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Perhaps the most prolific way to find your ideal client might simply be to provide services that “ease your customers’ pain.”
Being a freelancer has definite perks. You have the freedom to choose your hours. You can call in sick without feeling guilty. And of course, you’re in control of who you work with and the projects you work on. However, at the beginning and certainly throughout your freelance career you’ll likely take projects that are with clients you’d rather pass on. Many freelancers struggle to find their ideal clients.
Beverley was a health and fitness coach for women who helped her clients lose weight. She knew many women needed her services and even wanted them. But she had trouble attracting clients. When she did find clients, they often weren’t a good fit and this left her feeling defeated.
A mentor advised Beverley to create a client-attracting message. This is a specific message that’s designed to appeal to your audience. If done correctly, it helps your potential customers become happy clients who enjoy working with you and happily pay your premium rates.
Taking her mentor’s advice, Beverley created a client-attracting message. She called it “break free from emotional eating.” This message resonated with her audience, and she began to get the types of clients she’d always wanted to work with. Even better, her new clients started referring her to even more clients. As a result, her income continued to steadily increase without requiring her to do extra marketing tasks.
Who Is Your Ideal Client?'I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.' - Maya AngelouClick To Tweet
Before you can go on a scavenger hunt for your ideal client, you want to identify what makes them ideal.
Is it a topic, project type, or subject matter that you find ideal? Do you prefer certain communication styles? Are you looking for someone who is detail-oriented or someone who lets you manage the details? Do you want to work together as a team or would you rather work alone?
Many people view their ideal client as someone who provides them with a constant stream of well-paying work. That’s certainly a bonus. However, if you don’t enjoy working with that client or on their projects, the money isn’t going to be as fun to earn. They won’t be an ideal client.
Take some notes or jot down an idea of who your ideal client is. Daydream for a minute and imagine who they are. This is your ideal client profile. Keep this information where you can review it often.
Finding Your Ideal Client
Whether your freelance business is exactly where you want it or you’re looking to grow, it pays to spend some time filling your Rolodex with great clients.
After all, the more clients you have, the more money you’ll make. So, the next step is to explore where your ideal client may hang out. Do they participate in industry forums? Are they in your local networking group? Find out where they hang out and make yourself a part of their world.
For example, if your ideal client is a small business blogger interested in parenting and child-related topics, then you may network on small business blogging sites or parenting sites. Check out the people who are hanging out there too. Connect with them.
Introduce yourself. Perhaps you already know who your ideal client is. Maybe you love the products a company offers, you like their personality, and would love to work with them. Then by all means hold out your virtual hand and introduce yourself.
Let them know you admire their work. Tell them what you do and offer your services. Consider offering a project on spec. That way they get to know you and the amazing freelance work you do, and there’s no risk to them.
Ask for an introduction. If you know people who know people, tell them who your ideal client is and ask for referrals and introductions.
If there’s one thing everyone should have been taught in school, it is that hard work is only part of the success equation. Who you know is also important, and it makes the trip to success street much faster and easier.
Why You Need a Client-Attracting Message“Whatever you do, do it well. Do it so well that when people see you do it, they will want to come back and see you do it again, and they will want to bring others and show them how well you do what you do.” - Walt DisneyClick To Tweet
If you haven’t yet, you’ll want to design your own client-attracting message. Here are a few reasons to consider this…
Have Clients Line Up at Your Door
Does this feel familiar? You check your email and messages to find that no potential clients are reaching out to you. You don’t have any new discovery calls booked and you just can’t seem to find any traction in your coaching business. You’re constantly trying to chase clients with different marketing techniques like Facebook Ads or Instagram Stories. You’re tired and worn out, but you can’t seem to stop the hamster wheel of marketing that you’re on.
With a client-attracting message, you don’t have to spend all of your time marketing or chasing the latest advertiser that promises you high-conversion rates. Instead, you get to focus on creating content that truly helps your audience and that you can feel good about sharing. While this might sound like a dream, it’s entirely possible. With the right message shared with the right audience, you can stop chasing your latest client and simply wait for them to show up!
Additionally, depending on the size of your business and your desired business goals, you may benefit from an affiliate program. Paying others a commission to promote your business takes a bit of planning; however, it can really be worth it. You may end up building an empire.
Attract Clients You Love
Another advantage of having a client-attracting message is that you can begin to attract clients you love. Many coaches have an ideal client that they love serving and nurturing. But often they take on any client who will come their way. The result is that you end up working with people who aren’t a good fit. You’re unhappy, the client is unhappy, and no real change is happening. Now you’re frustrated and doubting yourself. This isn’t why you decided to become a coach.
But with the right message, you can tweak it to appeal to your ideal audience. For example, when Beverley first created her message about breaking free from emotional eating, she wasn’t entirely sure who it was for.
