How to Join the Best LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn group

The one place you can find everyone – recruiters, influencers, potential networking connections and prospective clients – is within LinkedIn Groups.  Known for their strong focus, Groups provide a unique way for you to become visible, known and trusted – without members even being connections.

You can:

  • Give and get feedback
  • Ask questions
  • Answer questions
  • Present offers
  • Share resources
  • Invite people to share your content and visit your site

And best of all – monitor the response you get to all of the above.

You can also share links freely with Groups – but don’t use this as an excuse to spam.  Always make sure that any links you share are highly relevant, timely and interesting, with a clear purpose for sharing.

LinkedIn has done away with the ability to create polls for Groups, but you can now perform some actions that weren’t approved before:  Namely…

  • Post job discussions and promotions
  • Flag or delete posts according to Discussion Types

(If in doubt as to what you can and can’t do, check out Changes to Groups Format in the Help section.)

Used regularly, consistently and wisely – with a clear goal in mind – LinkedIn’s Groups feature remains one of the best arenas in which to conduct business research.

When you join the right Group, you can use it to check out:


  • Areas of the common Group interest that its members are having trouble with
  • Gaps in available resources and products
  • Resources or products currently available
  • Complaints about competitors, or existing products or services
  • Complaints about lack of products or services currently available
  • Brainstorming sessions and ideas
  • Community culture
  • Industry or niche influencers
  • Competitors

So how do you know which Groups to join?

Get into the habit of scrolling down LinkedIn’s right-hand, vertical sidebar.  That’s where you’ll find suggestions tailored to your Profile – including “Groups You May Like”.

social media 2

In addition…

1.     Make a commitment to spend time daily monitoring or interacting with your Group or Groups.

2.     Decide how many Groups to join.

3.     Find Groups that are active, with ongoing discussions and dialogues.

4.     Avoid Groups that are too big (over 1,000 members) or too small.

Taking these simple steps ensures you’ll create maximum visibility and interaction – which in turn will impact your searchability when others research you.  Successful Group participation also creates trust and shows you without any need for third-party apps or stats who to follow – and learn from.

50 Ways to Get New Clients


1. Speak at local events. Look for groups, meetups and gatherings of people who’re in or related to your industry. Speak at these events to position yourself as an expert and gain more exposure.

Nicole Munoz Speaking
2. Speak at seminars and conventions. Offer to speak at seminars and conventions. If you have a recognizable brand name, most organizers would be thrilled to have the opportunity.
 3. Sponsor an event. If you’re a solo service provider, sponsor a small event in your area. If you’re a large service provider, sponsor a bigger event.
4. Get covered by the press. Come up with some unique angle and pitch it to reporters. Use tools like Help a Reporter Out (HARO) to find reporters looking to do stories. 
5. Take out a small newspaper ad. This works great if you provide services to local clients.
6. Network and follow up. Go to minglers, mixers and professional events and meet people in your target market.

7. Give free advice. Do it both online and offline. Demonstrate your credibility first before trying to sell.
8. Answer questions on LinkedIn. This helps build your credibility online, which often translates into real world contacts.

9.Build a professional website. Having a great looking website helps create trust with people who’re considering hiring you.
10. Ask for referrals. Talk to people you know, including but not limited to past clients and ask for referrals.

11. Run a mailing list. Develop a relationship with others in your field over time by mailing useful content regularly.
12. Run a Q&A mailing list, blog or website. Become known as the person to go to for questions in a particular arena.
13. Copy your competitors. How are your competitors getting clients? Do what they do. In fact, see if you can do what they do, only better.
14. Join a Business Networking International (BNI) network. BNI can be a great source of leads for offline service providers.
15. Get on Yelp. Try to be the most positively reviewed provider in your area. Yelp profiles often rank very well in search engines.
16. Put your USP (unique selling proposition) on your business card. People who look at your card should instantly understand your value offering and what sets you apart.
17. Get to know university professors. Professors are fantastic connectors and know people in all kinds of different fields. They often know very powerful people. Reconnect with old professors and see if they can help connect you with anyone who could help your business.

18. Network with lawyers and accountants. Every business needs a lawyer and an accountant. If your clients are businesses, networking with lawyers and accountants can be a potential gold mine.
19. Mail your legacy clients. Most people only ask for referrals or sales from current clients or recent clients. But your legacy clients, meaning clients that dropped off a long time ago, could still harbour a lot of good will towards you. See if you can tap into that for more business or for more referrals.

cold-calling20. Cold call. Many Fortune 100 companies were built initially by some guy in his bedroom, cold calling. Humana is one prime example, as was Microsoft. Bill Gates just cold called both the programmer of DOS and the buyer of DOS. Cold calling might seem scary, but it does work.

