jenna rainey

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I’m an artist, self-taught designer, and multi-faceted creative entrepreneur who is hell-bent on teaching everyone how to find their inner creative voice.

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"I'm undeniable proof the 'Starving Artist' narrative is made to be broken."



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How to Find Your First Client

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How do I find my first client?

If you’re just starting a business or maybe even started one a bit a go and business is slow, finding that first client or a regular stream of clients can be a DAUNTING task.

Where do I begin? Should I just follow the advice of the Instagram gurus and post Reels everyday until a client comes knocking on my door? Should I start an email list or website first? The questions of where to begin can become so daunting that it can almost prevent small business owners from really gaining the traction they need to keep a business afloat. Most throw in the towel within the first year.

If this is you and you’re struggling to find clients or know where to begin, then let’s talk about it.


How to Find Your First Client

Find Your Niche

Niche marketing, when done with intentionality, can transform your business.

The word “niche” describes a specific and unique segment of a larger market. By getting clarity about the niche you want to serve, you can then know where to find your ideal audience and how to adjust your visual branding and copy to attract them. 

Think about it. If you start off talking to everyone or not knowing exactly who you are talking to, you end up talking to nobody! People won’t find your work relatable or even discoverable if you don’t speak to them directly and use keywords on your website that are searchable and relate to what they’re looking for.

Maybe you’re a watercolor artist who’s looking to book custom house portrait clients. What type of person is it who books an artist for a custom house portrait? Did they recently buy a house? Start a family? Where are they searching for this type of service online?

Or maybe you don’t know what your niche is yet, and that’s ok! Start by just posting your work to social media and keeping a pulse on what gets engagement. Research your competition and dig deep on what truly lights you up!

Related: The Power of Niche Marketing

Find Your Value

You can’t sell your work or book your first client without truly believing in the value you bring with your products or services. The difference between businesses who kill it and those who don’t isn’t their level of talent. It’s their passion and belief in what they do that is infectious and drives their ability to attract their clients and customers.

When you find the value behind what you offer, you can see how it affects your client’s lives, therefore you can tell that story in all of your messaging and sales pitches on social media, your website and beyond. Picture it:

Let’s say I’m a wedding stationery design and in my posts on Instagram I say, “Custom Invitation Suite with edge painting details and gold foil” as my caption. Sounds pretty boring, right?

Well, let’s put a bit of passion and value behind that SAME post by writing something like:

“When my client XYZ opened their box of invitations for the first time, she cried and told me about how she had envisioned this invitation suite and all of her expectations were surpassed. Even though these smaller details like edge painting and foil details might seem unnecessary, they truly take your invitations to another level and will leave a lasting impression on each guest who opens them.”

See the difference? You’re highlighting the emotional value of providing top-notch wedding invitations instead of just talking about the details and features of the invitations and leaving it at that.

Sell Without Sleaze

I hear this from SO many creatives: “I SUCK at selling.” Most probably envision a pushy marketer they follow whose sales tactics are aggressive and obnoxious. I talked about this on a recent podcast interview I did on “Creators are Brands.” You can listen to it here!

The problem most creative entrepreneurs have in finding that first client is not understanding how to market and sell themselves. They’re afraid to talk about themselves or to come across as pushy, but here’s the deal…

Becoming good at selling or booking that first client starts with you believing in yourself and in what you do.

If you don’t, it will never come across as truly genuine and you will truly struggle to not only find your first client, but create a steady stream of clients and income. 

But, it’s not just about more money. It’s about providing value to your customers and helping them. You may be asking yourself at this point, Well, what’s the value I’m giving to my customer? I don’t have a life-changing product like a cure for dark circles, and I’m not a how-to, teacher-type…what’s my value?

Let’s have a quick huddle.

Whether you sell prints of your artwork, are a wedding photographer or a surface pattern designer, you do, in fact, provide value to your potential clients and customers.

Value is subjective and is a sliding scale.

Sell with confidence and sell without sleaze by believing in what you do and what you offer and you will have no problem finding your first client.

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