Believe in me

This post is part of this week’s Startup Edition to answer the question: How did you get your first customer?

Your first customer will come one of two ways:

  1. A person will believe in you, and buy
  2. A person will believe in you, and convince someone else to buy

People that connect you with new customers are invaluable. They're called boosters: people who are so passionate about what you're doing, that they'll share it with everyone they know.

This reminds me: when I was 18  I decided to start a video production company. I thought I could make money making wedding videos in the summer, and could pursue creative projects in the winter.

My parents thought I was a little crazy; maybe I should just keep the job I had at the hotel?

But I had a friend named Rebecca who believed in me. Rebecca was a bit older than me, in her 20's, and had friends who were getting married. She started telling everyone about me, and my service. She vouched for me, and said I would do a great job. Every time she introduced me to someone she would say: "Justin has just started a video production company."

This is how Rebecca ended up getting me my first paying gig: she had two friends that were planning a wedding, who signed up for a wedding video. I didn't have a car, so she drove me to the rehearsal. Her enthusiasm gave me the momentum and confidence I needed. After that first gig I was able to go out and get new customers on my own, but Rebecca continued to be my cheerleader. Once, I even forgot my video camera at home while on-site at a shoot; she happily picked it up and brought it to me.

The truth is, I don't think I would have made it very far without that first believer.

Sometimes you're not looking for your first customer, you're looking for your first booster: a passionate believer who will promote you to everyone they meet and cheer you on when you're feeling down. If you encounter someone like this, and they're actually convincing people to buy, count yourself lucky! Thank them: let them know you appreciate their help.

Derek Sivers has a great video on this topic.

This post is part of this week’s Startup Edition to answer the question: How did you get your first customer?

Published on June 11th, 2013
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