Finding New Clients with Mr. Ben Burns

Having been a Futur fan for the last couple of years I thought it was about time to implement some of the advice those guys give away for free, especially when trying to get mlone off the ground.

So step in Mr. Ben Burns.

Ben uploaded a great little video (posted below) that challenged Futur fans to contact 30 potential new clients within a week in order to make our business and lives a little better.

Who do I contact?

Ben came up with two options for us to contact, and those were a Design Agency and Service Providers.

The Agency

We had to reach out to an agency and hopefully pick up some odd jobs that the company may have waiting but are either too busy to tackle right away or they could be done fairly easily by a freelance designer. It also puts me out there, and lets these design studios know that we are here and willing to collab with them if possible.

Service providers

Service providers would be people that practice a variety of different disciplines and could work with our own skills in collaboration and hopefully at some point in the future help each other out if needed. For example, getting in touch with a photographer who down the line might need some graphic or web design help and vice versa.

I decided to add a third category to the list and that was going to be local businesses. This would work ideally for me as the full idea behind mlone is to help the area of Motherwell with graphic and web design.

This would mean that I would contact ten different people in those three areas which would then add up to my ten contacts for the week.

Ben was generous enough to provide a link to an email template for each individual category - which you can find here.

I decided to slightly change this to better suit the area in which I would be working. This is a small Scottish town after all.

First 10 emails

The first group I decided to target were the local businesses, and to do this I just went onto Google and created a simple search of various businesses in the area and tracked most of them down via Google Maps to find their website and email addresses.

I also tried to find companies that interested me personally and that I could see myself working with down the line. For example, I train Jiu Jitsu on a regular basis and would love to do some design work for a Jiu Jitsu, or any Martial Arts school for that matter, in the area.

I then created the email using the examples Ben has given us, but in my own personalised way. Below is an example of the email I sent.

mlone email example

This went out as a cold email to the first ten companies. I’ve never really done this before so had no idea what results to expect. What were those results I hear you ask?


Now, normally this would discourage people and might even cause them to give up, however, Ben warned us of this in the video – even saying that we might not hear back from any of the 30 contacts at ll. So I actually wasn’t shcoked at this, and I think some of these businesses didn’t do much online work as alot of their websites were outdated and didn’t look like their was much activity on them at all.

Stage 2 – Instagram

For the next ten contacts I decided to try some social media and see what responses I could get from that – time for Instagraming (is that aword?).

As Instagram is a visual social channel I decided this would be the perfect place to contact various design agencies and just drop them a simple message and see what responses I may get.

Here is the example of that email

mlone instagram email example

With these ten messages I got two very nice responses from established design agencies. One of them actually invited me to have a coffee and a tour of their office whenever I was back in London. I thought this was a really good result and I understand these agencies are very busy as they are mostly small teams, so for somebody to go out oftheir way to message me back and actually invite me to their agency for a coffee was a thoughtful message to receive. Again, I wasn’t expecting many, if any, replies to these messages so I got rather optimistic.

mlone instagram email response


Stage 3 – Email Design

For the final 10 emails I changed strategy again and decided to go for a more visual email campaign and advertise my work within this email image. Here it is below

mlone email campaign design
mlone email campaign design text
mlone email campaign design work
mlone email campaign design work

I thought this might be a better way to get these companies to see some of my work instantly, even if they don’t click through to my website or Behance page.

These again were another ten business from around my area, but so far no responses back as I type this.

Now, out of these thirty emails I received two messages back - which came from the design agencies. This might be off putting to some people, and a bit disheartening maybe, but to me it gave me a little boost to get out there and contact more people. I might have to look at the email message again and maybe even slightly change the layout or message to better streamline who I message. I would love to hear back and see what you guys think of the messages I’m sending out. Perhaps I’m missing something or could it be more personal or friendly?

I encourage designers to give this a little try; it doesn’ttake much and could generate some great results for you if it works.

Below is the follow up video from Mr. Ben Burns where he goes into a little more detail and gives you an example on how to construct your email. I’m going to continue doing these messages and will update on anyresults I receive. I would love to know if you guys get any results from this challenge.

Cheers for reading!

Follow Ben on Social Media here:
Instagram mrbenburns
Twitter @mrbenburns_