A great business practice is to figure out your ideal business client. Figuring out your ideal business client helps you to weed out the bad ones when they come looking for the services that you provide. When doing this you need to ask yourself a few questions. I’m going to go over what those questions are and why they are important to figure out your ideal client.
Are they willing to pay your minimum rate or higher?
If they client is low balling you or isn’t willing to pay your minimum rate, why would you want to go with them? You need to be sure that you have the time available for when clients that do what to pay your minimum rate or higher come knocking on your door. This doesn’t mean you can’t give friends and family discounts, but keep it to 10-15% only and don’t go over that. Be sure that you say in the contract with your friends and family that they are getting a package valued at X about of dollars for Y% off and the total is Z. Major companies only give friends and family discounts for a limited time and a limited percent off, so you could offer some like that to your friends and family. If you know when the slow time of year is for you, you can do your discount services during that time. Friends and family usually wait unless they want it urgently and then they will be more likely to pay you for your full service.
Also, going with a client that doesn’t want to pay the minimum, they are usually going to keep asking for more and more down the road and not expect to be paying extra for those additional services, that is something you need to look out for as well.
Do you actually want to do the project? Are you excited about it?
If you aren’t at least partly looking forward to the project, it’s going to be harder and harder to get the work done on time because it’s not exciting. Now starting out at the beginning, you may have to take some jobs that aren’t too exciting. But as your calendar starts filling up with client projects, you’ll want to weed out the ones that don’t get you excited to do the work. This also starts to narrow your portfolio down to projects that you were excited about and as your online portfolio starts filling up with these exciting projects and you remove the old boring projects you will get more clients that will come to you for more exciting projects. And by exciting, I just mean a project that you’re looking forward to taking on.
Do you actually want to work with them?
If your client gives you the willies, or you just feel uncomfortable with them, don’t work with them. If they seem to be a high maintenance client that you don’t think you can handle, don’t work with them. You want to be sure that you’re comfortable with who you are working with. Every time they call or email, you won’t like it at all because you’re just not comfortable with it. It would be bad for you and bad for them. So be sure that you’re comfortable with who you may be working with for several weeks or months, depending on the size of the project. They also may come back to you for more work in the future and that conversation could be even more awkward if you say no.
Do they know what they want from you?
If your client doesn’t know what they want from you, send them away with some sort of questionnaire or a document you’ve set up that can help them figure out what they want from you. Once they’ve had a chance to brainstorm and figure out mostly what they want from you have them come back for a real evaluation. This way they aren’t wasting your time and their money figuring out what they want. This also shows that you care more about the client and their needs than about the money. Some people would charge to help a client figure out what they want and that can take a long time. This is a greater testimony about how you love the clients and they will definitely remember you and spread the word about your business around.
So figuring out the ideal client is really a case by case basis, but once you have an idea of what you don’t want, it will definitely be easier to figure out who you do want to work with. Answering these questions isn’t the end all be all for figuring out your ideal client. You can also make up a persona like you would with your ideal reader. You can create someone that is the perfect client for you on paper, but you want to be sure to always ask the questions above when choosing clients.
Do you have a checklist that your clients need to meet? Do you know who your ideal client is?
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