Sometimes you wish your business had a BIG sign that said, “We reserve the right to refuse service!” That’s because you can’t and don’t want to serve everyone.
When I suggest that your business doesn’t want to work with everyone, I sometimes get pushback from entrepranuers who are just starting off in business. They NEED to work with everyone, so they think, because they are in the process of building a portfolio and getting their business off the ground.
That’s fine. Actually if you’re a freelancer, until you’re really established, life is feast or famine.
I’m not saying you can’t take a smaller project that isn’t ideal for you. I’m suggesting that you focus on the ideal clients and if you want to venture away from that ideal, you’re more than welcome to because it’s your business.
When you know who your ideal client is, you will know the projects you’ll love to take. You’ll have a pretty good idea of who you’ll work well with. And when you work well with people, projects take less time and you earn more money.
So, what does your ideal client look like?
How would you describe your ideal client?
Let’s get very detailed…
- How old are they?
- Are they male or female?
- What is their marital status?
- Do they have children?
- What is their household income?
- What TV shows do they like to watch?
- What social networks are they on?
You may be thinking, why do I need to know all those details?
Actually, each of those details tell you something about your ideal client.
Take for example whether they have children or not. At the surface level, you might think it’s irrelevant. But if they have children, you can infer a few things like they don’t have a lot of free time and disposable income.
I work with a lot of professional women and female entraprenuers in my web development business. And for those who have children, I know they have a harder time meeting in person and like to accomplish a lot on the phone and often work after regular business hours. They are also very frugal people and don’t want to waste time or money. They also know how to get things done. These are all character traits that I appreciate.
If these traits don’t fit the way you like to work, you probably shouldn’t make this your ideal client.
Are you starting to see why you want to get really detailed as you choose your ideal client?
Let me pull back the curtain in my business a little and share with you my ideal client.
My Ideal Client:
Patricia D. Hickson, 38, married working full time in Anaheim CA. but looking to start an online business to make extra income. She knows what she wants to do, but needs some coaching to get started. Bored and unsatisfied with life and career. She has 2 kids. She has an iPhone and is relatively tech savvy. She makes 40,000/year but has bigger desires. She wants to send her kids to private school and college, she dreams of traveling to the places she sees on the food network. But she’s afraid of losing her stable good job and not being able to provide for her kids. She enjoys a good murder crime drama and of course her home and cooking shows. No time for magazines but she catches her favorite blogs. Facebook is how she keeps up with her friends and family.
When I work with people who are close to my ideal client, we get along well. We communicate effectively. They appreciate my work and time. And they like the design work that I do. In short, they are a joy to work with.
Similarly, the further away from this ideal client I work with, the less I enjoy the projects.
10 Minute Project:
Ok, so it’s your turn. Take a few minutes to think about who you want your ideal client to be. Answer the questions listed above. Perhaps you know what clients you have worked with in the past and why you enjoyed working with them. Turn that into your ideal client.
I’d love to hear from you. Have you had the same experience working with your ideal clients? Send me your ideal client and what you do. firstname.lastname@example.org
Here’s a fun website that will actually generate a fake persona for you once you get the details down.
Before you go…
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