I confess...I LOVE working through this exercise with someone for the first time. When asking "who are your customers" and the answer is usually "whoever will by my products/services". In a previous post "why selling to everyone is a huge mistake", I explained why having this thought process can be disastrous for your website messaging (your copy/words).
For this real-life exercise, I'm going to take one of my own Ideal Customers and we're going to pretend you're her. We'll call you Carla (cause I don't know what your name is).
Because you're a first time Solopreneur, you're trying to figure out the best way to connect with your readers so they get to know you better and so you can learn more about your own readers. Because you're a Solopreneur, you don't want to take on more clients than you can handle.
We'll talk briefly if you already have existing clients and then we'll focus on you starting with Zero clients. The profile exercise will work whether you have clients or not.
When Your Only One Person with Clients
Can you imagine sitting in your home office, looking at your schedule and seeing it completely full. But as you skim down the page, you can feel your body slumping down and your shoulders feeling heavy. There isn't one person on that list you enjoy working with.
What's your personal opinion here?
- A: have a fully booked schedule every day filled with people you hate working with
- B: have a 70% booked schedule every day filled with people you love working with
Personally, I would even go as low as a 50% booked schedule just to work with people I love. It's not always about money. Your well-being has to come into the picture. If you hate working with certain people, that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach. Compare that to the one person you love to work with. They light you up because they know, like and trust you to help them solve a problem.
When Your Only One Person without Clients
We've all been here...reading posts about how to do this and that with your clients, but what if you're just starting out. This is where we're at. Figuring out how to work with the best possible clients so you don't get overwhelmed and are fulfilled with the work you do.
We talked about a scissor maker in the previous post, so let's pretend that you are an art coach and you teach artists how to teach their students how to battle their self confidence, crush the inner critic and to explore their creativity. So it's B2B between you and the artists and B2C between the artists and their students.
Anyone can come to you to hire you, but unless you focus your messaging on WHO you want to work with you could likely get the wrong people coming to you. When you're starting out without any clients, it could be tempting to take on anyone that will pay you, but in a very short time, working with the wrong people will not only exhaust you, you'll likely start to dislike what you're doing. So why not tell people up front who you want to work with and it can be done in a very subtle way.
Niching Down Doesn't Mean you Won't Sell Less
This is the argument I get all the time. "But I don't want to turn away business."
The coaching world is very broad and with the number of coaches out there, how can you compete with them all? Will you coach anyone? how would you describe your services if you sell to anyone or everyone? You can't be an expert in everything and you can't please everyone, but holy smokes you sure can please your perfect customer if your messaging is clear and concise because you'll be speaking to the right person.
With an Ideal Customer Profile, you'll have a better understanding of
- what blog posts, videos or podcasts they're interested in
- what type of products or services to create
- what words to use in your copy
- what images to use on your website and social media
Simple Questions to Ask When Defining Your Ideal Customer Profile
Here are some very simple questions that you can ask yourself to get started. This will start to build out your ideal customer profile (ICP) which is also known as an ideal customer avatar, dream customer or ideal client persona.
- is your ICP male or female?
- give her a name
- what's their age?
- what's their hair colour?
- what's their eye colour?
- what's important to them (core values)?
- annual income?
- where do they live?
- what type of car do they drive?
- what are they afraid of?
I'm going to stop right here. You may be asking why do these questions matter when coming up with an ideal customer profile?
Here is a sample ICP:
- Mid 50's
- Natural hair colour
- Brown eyes
- Truth, honesty and spending time on your mental well being is important to her
- Lives in the country in a ranch style house with some farm animals and a lovely pond with ducks and fish in the front of the house
- Drives an 4x4 SUV
- Worries about how to market her business to not only local artists, but artists in her province, also she's really nervous about becoming a Solopreneur so late in live, wondering if she'll make it. What if she runs out of money. What if she can't do it all.
Using just these few questions and working it into the content of your website in a subtle way, you'll not only attract the right people, but you will repel the wrong people. This will help you create any mission or vision statement for your website and even your brand biography for your home page. You'll picture your ICP sitting next to you every single time you create content, create a new product or even write your next social media post.
Example: When you're writing your next blog post, you won't talk about how the busy life in the city and crush your creativity because Carla lives in the country. You could talk about gathering inspiration from nature. Having your morning coffee outside, watching the ducks in the pond. You'll think of Carla when creating all your content, because this is how you'll connect with her. You'll create content that she's interested in such as "how to deal with with difficult art students" instead of "how to make a good cup of coffee".
Your ideal customer profile can be based on an imaginary person...the person you want to work with. If you have existing clients, it can be based on your favourite customer. Some people, base the profile on themselves. The important thing is to base the profile on your ideal customer. The one you love to work with.
You may be tempted to create many ideal customer profiles, but to get started, so your messaging is crystal clear on your website, stick with one for now or until you get a good feel on another profile you really love to work with. You could be the best coach in the world to Artists, but if your messaging isn't clear, you won't be attracting the right people to buy your services.
To help you figure out who you want to connect with, get a free copy of the Ideal Customer Profile worksheets that I use with my clients and to create my own ICP.
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