Experienced Startup Mentor, Commercial lawyer, Lecturer & public speaker. I've helped over 300 entrepreneurs & 100+ startups. Taught tens of courses and given hundreds of talks. Founder of the Legal Clinic for Startups.
The answer is obvious: you add more sand...(to get to the next level). Sorry, I just had to, and humor is healthy right? :-)
On a more serious level:
1. The fact that you're doing lots of small jobs is already a good start (especially the "lots" part), because if you do a good job, clients will remember you, and one day, when they need a bigger job, you'll be the one they turn to.
2. Partner with someone to create a win-win situation. For example: when contractors build large housing projects, they often work with 1-2 large companies that design kitchens, and offer their services when they sell the houses to the buyers (before they're even built). These kitchen companies pay a percentage of their profits, or a one time fee, for this partnership. You could do the same: the contractor would offer the buyers your landscaping services (it's great moving in to a new house with an amazing garden) and the contractor would get a commission for each paying client.
3. One big project: big jobs require big properties and clients with money. Focus on getting one big client, offer him the project at almost nothing*, and then over deliver (do an amazing job). The discounted rate would be on the condition that they (1) give you a recommendation, (2) let you photograph the project and (3) recommend you to their friends. Just the fact that you completed such a project, will be of value when you pitch to other similar status clients.
4. Online targeted advertising - create a well designed website (you can do this for a rather cheap price on Fiverr), add pictures of your best projects, and advertise to your target market. Try be original: example: go to a place that needs some work done (perhaps a neglected public area), and create something amazing - and then leave a funny sign with your details. You might even get some media attention (just be sure you're not doing anything illegal).
I've successfully helped over 300 entrepreneurs and businesses and I'd be happy to discuss other marketing methods if you need to.
I know someone who owns a fairly large medical tourism company. If you have a steady flow of paying clients, he might be interested in investing or some sort of partnership.
If you meant that you're interested in increasing the amount of clients that you have, then I'm happy to give you some pointers, but I would need a lot more information. I'm happy to give you a free 15 min call to get the info, and then we can schedule a second call during which I will give you my advice.
I've successfully helped over 300 entrepreneurs, and I'd be happy to try and assist.
I agree with David. Although this could be a cool gimmick, I also know (based on past known apps) that this tech will be used to do harm. So, if you have the knowledge to create this, it would probably be better to invest your time in something less risky and even better: something that does good/helps people, as this will make you happier people :-)
If you do decide to move forward with this idea, make sure that you have a super strong Terms of Service and that you have some sort of audio disclaimer that get's added to the beginning and end of each recording (this might be less fun for some users, but users who only want to have fun will use the app anyway, and users who want to use the app for negative aspects wil be more deterred). Note that this can still be worked around, meaning that you could still be found liable.
p.s.: maybe you can take the idea to a safer, more fun direction: I call it: "Guess the voice" - it's like trivia in which the user has to guess who's voice it is. You can do this with famous people's voices or with your friend's voices (you just need to watch out for copyrights and privacy aspects)
I've successfully helped over 300 entrepreneurs, and would be happy to help you validate any other ideas that you're currently 'playing' around with.
No sure anyone can properly answer this without first getting more information - as the famous investor quote goes: "I trust in GOD, all the rest need to show data"
Anyway, assuming you've validated your idea, and know how to give a great pitch, then of course investors will take you seriously. You just need to come very prepared (with your numbers, background research on investors, how much you want & in exchange for what* etc).
* It's not enough to know that you want $200K for 10% (for example). You need to prepare in advance for alternative numbers and be able to think fast. For example: if they offer $230k for 12% - is this better or worse (you have 30 seconds - and this is an easy one)?
I've successfully helped over 300 entrepreneurs, and would be happy to help you with the validation (if not done yet), the pitch deck and the pitch itself.
Well done for creating a startup. Good luck and enjoy the ride.
I'm not sure if you're asking "how do I crowdfund?", "should I crowdfund?" or "what are the best methods to do my crowdfunding", but I'l do my best to answer.
Assuming you have a database (with emails) of previous clients, then your best option would be to crowdfund with the 'prizes'/returns being a membership (at various levels) at the ice-skating rink. This creates a win-win situation for both sides. If you don't have an email database, then perhaps first start creating one, because you need a minimum amount of first pledgers/donations for the campaign to gain momentum.
P.s.: I believe in being open and honest, so no offence, but before running the campaign, I strongly suggest that you make some changes to the ice-rink itself. I looked at the website and the photos, and both are not very inviting. Whilst your website can wait, the rink itself needs some work - it has to be an amazing experience for kids and adults a like. A few suggestions (at a minimum budget) (you might already be doing some of these):
1. Pick a theme (for example Hollywood) and add posters all over with that theme - you can get Hollywood movie posters for almost nothing today.
2. Add some colored lights and turn off the regular ones.
3. I saw speakers, so make sure you're playing cool/fun music.
4. Create theme days on the rink - dancing day, sports day (ice hockey), lovers/romantic day for 18+, outing days for businesses (create a program for companies who want to bond their team-members..). Lots more ideas.
