Frustrated with everyone telling you that you need to find your ideal client?
You’re not alone. Thousands of new entrepreneurs struggle with discovering their ideal client. They fill out every ideal client questionnaires, but still having no clue who they want to help.
But, at the end of the day, you want to bring in enough clients to finally reach your income goal. But that will never happen until you can figure out how to attract those clients to you!
The truth is, your entire business will be strategically designed around your dream client. Your services, branding, copy, website, freebies – all will be centered around the people you want to work with.
So how can you find these dream clients without having to fill out a bunch of ideal client worksheets or questionnaires? In this post, I’m going to share with you my quick and easy way that you can discover your ideal client (even if you have no idea who you want to work with!).
What is an ideal client?
Before we talk about how to discover your ideal client, let’s talk real quick about what an ideal client is and why it’s important.
“An Ideal Client is someone who finds the perfect solution to their problems or needs in the services or products that your company provides. The Ideal Client will be loyal to your company, frequently uses or buys your products or services, and is likely to recommend you to their friends and colleagues.”FL Solutions http://www.fjsolutions.com/blog/ideal-client/
I love this definition by FL Solutions because it hits all the highlights of who an ideal client is and why they are important to your business:
- Someone who needs what you’re offering
- Someone who will buy what you’re offering
- Someone who will recommend what you’re offering
If there’s a perfect example of a fan girl, this is it! Your ideal client is the person who needs what you’re offering (no trying to convince them of what you’re selling!).
Your ideal client is in a position to buy what you’re offering (no trying to convince them of what you’re charging!)
And your ideal client is the person who brags on you to all their friends and helps you get more business! (wahoo for referrals!)
I mean, who doesn’t want that, right?
Too often new entrepreneurs waste tons of time trying to convince people that don’t need or can’t afford their services to work with them. And they end up frustrated and tempted to give up on their businesses.
True fact: 90% of online businesses fail in the first 120 days… DAYS!!!
If you don’t want to end up among that ugly statistic, then you’ve got to lay a solid foundation for your business… and that starts with selling the right thing to the right people at the right time!
Now that we’ve established that ideal clients are the bomb, let’s talk about how to find yours!
The secret to defining your ideal client
So how do you find these magical ideal clients anyway? Here’s my foolproof 5 step process:
- Decide what you want to offer
- Determine what types of people need that service
- Discover ideal client characteristics
- Figure out who can afford your service
- Learn where all those answers intersect
Step 1: Decide what you want to offer
The secret to finding your ideal client the easy way is deciding what you’re going to offer first. So often people will tell you to start with someone you want to work with, and then base your services around their needs.
But then you end up offering services you don’t enjoy doing… or worse yet, dread doing! And life is way too short to spend it with a business you can’t stand!
So let’s start off the right way, and find your ideal client based on what you want to offer.
Step 2: Determine what types of people need that service
Who needs what you want to offer? Seems rather straightforward, right? But it’s so easy to assume that we know who needs what we have to offer, without considering all the possibilities.
Let’s take Lisa as an example. Lisa wants to start an online business helping people grow their social media presence. Who can she help?
- Online business owners
- Brick and mortar stores
The list goes on and on. So don’t limit yourself in this step. Consider who might need the service that you want to offer. And then go ask 5 people for who they think might need that service.
Step 3: Discover ideal client characteristics
I used the word discover here on purpose, because there is going to be some trial and error here. Sometimes you have to work with a personality type before you realize it isn’t a good fit for your business.
So think back over your previous clients, and think about who you’ve loved working with. What did they have in common? What were their personalities like? What made your experience so great?
And then think about what clients have been hard for you to work with. Ask yourself those same questions.
But if you’re brand new to your business and haven’t had any clients yet, think back to people that you’ve worked with in previous jobs. Ask yourself those same questions about people you’ve loved worked with, and those who have been a struggle for you to work with.
Do you see a pattern? By this point you should be able to pick up on specific characteristics or personality types that you enjoy working with.
Step 4: Figure out who can afford your services
Hard truth: not everyone who you like working with will be able to afford to work with you!
If you want to be able to charge what you’re worth without having to hard sell people on you value, then choose an ideal client who can actually afford your rates!
So look back over your list of people who need your services from step 2 and determine who will be easier to sell to.
If we go back to Lisa’s list in our example, she can cross off public schools, small nonprofits, and beginner online business owners. Most of these will not have the budget to hire her.
But that doesn’t mean that she couldn’t all of the people in those categories should be crossed off. She could find a private college prep school or large nonprofit who have the budget to hire a social media manager.
See how this helps us narrow down our list while also giving us more specific ideas on ideal clients?
Step 5: Learn where all those answers intersect
Take a look at your answers and find the common intersecting point. For example, Lisa might have the following on her list:
- Private college preps
- Large nonprofits
- Brick and mortar stores who have been in business for at least 5 years
- Online entrepreneurs who have been in business for at least 2 years and are consisitently earning 10k a month
- People who are trust another person’s expertise and aren’t control freaks
- People who love to learn and try new things
From this list, you can start to find where everything intersects. And then you’re going to have to jump and pick one!
That’s what no one tells you, right?
But being in business always has an element of risk in it.
You’ve done your research. You’ve spent time thinking about what you want to offer, who needs and can afford that service, and what kind of characteristics they have.
But for most of us, there isn’t going to be a blinking light over just one ideal client. You might still have a few possibilities on your list.
So you have 2 options:
- Have more than one ideal client (gasp!)
- Make an educated guess
Is it the end of the world to have more than one ideal client? Nope. But it can make your marketing harder because you’ll need to talk to and attract more than one type of person.
The other option is scary, I know! But being a business owner means making the hard decisions. And this is definitely a put on your big girl pants kind of a moment!
Discovering your ideal client is a big part of starting an online business. But it doesn’t have to be difficult!
Do some research and find your answers to the 5 questions above. You’ll be able to confidently make a decision about who you want to work with!
But as a word to the wise, way too many potential business owners stall out at this point. Don’t waste months and months trying to decide who you want to work with.
You have something great to offer the world- but you can’t do that when you’re lost in the valley of indecision!
I know it seems crazy that discovering your ideal client could be as easy as answering 5 questions, but it works!
If you need some help, sign up for a free 30 minute “ask me anything” call and I’ll help walk you through the process.