And it's an appealing confidence-booster too!
When I first started my business in 2001, I had absolutely no idea who I considered to be my ideal client. Being in business for myself was, after all, completely new to me, and the virtual assistance industry wasn’t yet in place, so I didn’t have anyone to advise me on how to land clients at all, let alone ideal clients. Who I preferred to work with wasn’t really even a consideration. I just knew I needed an income! And I was willing to take on almost anyone as a client.
As time went on, however, a much clearer picture of what my ideal client looked like began to come into focus. And even though I had a slow start in actually landing those preferred professionals, I began to explore ways that would put me in the same circles as them so that I could learn what they wanted and, even more importantly, determine how I could fulfill their specific needs through my business.
I knew I wanted to someday work with authors, and I began to wonder if it was possible for a Virtual Assistant to design a set of services that would appeal to these creatives. The idea made complete sense to me! I had, after all, written and self-published my first book a few years earlier, and I remember wishing I could just focus on writing and not have to bother with the other details that came with my project. It occurred to me that other authors might feel the same.
So I did my research and discovered training that would allow me to offer a unique set of services that would be helpful to business owners writing books that established them as leaders in their fields. These professionals, I learned, were also often workshop facilitators, seminar presenters, keynote speakers, et cetera. They made their living with their words, and as a Virtual Assistant with both a strong Executive Assistant background and firsthand–albeit basic at that time–understanding of the publishing industry, there were ways I could support them in their work.
So authors and speakers became my ideal clients. Determining that and researching how I could be useful to them completely changed my business going forward as I began to align myself not only with individual authors, but also with small publishing companies that needed services like mine as they brought on more and more clients of their own.
Whether you offer general administrative services or have niched down to a very specific set of services, you should ask yourself the question: who is my ideal client? at some point so that you have a better sense of how to direct your marketing efforts with a goal to landing that client. You are setting yourself up for failure if you don’t determine that. You are losing precious time if you attempt to reach out to anyone and everyone.
When you are clear on who you prefer to serve, your messaging becomes concise, consistent, and appealing. Prospective clients will be drawn to you because you are speaking a business language they understand, and they will feel more comfortable investing their hard-earned money into hiring you to help them in their business in a way that helps them grow it.
One of the exercises I take my mentees through is having them create an avatar of who that ideal client is for them. Some determine that they prefer to work with women, in some cases only with moms. Some prefer men, while others have no preference either way. Some want to work with startups, others want to work with more established businesses. An industry-specific client base is preferred by some (i.e. fashion, fitness, technology, pet care, mental health, education), while the idea of clients from a specific culture or community appeals to others. You get the point–that when you know who your ideal client is, you are empowered to communicate more meaningfully with more confidence, and that comes across in your discovery call and follow-up interactions with business owners anxious to hire someone who can take ownership of the tasks that prevent them from focusing on growing the business. That is client attraction at its organic best!
Let me know your thoughts.