5. Add some complimenting attractions/services for both kids and adults (this is also good for up selling): comfortable sitting area for adults (some old, but nice looking sofas), coffee machine/stand, Cotton candy stand, charging area for phones (in safe) for a small fee.
the place has to have the cool/fun affect.
I would start by selecting the most popular categories/fields that the users are looking for freelancers (based on Google Adwords Keyword Tool or maybe checking Fiverr - if their services are the similar to the ones you plan to offer).
Then, to intensive, but focused/targeting marketing* for freelancers and users of the field that you chose.
Repeat the above process for the top 5 categories and then either repeat or move on to the next categories.
As for the actual marketing platforms/methods, this really depends on the categories of services/the type of freelancers, your budget etc.
I've successfully helped over 300 entrepreneurs, and would be happy to help you. The first (15min) call would be free so that I can get the information. You can use this link to schedule: https://clarity.fm/assafben-david/free-advice
Well done for creating a startup! Try enjoy the ride...
Here is what I suggest:
1. Select 10 local businesses. Offer them 1 FREE* endorsement (see next comment).
* If this is too expensive for you, you can always add a condition that if the endorsement brings them more than x new customers, they pay the initial cost of the endorsement (so no profits for you, but it will cover your costs).
2. Have a local influencer endorse the business and make sure to track/measure (and photo) the positive affect. You offer this free for those first 10 businesses, on the condition that if it works they write you an amazing recommendation (you can even draft the recommendation and show it to them in advance so they approve it). Be sure to ask the influencer to mention a specific discount code so that you and the business will be able to track the success of the campaign.
3. Now, when you go to other / new businesses, you show them the proof that your method works (the letters of recommendation from businesses).
Make sure to have a short, simple, agreement with future clients. I've successfully helped over 300 entrepreneurs and I'd be happy to help you with the business and legal aspects.
Sounds like a cool venture. Good luck
Clarity's terms of service state that:
"You (as a Seeker) may cancel an Appointment without penalty; provided, however, that you have not already initiated the call with the Expert via the Services. You (as an Expert) may cancel a scheduled Appointment without penalty at any time."
I personally think that if the cancellation is done up to about 3-4 hours before, then it's reasonable not to charge, but anything less than that should come with a partial cancellation fee. I personally spend anywhere from 10-30 minutes preparing for a call in order to promise the most value for the caller. I don't expect to be paid for this time, but if the caller doesn't cancel and just doesn't show, there should be a cancellation fee. Alternatively, each user (including experts) should have 2 'no-shows' after which they get blocked.
If it gives you any comfort, I know that the caller's 'Clarity Score' is negatively effected.
The fact that you have user traction (the questions being asked) is great. So that's a good start. Obviously, you need to get the questioned answered asap, or else you won't have returning users. So, this is what I suggest:
1. Sign-up to your competitors website - see what (if at all) they're doing differently.
2. Contact the lawyers who are listed on your competitors website (assuming you can see their details). If they've signed up there, they should be willing to sign up with you.
3. As Steven mentioned before me, it is crucial that you understand why lawyers aren't signing up. Possible reasons:
a. Legal limitations
b. A long/invasive sign-up process.
c. Not enough profit for them (maybe they see the prices being offered on the home page and get deterred)?
d. They just haven't heard about your website?
I've worked (as a lawyer) with a similar platform before, and they seemed to have a very good work flow.
As a startup/commercial lawyer, I've successfully helped hundreds of startups, so I'm pretty sure that I can help you better understand the problem, and then offer some practical solutions. I would just need to get more information [see the website, what country you work in (different cultures and regulations...), sign-up process etc].
I'm willing to give you a free 15-20 min call to get the information (you can use the below link), and afterwards, if I have anything of value to offer, we can schedule another call.
Legal marketplaces are a nice model - good luck!
Good question. There are many methods, but I don't want this answer to be too long so here are a few of the main ones:.
1. Ask your existing client/s for referrals. If they were happy with the work that you did, they should be happy to do so. If you feel the need, offer them a 10%/$X discount on the next project for every client they refer. This is 'win-win-win' situation because you get more clients, they get a discount, and they use your services again.
2. Ask your existing clients for a written recommendation which you can publish on your website + permission to use their logo on your website. You can offer them a link to their website which will be good for both of your SEO rankings - so another win-win.
3. Publish as much content as possible on your website. This can be about the projects you've done, potential projects, your fields of expertise (obviously you need to have a professional and trustworthy looking website). Each article/post should be about 1.5 pages (Microsoft Word). Make sure the content is adapted to your customers (so probably not too technical).
4. Create a free 'get a quote tool' - many customers check online to get an estimate of how much the project will cost. If you have an automatic online tool, this can attract a lot of customers. I have personally used such a tool and I was very impressed with the company's website and free tool.
5. Partner with organizations/companies that work with your target clients - for example: I work with lots of entrepreneurs and many of them ask me for referrals to various types of service providers. These companies give me a small percentage from my referrals (of course I only refer to companies which I know and trust as my reputation is worth more than the referral %).
p.s.: LinkedIn can be an incredible tool if used correctly.
I've successfully helped over 300 entrepreneurs and will be happy to help you.