If you're studying to be a personal stylist or you're just starting your business, I'm sure you've spent some time wondering how you will find your first clients, and also panicking that you might never find them. It's definitely one of the most stress-inducing challenges that new stylists face and can often leave you feeling disheartened, frustrated, and wondering whether you've made the right career choice after all. And, while I can't remove that stress completely, it's a reality of owning your own business, what I can do, and will do, is share some steps you can take to help you find your first clients.
Identify your clients
The first, and most important thing you need to do before you even start looking for those first clients is to figure out who they are! If you don't know who you are looking for, then how do you expect to find them? You need to get clear and specific about your styling niche and who you want to work with. If you're planning to work with anyone who's willing to work with you then you are not going to be very successful and grow a lucrative business. By trying to be the stylist to everyone you'll actually end up being the stylist to no one, and it will be game over before you've really started.
Understand your clients
Once you're clear about who you want to work with then it's time to get to know them and understand what challenges they are facing with their personal style and what their needs are. You'll also want to spend time figuring out how they spend their time, where they get their information from, and where you are most likely to find them. Create 2-3 avatars (profiles) of your target clients and really take the time to understand who they are. Once you're clear about your target clients then you'll be able to create messaging that speaks directly to them and you can spend your time in the places (virtual and real), where you are most likely to find them.
Speak to their needs
When you're creating content for your business, whether it be social media posts, your website, blogs, or videos you need to ask yourself this one important question: Is this of value to your target client? Everything you create or do need to be focused on speaking directly to them and showing them how you can meet their needs and how working with you will add value to their life. It should represent who you are as a person and a stylist but it should speak directly to your target clients. Take a strategic approach to your marketing and don't waste time posting on social media for the sake of posting.
Build a relationship
Your target clients won't turn into paying clients overnight! You need to build a relationship with them and nurture that relationship to take it to the next level. People require an average of 12 touch points (connection activities) before they're willing to buy, so be patient and keep engaging them.
One of the most important things you'll need to do to find your first clients is to actually go out and find them! If you're expecting that your clients will find you, or that posting once a day on social media will keep you booked up for months then you'll be very disappointed. You need to be proactive both online and in person. You need to network, you need to actively make connections with target clients or people that may know your target clients. Word of mouth is one of the most important marketing tools for your business so have conversations with everyone about what you do. I found my first client by having a conversation with my hairdresser and I know many other stylists that have found their clients in a similar way, so step out from behind your computer and get connected.
By truly understanding who your target clients are you will be able to create a plan to find them and start making a connection with them. So the sooner you take this step the sooner you'll be landing those all-important first clients for your personal styling business.