As a service professional or freelancer, you know that marketing is key to building your business. It raises the awareness of what you are offering to prospective clients. It helps to attract the right business. And if done well, it leads to more selling opportunities. Meaning you can eat something other than Ramen noodles.
There is always a tendency to jump to all of the bright shiny self-promotional strategies. Facebook ads. Instagram. A few tweets. And most of the time, none of it works.
The more important secret to successful marketing is to build your foundation first. After all, you need something to stand on. I won’t sugar coat it. Your foundation is where a lot of hard work takes place. It’s the part that most service professionals and freelancers skip over or ignore completely. So what is it?
Your foundation includes:
- Identifying your perfect clients. The ones you actually enjoy working with rather than the ones that force you underneath your desk in the fetal position when they call.
- Identifying a target market (which, by the way, is not “everyone”).
- Figuring out why people in your target market actually buy.
- Developing a personal brand that is cool, compelling, and absolutely authentic.
- Knowing how to talk about what you do without sounding confusing, bland, or boring.
This is the first in a series of posts about – you guessed it – creating a foundation. It all starts with figuring out who you want to work with. Think about when you are out with your best friend. You are full of positive energy. Smiling and laughing a lot. It’s fun.
If you work with clients that you enjoy, you will do your very best work. The service, product or result you provide will wow your client. You will be so excited and energized that you will look forward to getting up – rather than hitting the snooze alarm. That is the formula for profiting joyfully. Guess what, those thrilled clients will be your best referral source.
When I started my business, I had two criteria for clients. First, they still had to be breathing. Second, they had to have money in their bank account. Working with many of them was exhausting and stressful. They weren’t “bad.” It simply wasn’t a good fit. And the work I did was far from excellent.
How do you figure out your perfect client? Start by asking some simple questions about the people in your life:
- Who do you like to hang out with?
- What do they like to do?
- What sort of conversations do you have?
- What are their personal values?
- Are they into learning new things, and if so, how?
- When you are around the people you like to hang out with, how does your energy feel?
- Are they creative and outgoing? Or, more analytical and introverted? Or something in between?
If you currently have clients, ask yourself:
- Who do you love meeting, collaborating, working with?
- Which clients create that positive energy you have when with one of your best friends.
- Who do you enjoy working with so much you would do it for free.
You will do your very best work and begin profiting joyfully when you work with the perfect clients for you. After all, being your own “boss” means you get to choose who you work with and how. If you are just starting out, you will probably be a bit more flexible in terms of who you work with. That’s ok. I get it. I did it myself since I don’t like Ramen noodles very much.
Having a clear picture of the perfect client will help you attract more of them. And keep you conscious of working extra hard for those that are not ideal clients. What you do should be fun and energizing. So get started. Write down your list of perfect client characteristics.