The Door-To-Door Method

Tap Your Existing Network To Find Freelance Clients

To show you how this method works, let me tell you about Karl.

Karl is a freelance writer. He spent a few hours doing the Door-To-Door Method and shared his results with me:

As you can see there, after just a few hours of using this method, Karl had landed two paying gigs and had a lead on several more.

You can do the same thing this weekend.

Here’s how you do it.

First, sit down and make a list of at least 50 people you know and who know you.

You’re going to make that list, and then you’re going to spend a couple of hours reaching out to those people individually. You’re going to tell them what service you’re offering and ask if they have a need for that service or can put you in touch with someone who does.

I call this the Door-To-Door Method because you’re doing the technological equivalent of going around your neighborhood and knocking on doors to try drum up business.

Kinda like Jack Nicholson in The Shining…

But, you know, without trying to murder anyone.

So again, there are two key parts to this method:

  1. Making the list
  2. Reaching out

There are some very important nuances to both of those, so let’s run through them quickly.

Making The List

Ideally, the people on your list should:

  • Like and trust you.

Because it’s much easier to sell your services to, or recruit help from, people who already like and trust you. So only reach out to people who you’re already on good terms with.

  • Be people you are in frequent contact with.

You don’t want to be reaching out to people you haven’t been in contact with for several months or even years. If you do that, they’re likely to think to themselves, “Oh, I see how it is. You only contact me when you need a favor.”

If you’re not very good at keeping in touch with people, then I recommend you get good at it. Because as a friend of mine likes to say, business is a game of relationships. The person with the best relationships, with the most high-quality relationships, has a massive advantage.

  • Be business owners (or be able to connect you with business owners).

Your ideal clients will usually be business owners, for the simple reason that they are going to be much more professional, and they’re going to understand the concept of Return On Investment, which means they’ll usually be willing to pay a fair rate for your services.

The alternative is to work for a hobbyist, and hobbyists usually don’t have much skin in the game, they usually don’t have much of a budget, and they’re usually very disorganized.

So aim to connect with business owners as much as possible. You’re a professional, and you want to work with other professionals.

Reaching Out

Once you’ve made a list of 50+ people who fit those criteria, it’s time to start reaching out.

Mostly you’ll want to do this by email (or something like Facebook messenger) so you can get through the entire list in a few hours.

Here’s an email template that you can use to help ensure you get the best response.

Subject: Quick question

Hello Phileas,

I hope all’s well with you.

Any chance you could do me a small favor?

The past few months I’ve been working and studying hard to become a web designer. I’m at the point now where I feel confident in taking on some clients and providing a great service.

Here’s where you come in:

Can you think of anyone who might require help building a website? And if so, would you be willing to connect me with them?

Of course, if you ever need help with that kind of thing yourself, I’d be happy to lend a hand 🙂

Thanks a mil!

– Niall

P.S. Here’s a link to the latest website I created, so you can get a feel for my capabilities: [website link here]

Note that I didn’t say something like this:

If you hear of anyone looking for a web designer, please let me know.

Or this:

Please keep me in mind if you hear of anyone looking for a web designer.

Those requests are too passive. They’re unlikely to yield a helpful response or lead to a job opportunity.

Think: what do you want the other person to actually do?

Ideally, you want them to:

  1. stop and think about who they know that might be looking for a web designer, and
  2. go ahead and introduce you to them

The best way to get them to do those things is to ask directly.

Hence:

Can you think of anyone who might require help building a website? And if so, would you be willing to connect me with them?

I should reiterate that this kind of request is only suitable for people you’re already in frequent contact with.

If you send it to an old colleague you barely interact with on Facebook, they’re going to think, “Oh I see. He only messages me when he wants something. Way to make me feel like a special snowflake.”

Lastly here, you should follow up with everyone a week or two after you make your request and ask them again.

Some people are busy and they’ll simply forget. Others won’t take you seriously until you ask a second or even a third time.

So keep asking.

You can use this template for your follow-ups…

Subject: Re: Quick question

Hey Phileas,

Just following up quickly. Were you able to think of anyone who needs help building a website?

Thanks!

– Niall

Okay, so that’s your step 2 for this weekend. Make your list and get busy reaching out.

That is the Door-To-Door Method, the second method in our step-by-step plan to find your first clients.

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