply by the nature of how you run your business.

For other entrepreneurs, the question isn’t so easy. Many recommend against traditional advertising—television spots, radio ads—as they can be costly, particularly if your startup depends on online traffic. If this is the case, there are plenty of cost-effective marketing strategies that might better suit your new gig:

For more information on marketing, read The Startup’s (Budget) Guide to Traditional Marketing and 15 Ways to Let the World Know About Your Awesome Business.

“But Where Should I Network?” Tools for Getting Started

How do you get started networking? Just like you’d get started building a house by picking up a hammer, let’s begin by focusing on the right tools.

Where to network

Social Media

Networking Apps

Three Tips to Accelerate Your Networking

Contrary to popular belief (see our “myths” from Chapter One), not every entrepreneur is an extraverted networking machine. Simply put, networking isn’t intuitive to all of us. But you don’t have to be the life of the party to run your business: