Client #1

Jim Hohl Business & Entrepreneurship Leave a Comment

Do you remember the thrill of getting your first client?

If you are an entrepreneur, small business owner or otherwise sell to clients, I know you do.

You remember it in as much detail as you remember other big transformational moments in your life, maybe even more.

Because that first client transforms your hobby or your passion into a business.

That first client validates all the hard work, the patience, the budgeting, the training.

That first client makes everything real.

I signed my very first client as an entrepreneur in 1996. A huge company in the oil industry data analysis business (yeah, that’s a thing) hired this eager 20-something with no experience to build their very first website.

They paid me $1,500 down, which I used to buy my first computer (yep, until then I was working on a computer borrowed from a friend) … and I got to work hand-coding HTML and creating images in Photoshop. Yeah, it was a while ago.

Oh man, was that site ugly by today’s standards (or maybe by any standards). But my client loved it – and this entrepreneur was born.

Fast forward to today (via many twists and turns) and Visify is no longer doing websites but creating the marketing campaigns that power other businesses. Now we get to share in the vicarious thrill of our clients’ successes: their first clients ““ or, more likely, their first client from their work with us.

I just experienced that thrill yesterday when a new client of ours landed her first client from a campaign that we had just launched for her. It had barely run for 24 hours when **ka-ching** a sale came through!

When you are in the business of serving clients, whether as a coach, a consultant, or a marketing partner like us, I’m sure you’ve had a similar experience.

Maybe you can also relate to some of our clients who shared their experiences with me…

Identifying Her Ideal Client

Even though I had years and year of sales experience, I remember closing my first “big” sales coaching and training deals in my own business and I was petrified. This was way back in 2004.

The worst part? I knew it wasn’t a perfect fit but I pushed through anyway because I was so afraid that I wasn’t going to keep my doors open!

So, I coached and trained a sales team that didn’t want to be held accountable for 6 months! It was then that I made the decision I would ONLY work with ideal clients who really wanted to be coached and grow their sales skills.

I haven’t looked back since!

– Ursula Mentjes of Sales Coach Now

Making Money By Being Herself

My first paid clients came from a free talk I did for a group of white, straight, male CEOs who brought in at least $50 million in revenue annually. As I listened to each of them, I could “hear” that they were lying. Coming up off the streets gave me a very specific capacity: a “superpower” of hearing what people are NOT saying. I went around the room and told each of them what they were lying about””and how to heal.

At the end of my “talk,” 10 of the 12 hired me. I made more money in that one talk than I made in an entire year as a tenured professor with a PhD from Stanford!

It was right then and there that I realized I could make money””BIG money””being myself. I didn’t have to talk “white” or feign affection. I had innate value and intrinsic worth BECAUSE of my pain, not in spite of it. Using my pain to make money was a revelation. Since then, that same “superpower” has grossed $4 million in the last five years.

– Dr. Venus Opal Reese of Defy Impossible

Shifting From Employees to Business Owners

When shifting our careers in 2001 from management consulting and corporate sales to becoming intimacy and relationship coaches, we literally started running our first workshop out of the loft of our 2-story condo in a Chicago suburb.

Without a company name or any organizational infrastructure yet, we had an enormous amount of courage and enthusiasm that carried us through the start-up challenges. That was the time when TantraNova was conceived.

– Freddy Weaver and Dr. Elsbeth Meuth, Founders of TantraNova Institute

Is there anything more satisfying than that?

I mean, in an expert business, you’re only as successful as your clients ““ and the more successful they become, the more successful you’ll be.

The next time you struggle to pick up the phone, or think of bailing on that networking event, or hesitate to launch your next (or first) ad campaign, I encourage you to think of this instead: how satisfying it will be to sign your next client, and how much they need you to propel their success.


Want more ideal clients regularly and reliably? Check out our new training now:

How to Predictably Generate High-Ticket Clients on Autopilot.


About the Author

Jim Hohl

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Jim has been in marketing for over 25 years, and has worked on campaigns for startups to multinationals. He writes, speaks and trains on business development, sales and productivity.

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