Micro-Entrepreneurship For Dummies
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If your micro-entrepreneurial business has a service to offer, there are various ways in which you can find and meet prospective clients. The great thing about looking for potential clients for your services is that they’re usually also looking for you. Of course, for every paying client that is looking for help, there are dozens or hundreds of other folks looking for the same assignment.

Finding out where potential clients hang out will pay off for you. You can look in three places that are generally considered work-for-hire venues.

Find prospective clients through horizontal venues

A horizontal site has all sorts of clients with all sorts of assignments, and the competition is among all sorts of service providers (freelancers). In other words, a horizontal site crosses all specialty services and needs. A good example of s horizontal site is Elance, which is like eBay (and also owned by eBay), but it’s primarily for services. Other horizontal venues include the following:

With a horizontal site, find an interesting assignment and bid on what it would cost a prospective client to have you fulfill the assignment. If the client selects you, the horizontal site acts as the go-between, providing a means for tracking your progress and getting paid.

Find prospective clients through vertical venues

A vertical site is a site where the services provided are very specialized; the site concentrates on a particular type of service or maybe a particular industry or sector.

The best way to find a site that specializes in a particular service is to do a search with your favorite search engine with phrases such as “work for hire in [type of service]” or a similar phrase. Here are other examples of vertical sites:

  • Agents of Value: For a company seeking a pre-screened webmaster, this site is a great consideration. For a webmaster seeking to provide service, this site would be a good marketing venue.

  • AllGraphicDesign: This site showcases a community of graphic designers.

  • 1-800 Contractor: If you’re handy with tools and enjoy home improvement projects, check out this site.

  • HouseKeepingWanted: If you do house cleaning or housekeeping, make sure you review this specialty site.

Find prospective clients directly via search engines

Maybe you already figured out what type of client is right for you. Perhaps you already landed your first assignment and you now have a good idea of the ideal client to approach. In any case, you may be able to find new customers directly through search engines and directories that would cut out the middleman fees that most freelance sites charge.

A directory is a website that has its own searchable database and can help you find businesses based on your category or geographical area. A good example is Superpages, which is a searchable database similar to the Yellow Pages.

Other useful directories to find businesses are as follows:

For example, say that you found a paying client who was a florist. You figure that other florists would make good clients too. To find more of this type of client, you can search for “florist” (and similar phrases, such as “flower,” “florist business,” and so on). At that point, proceed to contact the search results, either via email or telephone.

About This Article

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About the book author:

Paul Mladjenovic is a certified financial planner, micro-entrepreneur, and home business educator with more than 25 years' experience writing and teaching about financial and business start-up topics. He owns RavingCapitalist.com and is also the author of Stock Investing For Dummies.

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