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First Client, Finally!

Updated on April 15, 2013

How I Got My First Paying Client!

Nowadays, it seems that one job will not support you, unless you like taking chances and living in debt. It also seems that there are a million people out there who will promise you the moon, but in reality, they will give you nothing at best and take you for all you've got at worst.

Like many, I found this out. I needed to supplement my income from my job, which is distributing flyers door to door. When I first got the job, my previous employer had an idea. It was for me to distribute flyers for him, also, as an independent contractor, if my current employer said it was ok. Well, my current employer is very generous and said the only criteria is that their flyer be visible and that I stick to the area assigned to me during my working hours, which they allowed me to flex to my own needs.

Well, the flyers for my previous employer didn't work out. I started looking at Craigslist, which is a tremendously valuable resource for all kinds of things. I checked out jobs and gigs, to see if there were people who wanted flyers delivered. As a matter of fact, it was on Craigslist that I found my current full time job. Well, I did find an ad from a satellite TV distributor, who needed subcontractors to distribute flyers. Every flyer had a code just for me, and every sale from a flyer with that code would make me money. I was told that 1 out of 100 flyers would result in a sale and, since I usually delivered 1,500 - 2,000 flyers weekly for my employer, I knew I could do the same with these flyers and, if they even returned 1 sale per 1,000 flyers , I would have made good money, If they returned 1 sale out of 100 flyers, I'd have been giddy!

But, it turned out that the company itself, not the contractor I was working with, was unscrupulous. They claimed, despite over 20,000 flyers going out from the contractor that I was working with, Including 5,000 I'd distributed, that they'd recieved no inquiries whatsoever form our flyers! We all knew that the company was just keeping 100% of the money that we'd worked for, but of course, we couldn't prove it. The contractor tried again with a second company, which said the first was definitely cheating us and promised they would be honorable. But the same thing happened. Luckily, I'd only spent $200 to print flyers for myself for this venture. But I didn't make a dime.

But it gave me the idea of advertising as a flyer distributor. I would work directly with clients on a small scale, and I'd have more control over being paid for what I'd do for them. I could work on my off days for those who wanted flyers distributed in other areas, and I could deliver flyers concurrently with those of my employer for those customers whose flyers could go anywhere.

The first thing I did, was to make a flyer for myself on my computer. I made a thin one, so that three of them could fit on a page. Then I could have 1,000 printed for the price of 333 full page flyers.

I started distributing these on a small scale, and lo and behold, I actually recieved a phone call! The prospective client didn't make a decision one way or the other, but was definitely interested in finding out how my service worked. Also, I'd only distributed 10 of my own flyers at this point, proving that the companies that had cheated me were definitely lying about not having even one inquiry out of 20,000 flyers going out!

One of the things I looked for, as I was distributing my employer's flyers, was vehicles with company names, especially if they were for home based businesses or small businesses, which would presumably be in need of getting their name out.

Then I got the idea of using Craigslist. I found that service ads could be placed for free, and every few days, so I started doing this, also. And I got 4 phone calls and likely more. The first two were for start-up businesses, but they weren't ready and told me to call in a week. So I did, and they both seemed to be even less ready, and, when pressed, they only really had just an idea, but nothing started yet! Now, to be fair, I've been like this in the past, due to being afraid to 'really get on with it' when called, so to speak. And while I thought I had a great idea, I, too, had my own fears about starting something like this. Maybe they were like this. But, I was determined this time to go ahead with my flyer distribution idea.

Then, a few weeks later, I got a call from an official from a communications company, who wanted to do a distribution project. While, he said that they still had to work out the details, they were definitely going to do it and he said my prices were completely acceptable and that they would be going with me when they do the project. I did give them a followup call, and they said it might be a few more weeks but they definitely were keeping me in mind and he was impressed that I followed up. Now, of course I knew that this could fall through as well, so I did not count on it. It did fall through on their part, but at least the guy seemed professional and did let me know.

But, finally! aA week later, I got a call from a cleaning service contractor for flyer distribution within a particuloar neighborhood! It was outside my employer's work area, so I agreed to do this over the following weekend. We agreed that I'd pick up the flyers on Thursday, then I'd do the distribution on Friday and Saturday, then I'd let her know the job was done, and she would pay me.

Mentally, while I was excited, I knew that she could call it off at the last minute, the flyers might not be there, or a myriad of other non starter elements could intervene, to add to the disappointments I'd had in my quest to supplement my income so far.

But, this time, all went as planned! The flyers were there! She didn't make excuses or call any part of it off! I distributed the flyers and was paid! And she liked my work, as she'd had disappointing results from other flyer distributors in the past! And, to network, I offered her a few of my own flyers, to give to her friends and colleagues who might want to promote their own businesses, and she agreed! Yea!

I knew that it may be a long time before I had another paying client, but at least I knew I could get them to come to me now as long as I persevered in my efforts.

And while this is just a small success, boy, does it feel good!

Alan S.

UPDATE! How am I doing Now?

So, it's been about 2 years now since I started my flyer distribution service, and so far, I've gotten more clients. Many are one or two time deals, but one is long term. Yea!

And, I've gotten referrals from former clients as well!

In any event, I've never had a dissatisfied customer, and some reported that they had gotten responses even before I'd finished distributing their flyers! Anyway, I'm continuing in this business and it's been a good supplement to my regular income.

In my advertising, I've stopped putting out my own flyers, as they didn't generate much of a response and were difficult to change. But I have continued to use my Craigslist ad, since it can be readily changed and posted several times weekly, and word of mouth and so far, it's been somewhat successful in generating business.

I'm also experimenting with specific routes using doorhanging plastic bags so that I can distribute the flyers of several businesses at once and make more money per distribution run. Hope it works. If it does, it will help my finances greatly.

Anyway, I'll update this hub again in the future to let others know how I'm doing.

Please feel free to comment or to answer the poll question.

Thanks for reading!

Alan S.

On Top Of The World!

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    • CrazyGata profile image

      CrazyGata 6 years ago from Puerto Rico

      This is so awesome! I'm all for new businesses!!!

      good for you!!!!!!

    • myway720 profile image

      myway720 7 years ago from Gresham, Oregon

      It depends on how "Official" you make your business. I am very informal with mine. I simply advertise and get contacted via cell phone. I do everything myself. As I don't have a brick and mortar store, nor do I have clients coming and parking around my home, and what I do does not require any licensing the way a doctor or attorney would, I have no license and would not really need one.

      But, if you expand, aquire a brick and morter store, hire employees, etc, then it would depend on the municipality you are in.

      If you are really not sure, your best bet would be to ask city officials, and people you can find who do flyer distribution or other purely sideline work, and maybe your local chamber of commerce.

      You may have to pay a self employment tax at tax time, and it would be a good idea to pay some quarterly taxes, to avoid tax problems in the future.

      Thanks for reading and for your comment.

    • profile image

      srk 7 years ago

      good job.hey do we need any license or anything to do this job.