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This email template brought in 100% of my clients to my new business


Two years ago, I left my full-time job to start a consulting business.

Like many who make the move, I wasn’t sure how I’d find clients. Unlike a brick-and-mortar, I didn’t have a “Grand Opening” sign to hang outside. Unlike some companies, I didn’t want just anyone to walk through the door—I wanted to be thoughtful about my first few projects. And unlike other online businesses, I didn’t have a targeted email list with potential clients at the ready.

Or did I?

Actually, I did: It was the network I’d built over the years through various jobs, professional connections, and partnerships.

I decided to start there — with an email to people I’d known and worked with in the past, letting them know about my career transition — and it was the smartest move I could have made. In fact, 100% of my clients that first year in business came from one single email. It worked so well that I recommend it frequently to friends who’ve started consulting gigs, all of whom have had similar results.

I’ll share that email (and a template you can use, too) in a minute. But before we get to the copy-and-pastable portion of this article, let’s talk about all the benefits of taking the same approach:

1. It can lead to immediate business

Within hours of sending my note, I had two people respond and say, “I didn’t know you were doing this! I know someone who’s looking for help with content strategy. Can I introduce you?”

That’s the ideal scenario, of course: You offer exactly the services someone needs at exactly the right time. And if your work is broad or in-demand (think freelance writing or software development), that very well might happen to you.

Or, it may happen a few weeks later. Randle Browning, another content strategy consultant, sent personalized emails to 30 people in her network when she started out. “I didn’t explicitly ask for client referrals — I just kept them in the loop,” she says, inviting them to coffee when it felt naturally. Ultimately, that led to business. “I actually have gotten every single one of my clients in the past year (and more) through one of those connections.”

Even if the email doesn’t lead to immediate results, though, there are plenty of other benefits, including:

2. It builds awareness for the future

A detailed email updates your network so when they do have a need or come across someone who does, they’re more likely to think of you.

Jen Kluczkowski, who recently launched a consulting practice helping purpose-driven brands with mindfulness training and content strategy, says that a few people she’s seen since sending her update email have said they’re excited for her. “So, they read the email, and that awareness may eventually lead to opportunities. I can feel things coming together from putting that energy and message clearly out into the world (and my world),” she adds. “I’m now giving people I know the chance to help me and help other people they know by making a connection. And most people genuinely like to help other people with connections.”

3. It forces you to get clear on what you do

When you have a full-time job, you know what your responsibilities are (well, most of the time). But many people who venture out on their own find that they don’t know exactly how their skills translate into freelance work, Or, after being pigeonholed in a corporate role, they realize that they’re open to doing all kinds of things and aren’t sure how to narrow them down.

Sending an email announcing your transition forces you to get clear. “The most important thing that transpired from the exercise is that I now know how to articulate the type of work, companies, and projects I’m interested in. It forced me to get clear and concise, which I may not have done otherwise,” explains Kluczkowski.

The email template

Now, let’s get to the good stuff. Here’s a template you can use, as well as exactly what I said in mine:

Hi there,

If you’re on this email, you’ve been a meaningful part of my career, and I’m excited to share with you my latest transition.

As you know, I’ve been [2-3 sentence update on your most recent job or professional experience].

Now, I’ve decided to take the next step of my career: [description of your consulting business and what you’ll be doing next].

Specifically, I’ll be working on:

(Important Note: These don’t have to be a complete list of services you offer, just a few ideas of what people could potentially hire you for. The goal is to show people what you’re capable of — not overwhelm them.)

If I can help you or anyone you know on this type of work, please let me know!

[Optional: quick personal update.]

Just wanted to share. And in the meantime, I hope all is well with you. I’d love an update on your end as well!

All the best,

[Your name]

And here’s how mine looked:

Hi friends,

If you’re on this email, you’ve been a meaningful part of my career, and I’m excited to share with you my latest transition.

As you know, I’ve been running the editorial team at The Muse for 5.5 years. After a sabbatical which gave me lots of time to think about what was next, I’m transitioning my role to Editor-at-Large.

What this means: In a nutshell, I’m handing over the day-to-day editorial operations to my team and spending my time on special projects. Best of all, this will be a part-time position, which is freeing up time to workfreelance and consulting work!

Specifically, I’ll be working with emerging brands on content strategy, building out their content teams, and select writing and editing projects. (If I can help you or any equally wonderful people you know on this type of work, please let me know!)

I’ll also (hopefully) have a bit of time to focus on my own creative projects, as well as spend some time working remotely… and of course get some much-needed sleep.

Just wanted to share. And in the meantime, I hope all is well with each of you and would love an update on your end!

All the best,

Adrian

It sounds simple — but it was the most powerful tool I used in that first year of business. I hope it is for you, too.

Adrian Granzella Larssen is the founder of Sweet Spot Content, which helps early-stage companies and entrepreneurs create authentic, engaging content. Previously, she was the first employee and editor-in-chief of TheMuse.com, a content-first career destination. She’s also the author ofYour Year Off, a digital guide to traveling the world inspired by her experience traveling to 30 countries in 12 months. (Say hi and follow her travels on Instagram.)





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