Finding your ideal client isn’t as simple as finding awesome human beings who want to pay you.
Sorry to drop that bad-news bomb. But listen - it really isn’t bad news. It’s the greatest news! Tracking down your ideal client means good things for you and your business. It also means great things for your clients. And it means the best things for your sanity and sense of direction.
When you define your ideal client, your marketing strategy will target a specific group of people who need what you offer.
You won’t waste time working with people who don’t understand and who undervalue your gift to the world - because what you do really is a gift, friend. Knowing your audience requires and exemplifies empathy, and empathy helps you serve a specific set of hopes, fears, and struggles. Working with the right people - your right people - will energize you!
“You’re not trying to appeal to everyone, you’re trying to appeal to the right people." - Ramit Sethi
Your ideal clients are those whose problems you can help solve. They know and celebrate your value.
So how do you find them?
Start by asking yourself some questions:
  1. What is the essence of what you do - your 'raison d'être’?
  2. What is your ideal project?
  3. Who do you want to serve? Who are the past clients you enjoyed working with most? Why?
  4. What qualities did they have? What are their fears, frustrations, dreams, hopes?
This focus will help to flesh out who you love working with on projects that energize you. You’ll discover which clients understand and need what you offer. And when you find each other, working together will be a no-brainer.
Marie Forleo made a list of her ideal client attributes:
  1. They love my honesty and understand my feedback comes from a place of love, compassion and a commitment to serve.
  2. They want to have fun, play and joke around.
  3. They are generous with praise and knowledge and care for others.
  4. They pay on time and with pleasure.
  5. They are open, honest and treat me like a collaborative partner, not a guru.
  6. They proactively and without reservation recommend me to others.
  7. They’re attentive to details like being on time and ending on time.
  8. They are grateful and super appreciative to work with me.
  9. They are massive-consistent action-takers.
  10. They have an excellent sense of humour.
What does your list look like? Make it (right now!) and use it to filter who you target.
Now that you know who your ideal clients are, focus on attracting them and establish yourself as their 'go-to' person.
Do some research to find out:
  • How old they are
  • Where they work
  • What they struggle with
  • What frustrates them
  • What excites them
  • What they’re afraid of
  • What goals they have
  • What they try to avoid
  • What they google
Get specific about your target clients. It might sound and feel weird, but it it’s important. You’ll start to picture and relate to them. You’ll describe how you can add value to their life and work using the same language they use to talk about their struggles. You’ll give them “that’s me!" tingles when you’re clear about who you can help.
So go! Get specific about what you offer and who you can help. It’ll be a game-changer.
Shannon Fisher is a writer and content strategist from Vancouver, BC.