The beauty with a website business is that, at least theoretically, you should be able to have a customer anywhere. Note the ‘should’.

In my first year of being full time, all but one of my clients was in Downeast Maine. (And the non-local one I met at a local party through a local friend). I like being in Maine so this was fine with me. But the whole point of an online business is to reach out further than you would in terms of geography. Ideally, I think my lack of remote work made me a bit worried that my skills wouldn’t translate beyond my geographic area.

In addition to making a video on the main page of my site (which a few new clients have told me made them a lot less nervous about contacting me) and otherwise proactively seeking out work, I now have multiple remote accounts, and my first ever client I’ve never met.

I finally set up an Elance profile to be even more proactive about seeking out work.

My friend Dorrie had written me out a bunch of links she had heard on a business radio show a few months ago. The paper has been on my desk since; I had enough work at the time but thought if I was going to reach beyond coastal Maine, this might be the way to do it.

I finally set up an Elance profile a couple weeks ago, if only to have the chance to bid on projects that sounded interesting. I’ve bid on a small one and, since I haven’t heard back yet, I’m guessing I didn’t get it. Oh well, you win some, you lose some!

I’ve been awarded the bid for my hometown Chamber’s new website.

I put in a bid for the Chamber of Commerce’s website in my hometown of Fort Kent Maine. Months went by (and I checked in a few times) but when I hadn’t heard a few months later, I decided to start taking steps to ensure I’d have enough work through the winter. I set up the Elance profile, beefed up my LinkedIn account, contacted anyone who might have leads for me, and bid on parts of larger projects with friends/colleagues.

I just got the call yesterday afternoon that I got the bid for the Chamber. Getting to help my hometown market itself and getting my business funded through the winter? Win win. Also it just goes to show you that when you just let go, sometimes the thing you were holding on to just shows back up.

I got a call from a professional organizer in Texas, and got my first ever client I’ve never met.

I’ve done some work with Kim, a web/graphic designer (a friend of a friend, someone I’ve only talked to once on the phone and exchanged a few emails with). Then one of her clients contacted me about possible work this past week. Now, I have a client in Texas, and hopefully will have a few more more if I do well.

I began helping manage a friend’s website… in the UK.

My friend Phil (who I actually met through this blog) decided a few months ago to buy a website or two as an investment. I semi-helped him look at stuff on, which in case you didn’t know is the Ebay of websites. He ended up buying two costume selling websites (or as they say in the UK, fancy dress) that we’re in the process of doing some SEO on, adding products to, etc. As the site manager, I’m getting some good experience in managing an ecommerce store (and not just marketing it). For my efforts, I get a cut of the profits, which motivates me to do more on the sites and also helps my friend out.

Once we figure out international shipping, etc. I’ll link it on here but for now, it’s fun to tweak/improve a website that’s already profitable. Starting from zero can be exhausting so this is a nice, different experience for me.

In other words, while I am still doing lots in Maine, I know that my business can only grow if I can look not only at my area but beyond it in terms of possibilities. This allows me to try different kinds of work, make new contacts, and maybe eventually the opportunity to travel.

Here’s to proving to myself (and others who may want to hire me) that I can not only do work remotely but do it well, and beginning to reap the benefits of having a web-based business.

So out of curiosity: Who is your furthest away and/or most random work contact or client, and how did you meet them?

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