Years ago, I felt I was ready to start working as an illustrator but I didn’t have any clients. I dreamed of working for clients like The New York Times or Scientific American, but they looked completely unattainable to me.
Nowadays they are two of my regular clients, and I love working with each of them.
Back in the days before I had big clients, I developed a plan to start opening the way. I started a wish list of the clients I wanted to work with, and I collected dozens of email addresses and sent emails to many Art Directors.
The problem was that I found it tedious to keep track of sent and pending emails. I lost hours with temporary lists that led nowhere.
I needed solutions, and I decided to start a spreadsheet. Over time my spreadsheet evolved, and eventually it became very effective.
Today I want to share that spreadsheet with you, so you can use it to help reach your goals.
Why it is useful:
- Organize your client wish list
- Avoid contacting potential clients too often
- Eliminate unproductive or hard to use lists
- Keep track of your potential clients in a single place
- Have additional valuable information about your desired clients.
- Easily find the last contact with a client
- Quickly identify the great clients (those you love to work with) and the bad ones (those you should avoid working with).
What it includes:
- Client’s name
- Position in the company
- Company name
- Email address
- Last time you contacted them
- Whether client responded
- Color coding to identify client interactions
Use the spreadsheet
You can create a copy of my Google spreadsheet and use if for yourself.
Just follow the link and go to File > Create a copy.
- The spreadsheet is designed to work as a wish list and to keep track of email inquiries you have sent.
- It also works to keep track of correspondence with current clients.
- I use email tools to obtain information on clients I would love to work with. As soon as I find a potential art director, creative, media, studio or agency I wish to work with, I add them to the spreadsheet.
- I contact potential clients personally, and I never send generic emails. (You can learn about how to properly email potential clients in this post).
- For me, deciding if a client is a good fit depends on several factors: how the process went when you worked together, budgets, how long it took to get paid, respect for your work, etc.
When you and your work are mature and ready to start working for clients, you should take action. You need to be active and proactive to get assignments. Nowadays, it means sending a lot of emails.
Otherwise, be prepared to wait for years.
Having a place to track and follow up on your wish list of clients is very helpful. It avoids wasting lots of time and burning yourself out.
The process of finding clients is going to be long and tedious, but with this spreadsheet, it can be a bit more bearable.
PS: My online course Strategy & Business for Illustrators is now available for pre-order!