Within a few weeks, she noticed that she loved working with postpartum moms best of all. She quickly adjusted the language in her message to appeal to this audience. Now she was not only sharing a message that she was deeply passionate about, but she was also helping transform the lives of clients she truly cared for.
It’s important to understand that who you love serving will impact how and where you deliver your client-attracting message. If you’re a business coach, you’ll use certain words in your message if your audience is millennial women who want to be freelance service providers. But if you decide your audience is six-figure male executives who are looking to find a new job, then the tone and wording you use in your message will be entirely different.
Embrace Premium Pricing
When you have a client-attracting message, you can position yourself as a premium coach in your industry. This means that you’ll be able to charge premium rates and find clients who will happily pay it. That’s because a good client-attracting message addresses a pain point for your audience. The pain point you’ve selected should be so uncomfortable that your potential clients are eager for a solution.
Keep in mind that what’s considered premium pricing will differ depending on your audience. You might find it easier to charge more if your audience is primarily made of childless married women with dual incomes than if your audience is broke single moms. The first group may not even blink at the $497 coaching program, but the second might only be willing to pay $97 for access to you. This doesn’t mean that one audience is better or worse than the other. It simply means that their definition of a “premium” service might be very different.
Build Programs that Delight Your Clients“You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.” - Zig ZiglarClick To Tweet
Maybe you already have a coaching program or two under your belt. You’ve offered the program before but found it wasn’t what your clients wanted or needed. Now you’re stuck and wondering how to move forward.
With a client-attracting message, it will become obvious what program your clients need. Then you can design it to support them as they go forward and reach their goals with your guidance.
For example, if you have a client-attracting message about breaking free from emotional eating, then your program might naturally be centered around self-care. You’ll help your audience find freedom by giving them new tools (self-care) to stop their addiction to food.
You might even create a client-attracting message and have your clients begin telling you exactly what they need or want. For example, you might help new entrepreneurs with their marketing and have clients ask you for a program that teaches them how to create a marketing strategy and outsource these tasks so they’re free to focus on what matters. Be sure to pay attention when potential clients start talking about what they need or wish they had. You might just spot your next program idea!
Get More Referrals
If you’re looking for a surefire way to build your client base with great clients, ask your current best clients to refer others. You can even go so far as to offer a referral bonus in the form of cash or a discount on services.
Imagine this: you’re having trouble with the breakers in your house tripping. You frequently lose power when you plug more than one device into a socket. You’re frustrated and not sure what to do. Would you rather your friend refer you to a general electrician or an electrician who specializes in residential homes built in the 1800s just like yours is?
If you’re like most people, you want the second electrician. Why you want this person is obvious: you’d like the services of a specialist.
Just like with electrical work, your potential clients want someone who specializes in a specific area. It’s not enough to be a health and weight loss coach. You want to be known for doing one thing and doing it well. Maybe you help post-partum moms get their bodies back or you teach new diabetics how to lose weight while still eating their favorite comfort foods.
It’s easy to get referrals when people know what you stand for and deliver to your clients. If you become popular enough in your industry, you can even build a waiting list of potential new clients. This means that every time you’re ready to work with someone new, you can simply put the word out to your waiting list and see who shows up.
How to Find More Great Clients
One of the best ways to find great clients is to put yourself out there. Networking online and offline is a fantastic way to meet wonderful people and future customers. Online, take a look at industry chat rooms and forums. Don’t forget the mainstream social networking sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter too.
Offline, check out your local small business association, chamber of commerce or other industry associations.
Start A Blog
Launching a blog is a fantastic way to share your experience, knowledge, and skills with prospective clients. You can combine networking with your blogging endeavors and post links to your new blog posts on your networking sites.
Blogging will help drive potential customers to your services. Search engine results and external links will both help you build your client base.
Create Juicy Freebies
Okay, so you’re blogging and networking plus you have an affiliate team or a referral program. What else can you do? You can offer free information about your industry. Think about your target audience and the problems they have.
If you are a freelance graphic designer, you might create a report about the five reasons why you need a quality logo. If you’re a freelance writer, you might offer a report on how to hire a freelance writer.
Free information drives traffic to your website and services. It also demonstrates your credibility as an expert in your industry. Create free reports and publish articles, and you can even create free worksheets, online courses, and newsletters.
There are clients out there just waiting for you to present yourself. Use your skills, knowledge, and resources to attract your ideal customer. Give them every reason to hire you for their next project and every project thereafter.
Finding your ideal client isn’t difficult. Describe them in a paragraph or two; create an ideal client profile. Then seek them out online and off. Ask for introductions and referrals. Connect with them and don’t be shy. Your ideal client may be looking for an ideal freelancer – you!
A client-attracting message can be a game-changer for many coaches. But if you’ve never created one before then you might struggle with this task. The good news is I can help. I’ve created a short planner that walks you through the steps of designing your client-attracting message. Download it today!