This is what worked for us - but these strategies are not for everyone.
Some of you will listen to this story and say fuck no, absolutely not doing that. Some of you will listen to this story and use these strategies the same day. Regardless of who you are, this is an entertaining story.
I picked up the phone and made my first sale on my first call. 1 call, 1 project. $500. 3 page wedding planner website. I got a rage of confidence and at that moment and I thought that Finsweet was going to be easy. It was too easy to get that first project. Now a disclaimer: I’m very good at sales. I had a ton of experience selling on the phone.
Selling stuff is in my blood.
I wasn’t good enough because my next 100 calls were failures. Seriously, 100. I made about 15 calls per day for about 2 weeks. All types of businesses, all sizes of projects. I left messages, had hour long phone calls. I went all in on trying to grow Finsweet.
Over those 2 weeks, I was rejected so hard. It put me down and it made me rethink how easy this was going to be.
I still had that first project, so I was good. The project turned out to be a huge success. The client loved it and it was my first real portfolio piece. Almost 5 years later this website is still live and I service it personally free of charge - as a thank you for being my first client.
I put my reputation and work quality on the line. I told her that she didn’t have to pay me anything until she was 100% satisfied. If I built the whole website and she didn’t like it, she didn’t have to pay. 0% upfront, 100% after launch, no contract. She sounded like an honest genuine person on the phone, I needed the experience, so why not?
When you're starting out, sometimes you have to agree to terms you don’t want to. Sometimes you have to offer terms that sound ridiculous. You’re starting out, you don’t have a portfolio. You don’t have the power to make the rules. If you want to grow fast, you don’t have a choice. How do you expect people to trust you without a solid work history? Making 1 or 2 websites is not enough for someone to know you’re legitimate.
0% upfront, 100% after launch. It sounds ridiculous. But if you do what you’re supposed to do and improve this company’s website in a big way, they’ll want to pay you. If they're terrible people and don’t pay you, you have a portfolio item and new knowledge. You’re never wasting time when you’re learning.