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Build and Track a Powerful Client List with This Spreadsheet

Build and Track a Powerful Client List with This Spreadsheet
Written by Magoz
4 min read 31.1k views 19 comments

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
  • Field
  • 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.

Some notes

  • 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!

Magoz

Nomadic illustrator. Thinker. Seeker.

19 comments

  1. Magoz this is brilliant… why didn’t I think of that before… spreadsheet!! hehe I WILL use this method… I had the method “try to remember if…. (if I worked with them, if I contacted them, if if if…” and my method sucked, big time!! hehe… so Thank you!! Btw…. always always a great read when I visit your site.

  2. Thank you Magoz, this is very usefull to me! I’m taking all your advices really seriously : )

  3. I must admit that I don’t visit your blog every time you post, but I do get to make a weekly update of your posts! You are so generous sharing your tips with us, not a lot of artists/designers do that! Thank you so much!! It does help a lot, I’ll start with the spreadsheet pretty soon :) have a nice weekend!

    • Thank you for your kind words, Sofia!
      I’m glad you find the Blog useful.

      Have a wonderful weekend, you too!
      And congratulations for your work! It’s excellent!

  4. Thank you Magoz, I always searched in my mail folder for all the mails I ve sent. Sometimes it saves a lot of time if you invest a little time for example for making a spreadsheet. I am looking forward to your post how to contact future clients, I have a hard time on this. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and experience! Peace

    • Thanks, Carolin!
      That’s true! Our minds are very busy trying to remember things, being creative and absorbing new information. All those small changes count, and at the end we can focus on the truly important tasks, using our full attention and potential.

      I will publish the article about contacting clients soon, maybe in a couple of weeks.
      I’m trying to make it as much useful as I can, and hopefully it will come with a small surprise :-)

      Is Mensch, Prima!? still available? I would love to buy you one!

  5. Another brilliant post, Magoz!
    Thanks so much for sharing all your knowledge with us, you always make my day very time I receive one of your newsletters.

    Cheers,
    Joan.

  6. ¡Qué entrada más útil! Mil gracias por compartirlo Magoz. Te conocí en el pasado Ilustratour y fue un placer. Saludos

  7. Thanks for all this information, I’m impressed by how helpful your post are, looking forward to the next one. The “how to contact future clients post” sounds great!

  8. This is exactly what I was looking for. I’m sort of starting out, I already have clients but now that I’m getting more and more it is hard to keep track. I can’t seem to copy your file, but then again I probably won’t use google spreadsheets. Instead, I copied your well chosen themes into an excel list. I also added a column “adress” (for sending postcards, invoice etc) and “note”, where I can add what the last contact was about (“sent new year card” or “commission” etc)
    Thanks for sharing your experiences! Btw I love your interactive header.

    • Hi Rina, I’m very glad you find it useful and right on time.
      To make it work from Google Spreadsheets you need to click file > make a copy. And then you can use that template or even export it as .xls.

      Thanks for sharing your additions to the spreadsheet, very clever!! The note field it’s very useful and flexible. I might add it to mine as well :-)

      Thanks again!

  9. ¡Hola Magoz! He descubierto tu blog hoy y me está encantando (vamos, me estoy leyendo todas las entradas…) He encontrado este post muy útil, de hecho, voy a hacer mi propia lista, lo que me falta es saber, ¿cada cuánto tiempo habría que escribir?

    Un email puede perderse entre los cientos de emails que estas personas recibirán a diario pero, ¿con qué frecuencia es bueno mandar un email recordatorio? ¿Y cómo sería ese email? ¿Igual que el anterior? ¿Más corto?

    Yo inicio ahora mi proceso de empezar a buscar clientes, rehacer mi web, mejorar portfolio, etc. Y estos consejos que das, me están resultando muy útiles :)

    • ¡Hola Uve!
      Gracias por tu comentario y por tus palabras.
      Te contesto a cada grupo de preguntas:

      – Yo diría que depende la relación que tengas con cada cliente. Algunos prefieren ver un update de tus últimos trabajos cada mes, otro cada trimestre, otros cada año… Por lo general yo establecería la regla de no ser pesado, así que una vez cada tres meses me parece razonable.

      – De nuevo, la relación con cada cliente es diferente. Eso define no solo la periodicidad, si no también el contenido y tono de los emails. Partiendo de reglas generales, te recomiendo ser lo más escueto y directo posible. Un email recordatorio puede ser igual que el anterior pero añadiendo una línea incluyendo el por qué vuelves a escribir (quizá tienes nuevos trabajos, o tienes alguna propuesta, o quieres insistir en trabajar con esa persona porque es importante para ti).

      Te deseo lo mejor en tu búsqueda, es un proceso largo y muchas veces desagradecido porque se reciben muy pocas respuestas y hay mucho trabajo detrás.
      ¡Mucha suerte!

  10. A client list is very useful, thank you so much for sharing yours.
    I made a similar list for Apple Numbers for Mac users who want a desktop solution or may be reluctant to use Google. You can find it here and of course, it is free: https://gum.co/client-list

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