Knowing and defining your ideal client is key to the success of your business because it touches every piece of your business. However, it can be hard to define your niche or ideal client. Trust me, I can relate because it took me years to define mine for my design studio. It was a blend of fear, indecision & a scarcity mentality that kept me from truly owning and focusing in on my target market. That meant it kept me from making any serious money. However, I know I’m not the only one out there who’s struggled or is still struggling to define their ideal client which is why I wanted to cover the top 3 common roadblocks when defining your ideal client and how to overcome them.
Roadblock #1: the ‘I serve everyone’ mentality
This is by far the most common roadblock. Even the thought of defining your ideal client gets you confused because what you offer can ‘serve everyone’ so the idea of narrowing your market is just insane. Truth is, although you may have the potential to serve everyone, it’s unlikely that you will do so and it’s unlikely that your message will translate to everyone. The point about defining an ideal client isn’t about limiting your potential sales, it’s about targeting those who will see the most benefit and are willing and ready to make a purchase.
Instead of holding on to the belief that everyone is your target market, write down the top 3 people who would most benefit from your business. Then write down 3 types of people who are the least likely to use or buy your service or product. That way you have a starting off point and can start seeing the light.
A few examples of reasons why people may not buy:
1. They live in a different location & you’re a local business. Are they in your area or are you able to reach them somehow?
2. You sell to consumers (everyday people) not businesses or corporations. Are you a b2b or b2c?
3. Budget & pricing variability (luxury goods vs affordable goods). Will they be able to afford your prices/rates?
Roadblock #2: The ‘I’m leaving someone out’ mentality
Let’s be real, no one likes feeling left out. And it also sucks feeling like you may be leaving money on the table by not trying to reach everyone or only market to a certain group. The reality is that people outside of your target market or ideal client can & will still be able to reach you.
Remember this: You aren’t putting restrictions on who can buy or hire you by defining an ideal client. You are simply trying to define the people most in need of your services/products.
Roadblock #3: The ‘I can’t choose just 1’ mentality
The third most common roadblock is the idea of not being able to choose just one client. It’s similar to the first roadblock, but still different. This one plays more on indecision & fear.
You may say: What if I change my mind? What if I pick the wrong ideal client? What if someone else who doesn’t fit my ideal client profile wants to work with me? What if there are a few different clients I’d like to work with?
Let me quickly go through and answer these questions for you so you can move on from them.
Q. What if I change my mind?
A. That’s totally fine! You are allowed to change your mind. And you can simply pivot, not start over.
Q. What if I pick the wrong ideal client?
A. It happens! At least you’ll know who isn’t right and who you feel more aligned with and will be better off & more confident when you pivot.
Q. What if someone else who doesn’t fit my ideal client profile wants to work with me?
A. Hell yeah, that’s awesome! If you feel excited about working with them, go for it! It’s your business, you make your own rules. And if you don’t want to included them in your featured portfolio or testimonials, you don’t have to.
Q. What if there are a few different clients I’d like to work with?
A. Try to find the common thread or common denominator between them in order to articulate an ideal client. That could be based on a specific industry, style, budget, tools/software, lifestyle, etc. If that’s not possible, make it clear who you are talking to when it comes to your messaging. A great example is uber, they target drivers and those looking for a ride.
Q. What if someone aside from my ideal client can benefit?
A. They will find you! Trust that. Even if you are
Look, defining your ideal client is no easy feat, trust me, I’ve been there! But it is important that you do so and work on identifying your roadblocks and then overcoming them. These were the top 3 common roadblocks when defining your ideal client and how you can overcome them! Good luck, you got this!
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