I’ve owned my business for a year and a half now, and I can honestly say it’s been both the most difficult and one of the most fulfilling things I’ve done in my life. I imagine entrepreneurship to be similar to motherhood (don’t come at me, I’m not actually a mom!) But similar in the context of creating something and watching it grow into something significant. I can genuinely say I have the best clients, and I love being a part of their businesses. When I started this business, one of my core values centered around working with brands that I truly believed in and resonated with. In this post, I will share with you the mindset I have around getting my ideal client plus some bonus tactical methods.
It’s okay to be picky.
I am notoriously picky about who I work with. I enjoy working with people who see the value of digital marketing for their business. I’ve turned down potential clients because I felt they were a bad fit, and our values did not align. This doesn’t make them a bad person or their way of doing things right or wrong. There are so many digital marketers out there (I’m not going to pretend like there isn’t!), and what makes someone a great fit for your business comes down to more than skill.
Storytime, I was sent a referral early on in my business. I spoke with them for about an hour, and throughout the entire conversation, she told me I was too expensive. She said she could find someone else for a much lower price, and I had no business charging what I did. Right then and there, I respectfully declined moving forward. I offered to help find her someone who may be a better fit. She was not wrong – she could find someone cheaper, but I do not negotiate my rates.
This brings me to my next point.
Money shouldn’t be your primary motivator.
Money is not the main reason I do what I do. If that’s your primary motivator, you’re probably in the wrong industry. I genuinely enjoy working with clients and helping them use digital marketing as a tool for business growth!
I mentioned above how I do not negotiate my rates with prospective clients. Many business owners set their rates out of emotions vs. facts. Here is how to determine if you are doing that:
If you are bringing on a new client and propose them a rate of $500/month because you need $500 to pay X amount in bills, that is considered emotionally setting your rate.
If you’re bringing on a new client and proposing them a rate of $500 because of the time, effort, skill, etc., that will go into the work you are doing for them, this is considered setting your rates based on FACTS.
Neither is right or wrong, but getting sucked into the emotions of setting rates, can cause some issues, including:
- not fully understanding the value of the services you offer
- providing inconsistent pricing to your clients
- saying yes to situations that are a poor fit
Take your time.
During my first three months in business, I only had two clients. Five months in, I landed my third client. During this time, I brought in less than $1000/month and was charging everything to credit cards. I was hopeful and knew this was temporary, and boy was I right! Fast forward a year and a half later, I am fully booked with clients (and I’ve paid off the credit cards.)
I understand it is a luxury to take your time to grow your business, and not everyone can take it slow as I did. However, it’s also important to recognize that getting yourself into a situation with the wrong client could ultimately ruin your business.
How to land your ideal client
Now that we’ve talked about the mindset I apply when attracting new clients, let’s discuss real tactical methods for attracting your ideal client.
- Know Where to Look- I only find clients two ways – Facebook and Referrals. I am not big on using job boards like Upwork for one reason. Typically clients are looking for the cheapest option. I enjoy using Facebook to find clients because they usually have a good understanding of the importance of digital marketing.
- Have a Great Portfolio- When I first started freelancing everyone preached about how important it was to have a website. I didn’t have a website for the first nine months of my business and solely relied on a PDF portfolio to land new clients. When pitching to clients, I still point them to my PDF portfolio even though I have a fully developed website.
- Custom Pricing – This is slightly controversial as most everyone will tell you to have pricing and packages available at the ready! I have not found this to be so, and all of my clients have preferred custom packages. When pitching clients, I typically tell them I have services starting at $XXX for your needs, but we can discuss what you’re looking for more in-depth. This way they can tell right away if you’re in their price range.
- Know who your ideal client is- It may seem obvious that when trying to land your ideal client it’s important to know who they are! But you may not have thought through those specific yet! Check out this workflow to help you understand EXACTLY who your ideal client is.
With a little bit of thought and research, your marketing will become much more targeted and meaningful! Good luck!
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