Help at hand for finding clients
One of the most common questions AIIP volunteers hear when talking with new info-entrepreneurs and those considering the leap to self-employment is whether AIIP can help them get clients.
They wonder if there is a job referral board, programs to promote members’ businesses, or tools for getting subcontracting work from other members.
The answer is that yes, AIIP offers the tools and resources for each member to attract the kinds of clients that are just right for that person’s skills and expertise, but these tools don’t take the form of a referral program or direct client outreach.
As most info-entrepreneurs will attest, the most consistent avenue for good clients is word-of-mouth referrals. Each business owner has a unique set of interests, experience and contacts; AIIP’s role is to give members the tools they need to generate referrals for their specific services and attract new clients who need and value their services.
What do those client-development tools look like? Some of the priceless benefits that come with AIIP membership include:
- Members-only webinars such as Storytelling Marketing, Get That Speaking Gig, Are You LinkedIn or LinkedOut?, Getting Others to Tell Your Story, and Share Value and Get Invited Into Their Inbox. Each hour-long webinar provides an expert’s advice on an aspect of attracting clients. And don’t forget the First-Year Questions webinars that specifically focus on the concerns of new info-entrepreneurs.
- Local info-entrepreneur groups where you can meet colleagues, build new networks, and share advice and resources.
- FAQs collected from the members-only AIIP-L discussion group, addressing frequently asked questions such as how to get your first five clients, develop marketing collateral, and set up a profitable pricing structure.
- A volunteer mentor program that connects new info-entrepreneurs with experienced business owners, and an “accountability buddies” program for first-year members to help each other stay focused and motivated.
By taking advantage of these free, on-demand professional development opportunities AIIP provides, members can get started building their word-of-mouth referral network and attracting their best clients.
In addition to providing customized business analysis to support smart decisions, Mary Ellen shares her expertise as a speaker, consultant, and business coach for both new and long-time info-entrepreneurs. She is the author of two books on entrepreneurship as well as author or co-author of five other books and innumerable articles about the information industry. Before launching Bates Information Services in 1991, she managed specialized libraries for over a decade.
Mary Ellen has served AIIP as President (1996-97 and 2004-5) and has contributed to numerous committees and strategic teams. Most recently she has been active with AIIP’s Webinar Team. She was recognized with AIIP’s President’s Award in 2014 and the first Sue Rugge Award in 2000.