I’ve learned the hard way to stay focused on my ideal client.
The ramifications of taking on clients where the only fit is their ability to pay me have hit me hard emotionally and financially. It’s one of the reasons I lovingly nudge my clients to get crystal clear about their audience. I know the sooner they invest attention in building relationships with their ideal client, the faster they will grow a profitable practice.
A few weeks ago I had to apply the, “everybody is not my client rule,” and turn down someone who was really interested in working with me and had no objection to the price of my services. Why did I say no? She was ambitious and definitely had passion, but she was unwilling to do the work required to build a sustainable profitable business. Every time I asked questions that required her to make a decision, I got a long list of ideas and excuses. Like so many struggling solopreneurs and practitioners, she couldn’t give me a clear answer to three simple but critical questions:
- Who is her target audience?
- What data did she use to determine her rates?
- What marketing strategies had been the most successful in helping generate VIPs?
Clearly, she needed help. Yes, I have expertise, tools, and systems that could help her. And yes, she could afford to pay me. But two of the things I value were missing from the list: a willingness to be open to new ideas and looking for opportunities instead of excuses. Based on our initial conversation, all signs were pointing to a coaching relationship that would have been frustrating and unproductive for both of us.