21. Offer to write guest posts. Write fantastic articles for other people’s sites and send the traffic back to yours with a link in the article.
22. Offer to write for small time publications and trade newsletters. If you have experience, reputation or background in the industry, they’ll often be happy to have you.
23. Start a blog. Help people in your target market by providing great content.

24. Be active on social media. Regularly post great content to your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ profiles. People who follow you will come to see you as more and more of an expert.
25. Call in to a radio show. Give your name and either ask a well informed question or make a comment that really helps listeners.
26. Ask past clients to give you credit on their website. For instance, if you did some graphics for a client, ask them to put that the graphics were by you on the bottom of their site. If you were their coach, ask them to talk about their experience on their blog.
27. Join your local chamber of commerce. You’ll often meet valuable contacts that can either become clients or people you can work business deals with.
28. Advertise on popular message boards. Look for message boards in your industry where your target market gathers and advertise there.
29. Submit proposals on oDesk and eLance. Look for jobs other people are posting up that fit your specialty.
30. Offer to work for a freelance shop. For example, if you’re a freelance writer, look for a freelance writing agency and offer to be one of their writers.
31. Practice your elevator pitch. Have a strong 30 second answer for the “what do you do” question. Sometimes your best clients come from chance meetings.
32. Wear a T-Shirt to locations where potential customers are. For example, go to a trade show with your brand’s logo on your shirt.

33. Befriend connectors. Develop connections with Twitter users, bloggers, Facebook page owners and other individuals who have a lot of connections. See if you can help them, so sometime later they might help you.

34. Buy Google AdWords. Bid on keywords related to your industry. Focus on “buying keywords,” words that someone who’s ready to buy might type in.
35. Buy banner ads on related sites. Find websites that your target market frequents and buy banner ads on those sites.

36. Write a free eBook and give it away. This helps you build credibility. Put as much great content as you can in your free eBook.
37. Produce a big virtual event with other people in your industry. For example, if you’re in the social media business, get 10 social media consultants together to do a big online workshop about social media. Use the leads to market your services.
38. Do a publicity stunt. Google publicity stunt examples and see if you can do something similar for your business.
39. Join competitions and win. If you’re a writer, look for writing contests. If you’re a designer, look for design contests. Consultants could look into speaking contests. Put a lot of time into your entry, as a winning placement could mean a lot of exposure.

40. Use Craigslist. Post in the services section and respond to posts in the “gigs” section.

41. Mail or email companies with free advice. If you’re a website conversion specialist, mail possible conversion improving advice to companies.
42. Yellow pages advertising. Buy an ad in the appropriate section in the yellow pages.
43. Co-work with other freelancers. Working with other people is a great way to network and meet both potential clients and people who could refer you to clients.
44. Host your own meetup. Go to and create a meetup on your topic. Having your own meetup is a fantastic way to get more exposure, meet potential clients and build your network.
45. Publish a book. Write a book about your subject and get it published. Even if you never sell over a thousand copies, being a published author will still massively boost your credibility. Nobody will ever ask you how many copies you’ve sold.
46. Get your work featured on a compilation site. For example, if you build websites, enter a website you built into a website that compiles examples of great website designs.

47. Create a referral reward system. Give clients and other referrers rewards for sending you new clients. Rewards can be financial or non-financial.

48. Play with your prices. Sometimes when you raise your prices, you actually get more clients. Working with a few high priced clients might be a better model than a few lower priced ones. Alternatively, you might be priced to high and might need to lower your price to attract more clients.
49. Contact your former employer. Your former employer can be a fantastic source of leads. They could even be your first client. 
50. Put flyers up in relevant local boards. For example, post a flyer on your chamber of commerce’s board, or post flyers on boards in co-working spaces. 

Establishing Your Rates Guide for Business Consultants and Freelancers


One of the most common questions people ask about starting a new service based business is “how much should I charge?” In many cases, it can be a difficult question to answer.

If you charge too much, you won’t get any clients, especially if clients can go to other service providers providing similar services for a lot less.

On the other hand, charge too little and you won’t make enough. Even if you get clients, you’ll have to work so hard to make money that you’ll probably burn out.

So how do you figure out the right balance? How do you charge as much as you possibly can, without pricing yourself out of the market? Let’s take a look.

Step 1: Decide if You’re a Commodity or Value Service

evaluateThere are two ways to sell services: Commodity sales or value sales.

A commodity service is one where you’re competing within an established market. For example, if you’re doing voiceovers on, you’re competing in a commodity market. Since you’re competing with other voiceover people who’re charging $X per minute, you can’t charge a lot more than the same amount. What you’re selling is a commodity, even though it’s a service.

On the other hand, you have value sales. Value sales aren’t sold based on where the market is at. Instead, it’s sold based on what the service is worth to the client. For example, when a Fortune 500 company decides to re-name their company after a merger, they’ll often go and hire an outside naming firm to help come up with a name.

