You’re just starting out with an online service business, you want to dive in and start making money like so many others seem to do effortlessly. You publish your website, set up your social media sites and start to blog religiously. Sometimes even if you are doing everything else right there is one key component missing: social proof.
Social proof can be gained in a few ways:
- Large, active social media following
- Placement in well-known media, like magazines, podcasts or popular blogs
- Testimonials and reviews of your work
For this post I’m going to concentrate on the testimonials side of things. This is where working for free (or at a discounted rate) comes into play. Visitors may want to hire you, but they wonder if you’re actually legit. So now you need to get some testimonials up on your website – but without customers that is tricky to do! Here are a few options to get you started:
Find a great volunteer organization in your industry. Help them out however you can and ask for a testimonial in return. Pretty simple and can usually be completed in a minimum amount of hours weekly.
Offer your services to a friend in need. Look through your social media and scout a few people who could really use your help. Compose an email letting them know that you are offering your services to them and in return you would like an honest testimonial to place on your website. Be sure to let them know that you will be using a picture of them and linking back to their website. Testimonials are much more effective when a potential customer can click on the link and see a real face and a real human is behind those kind words.
Start interning on a part-time basis. Think, think, think. Are there any companies that come to mind that could really use your service but you know are in the start-up phase or they just don’t have the cash yet? Offer up your services (on a limited basis – say a month) and let them know that you are just getting off the ground and you hand selected them for this great opportunity.
Strive to get 3-5 testimonials up on your site to start, and as clients start to pour in – stay strong with your price points and be confident when you quote them on a service. After giving away your services for free you need to let the universe know that you have the skills and the testimonials in place now it is time to get what you are worth!