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Cody McKibben, Small Business Incubator

How I got my first 3 customers and the steps for you to do the same.

Cody McKibben

Small Business Incubator

I do a LOT of things for my clients – from web development to marketing consulting and everything in between. Basically, I take away the technical and logistical hurdles for aspiring and new entrepreneurs so that they can focus on doing what they do best and successfully create their own lifestyle businesses, or scale an existing business that serves as the vehicle to achieve freedom, self-reliance, and the lifestyle they desire.

I started designing and developing websites for SMEs in 2006, which led to building communities, ecommerce stores online, and helping my clients plan, launch, and market new products and services online, all through my little digital agency at http://thrillingheroicsconsulting.com

And now I've nurtured an online business course, and a community where I coach about 250+ individuals who are each building their own small lifestyle businesses — (find us at http://digitalnomadacademy.com/ ) all of this while I've been traveling the world since 2008 and lived in 7 cities.

But how did it all start? It started very early on in the game for me, when I became interested in business and entrepreneurship and creating value, and I decided to start writing about what I was learning on my blog http://www.thrillingheroics.com - Through that I was able to start building real relationships with a few key people.

The first was a fantastic man who became my mentor early in my entrepreneurial career — CEO, chairman, or president of about 8 Silicon Valley companies at any given time! At the time I had no business, I just reached out to him, developed a friendship, met with him and sought to learn from him.

One day when he asked me if I knew anyone who could create a site on WordPress and PHP, I asked around among my friends but found nobody. I'd been playing around with websites for years as a hobby though… so before even answering his message I just got to work and built a site in about 48 hours. I worked my butt off and did my best to create something that would really blow him away.

I emailed him back and showed it to him, and thankfully it really impressed him. I offered it to him for free simply to say thank you for all the mentoring he'd given me over the year before that (but he insisted on paying me, so we settled on just $100 — my first hundred dollars online).

He immediately started referring business to me, recommending me to his friends and colleagues, even his sister! And ever since then, every time he has a new business he's working on or a book release, he has often come back to me with paid projects.

Never underestimate the power of your network, especially key influencers and connectors. And if you're *just* getting started, I would seriously consider offering to do free work for the *right* kind of person — someone you know is connected with your target customers and will refer business to you if you do a great job.

It's a fantastic way to kickstart any new service business.

The Tip

To whet your beak

Build relationships with key influencers and potential 'referral partners' who are connected within your target customer's circles, and offer to help them, do great work, even do it for FREE.

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