That firm isn’t going to be hired based on what other firms charge. There’s no bidding market. The client isn’t going to go out and look for the cheapest naming firm possible. No, they look for the best. And what the firm charges is based on what the value is worth to the client. That’s why just coming up with a name could be worth several million dollars.

Even the same type of service provider can often reside in both commodity and value markets. For example, graphic designers. In the commodity markets, you have designers on sites like eLance and oDesk that pretty much have to outbid one another to get jobs. On the other hand, you have high end designers that charge $20,000+ per job because they build value in their brands.

So, before anything else, you need to ask yourself: Do you want to offer your services in an existing service market? Or do you want to try and sell yourself outside of that market and build value in your own service?

The former is much easier. You can make sales in hours or days, because you’re plugging into existing markets. The latter is much harder, but you can price yourself a lot higher once you’re successful.

Step 2: Check Market Rates

Now it’s time to figure out what other people are charging. This will help inform what you charge, no matter how you decide to sell your services.

Use sites like eLance and oDesk to figure out what other online service providers are charging. Use Craigslist to see if you can find out what other people are charging for similar services. Look on internet forums in your industry and look at discussions of what others charge.

See if you can determine what the median is. Figure out what most people expect to pay. Then also figure out what the maximum amount charged seems to be. In other words, try to figure out the standard in the market, as well as the upper end of what people are willing to pay.

Step 3: Evaluable Supply and Demand

This is especially important if you have a specialty. For example, if you’re a finance writer who specializes in the energy industry, your services could be worth a lot to the right person. You’re a lot more valuable than just a freelance writer, because you have the background and experience to do a very specialized kind of work.

Look around and see if there are other people like you on the market. Are there people providing the kind of services you provide, with your specialty? If so, how much are they charging?

Then look at the demand for your services. How many potential clients are there looking for services like what you offer?

The less supply and the more demand, the more you can charge.

Step 4: Determine Your Hourly Goal

how-muchThis decision isn’t based on the market. It’s based on you.

How much do you want to make? For example, let’s say you’re replacing a current job at $50,000 a year with your service based practice. You’re prepared to work 40 hours a week, which comes out to 2080 hours a year.

If you divide the $50,000 by 2080 hours, you get $24 an hour. This is the amount of money you need to make in your business in order to replace your current income.

Figure out how much you need to make. This could inform how you market your services and how you price your services. If you find that your potential earnings are a lot lower than how much you want to earn, it could even help you decide whether or not to work in the industry at all.

Step 5: Translate Your Hourly to Billable Hours

The amount you need to earn on a per hour basis is not the same as what you charge your client. Remember: Running a business is a lot more than just client work. You need to manage a website. You need to market. You need to respond to emails. You need to respond to phone calls.

Figure out what percentage of time you’re spending on actual client work and what percentage of time you spent on unpaid business related tasks. Then figure out how much you need to earn from your paid work to compensate for your unpaid work.

If you don’t know how much time you’ll be spending on client work yet, assume it’s half. If you need to earn $25 an hour in total, then you need to bill your clients at least $50 an hour to make your earnings targets.

Step 6: Factor in Costs

Are there costs to your business? For example, if your goal is to be a professional public speaker, you have to factor the costs of flying to your destination as well as accommodation in your prices. If you’re a piano tuning specialist, you need to factor the cost of renting (or owning) vans to move pianos into your costs.

Don’t just look at how much you need to earn. Look also at how much you need to spend. Those costs need to be factored into your rates.

Step 7: Choosing a Pricing Model

Knowing your target hourly rate doesn’t mean you have to charge by the hour. Often time’s your target hourly earning rate is just for your own information. The best way to charge for your services is to use the pricing model that’s most expected in your industry.

Nobody hires a copywriter per hour. Instead, they pay per piece for the copy, plus perhaps a percentage of earnings.

On the other hand, nobody pays a personal assistant on a per-job basis. Personal assistants are almost always per hour.

Content writers on the other hand are often paid either on a per-job or per-word basis. Voiceover artists are paid on a per-minute or per-job basis.

There are a lot of different ways to charge for your services. Try to figure out what the norms are in your industry. Use your target hourly rate to inform how much you charge, but express your rates in a pricing model that makes sense.


Step 8: Start Low, Then Raise Your Rates

When you’re just starting out, you should price your services relatively low. Look for the median of the market and either price yourself right at the median, or 10% to 20% below the median.

This will help you get your first paying clients. This will help you fatten up your portfolio as well as get you your first batch of positive feedback from real clients.

This will help boost your credibility for future clients. As your practice starts to fill up, start raising your rates. Anytime you hit 80% capacity, raise your rates.


To sum it up, start by determining whether you want to price yourself in a commodity market or to build value in your own brand. Next, research your market to see what others are charging and to find out how much supply and demand there is for your specialty. Figure out how much you need to earn, what your costs are and what pricing model makes sense. Finally, start low and gradually raise your rates as you build more credibility and gain more experience.