How to Turn Your Former Employer Into a Client

Question: What are your tips for turning your former employer into a client?

Make the Connection

"In order to turn your former employer into a client, you need to make the connection from what you did at your day job to what your company offers. If they find value in what you offer and have a need for it, you will get them as a client."


Leave on Good Terms

"Before your business becomes your full-time job, make sure that your parting with your employer is amicable. Show gratitude for the opportunities you were given, and express an interest in working together in the future. Plant the seed for future collaboration. After all, companies are always more willing to hire someone they know, and the same holds true when the company needs an outside service."

- Steph Auteri | Career Coach, Writer, and Editor, Word Nerd Pro

Cut the Cord

"Sometimes it can be good not to keep your former employer as a client. Sure, it adds some security to the process of going out on your own, but you also lose a bit of the fire that would otherwise be lit under you, and you won't gain any new connections or resources by adding them to your client list. Instead, spend your time meeting new people and expanding your horizons."


Tease a Solution

"As a former employee, you're privy to the ins and outs of the organization. Identify one of the company's primary pain points and put together a proposal identifying the problem, and your steps to solving it. They might do nothing, they might steal your idea, but chances are they'll give you a shot demonstrate you're ability to solve it for them."


Give Them a Deal

"Your former employer will probably be skeptical of what you're up to but perhaps if you offered them a deal they couldn't refuse, or even free service to show your value for them, then you can close them after you've proven you're a worthy service provider."

- Danny Wong | Co-Founder, Advisor and Lead Evangelist, Blank Label
Design the Perfect Opportunity for Them

"Approach your former employer with a specific opportunity you think is perfect for them, and explain to them how it matches their company's objectives. Do not treat them like any other first-time client, and instead come to them with something more creative and focused that you know they will love from the experience you have working there."

- Stephanie Kaplan | Co-Founder, CEO and Editor-in-Chief, Her Campus Media

Make Them Need You

"Make yourself indispensable. Do more things better than anyone else does and your employer will not know what to do without you. Make sure they know the crucial role that you play in their company and when you think they have no other option, begin to look at how you can become a contractor for the company. Find out the policy, has anyone else done it? What needs to happen?"


Negotiate

"Negotiation is an important skill as an entrepreneur and your former client is as good of a guinea pig as any. Negotiate everything -- the package, the terms, the timelines, etc. The more flexible you are, the higher the probability of your former employer giving you a shot."


Make Sure You're Not Breaking Company Policy

"Companies' policies vary; Before you pursue a former employer as a client, make sure that you aren't bound by a waiting period or non-compete clause. If you're all clear, then make sure to complete all of the formal paperwork, as you would with any other client. Just because you're familiar with a company doesn't mean you should be informal. "

- Elizabeth Saunders | Founder & CEO, Real Life E®

Beat Their Current Provider With a Better Deal

"If you still have a good relationship with your employer simply offer to beat their current providers deal. They already know you and hopefully trust you so they should have no problem working with you as a contractor. "

- Lucas Sommer | Founder CEO, Audimated

Work Inside Your Employer's Comfort Zone

"The employer-to-client transition can be tough because not all companies are comfortable with outsourcing certain parts of their business -- which can be why they hired an employee in the first place. It's important to take your ex-employer's comfort zone into consideration and make sure that you're supporting them through the transition."

- Thursday Bram | Content Consultant, Hyper Modern Consulting

The Young Entrepreneur Council (Y.E.C.)The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the country’s most promising young entrepreneurs.  The YEC promotes entrepreneurship as a solution to youth unemployment and underemployment and provides its members with access to tools, mentorship, and resources that support each stage of a business’s development and growth.

About YEC

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

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