I started my own practice back in November 2006 near Alton in Hampshire. I work from home, bought myself a laptop and started working for people I know, relatives etc. Since then I have had practically zero practice growth and I have no idea where I am going wrong.
I have been advertising in a local paper for a year (used by all the local tradesmen to advertise so presumed this was a good bet), I have a website listed on google (which until recently I had my rates on but have since taken them off), I have run various adverts in local newspapers (The Hampshire Chronicle, The Alton Herald and The Surrey Advertiser), and I have taken out a rather expensive ad on 'youfindus' which has been running since Feb last year for my area. In addition I have recently taken out a free listing on Yell.com and the Thomson Directory and I have recently purchased a mailing list and sent out targetted sales letters (having researched the businesses on the list). Last Feb I even tried walking into local businesses in Alton and handing out my newsletters, but that got such a negative response I didn't do it again.
Despite all of this I have only taken on 2 business clients (one of which a friend of a friend) and 2 private clients in the past year. I have not had a single phone call from a prospective client in months. I am currently working three days a week (I'll be giving this job up in the new year), but I have advertised my mobile number on everything and I have an answer phone at home on the landline. I know trying to work and build a practice is a bad idea, but I didn't think it would be this bad. Please could someone tell me where I am going wrong? I am running out of ideas and feeling completely defeated.