Your Ideal Client is THE Key to
If you’re a women entrepreneur reading this magazine, chances are you aren’t in business because you need a new hobby. You probably aren’t so interested in learning how to make a couple hundred bucks on the side (you could make that kind of money on eBay). My hunch is that if you’ve found your way to Divine Living, what you truly desire is a profitable business model that allows you to live life on purpose and make real money doing what you love.
If this is true for you, then here’s where you start. Today I’m sharing with you how to establish one of the most important foundational pieces of any successful business: determining exactly who your ideal client is.
I’ve seen so many entrepreneurs stay stuck in struggle-mode because they haven’t done this yet. It’s tempting to jump right into making the glossy website, signing up for this and that webinar and learning all of the latest online marketing techniques…without knowing who you’re meant to serve. I’ve been there, and I learned the hard way that until you get it down, everything in your business will be difficult, if not impossible.
Why? Having a clear picture of who your ideal client is informs every single decision you make in your business. What should your brand look like? What kinds of programs should you create, and what should the price points be? What should you post on Facebook—and where on Facebook should you post? And how about that headline for your next solo mailer?
When you know your ideal client and how you can best serve them, the answers to all these questions arrive effortlessly. If you don’t, you’ll likely spin into overwhelm, because the options are too many and it’s not possible to be all things to all people.
When I first started in business, I thought that casting a wide net had to be the best strategy for catching a whole lot of fish. I was broke, struggling and in debt. Meanwhile multi-millionaires were telling me: “Focus on one person, one kind of ideal client.” But that sounded totally counterintuitive, so for a long time I resisted.
Initially, my big idea for my business (which I thought was for sure going get me on Oprah) was to help men and women become King and Queen of their lives. No joke. I was totally confident about it. When people asked me what I did at seminars, they’d receive my statement with a slight trace of bewilderment, like they had to think about it for a second, and nod their heads appeasingly.
It might have seemed crystal clear to me, but it was too broad, abstract and vague for most people to make sense of. What I’ve learned since, and this is a rule of thumb in marketing, is that unless a 10-year-old can immediately understand what you do, your ideal client isn’t going to get the message either—mine certainly weren’t.
Since I’d rather be happy than right, I started to listen to my coaches, and narrow it down. First, I dropped men being part of my ideal client list. I decided I was going to focus exclusively on helping women become the Queens of their lives.
Still, nobody was signing up.
So then I started to ask, well who am I? I thought, well I’m a woman entrepreneur, and I really like this group because they’re especially motivated to work on themselves. So I narrowed it down to helping women entrepreneurs become Queen of their finances, health and relationships, because who doesn’t want that?
Again, I thought it was brilliant. Again, I didn’t see the sales I was looking for. So I dropped the health piece. Doesn’t everyone want love and money? Apparently not, because I was still broke. It wasn’t until I narrowed down my target to women entrepreneurs and their finances that my business finally got off the ground. It may be a far cry from where I’m at today, but it was just specific enough to get started, and over the years I was able to refine and evolve it more and more. And each time I did, I got that much closer to living the life I truly desired.
As the saying goes, “You can’t say the wrong thing to the right person.” I may have been unavailable to learn from the experts and take the fast track—but it does not have to be that way for you. You have the opportunity right now to get clear on who that right person is and find out exactly what they’re struggling with. If you don’t, you’ll have to work 100 times harder to launch your business or take it to the next level. So let’s begin shall we? Below, I’ve laid out five steps to becoming super confident in what you do and how you do it by figuring out who you’re meant to serve.
For the majority of women I work with, they are their ideal client—especially if they’re building a personal brand. It’s not the case for everyone and it doesn’t have to be. But even if your business doesn’t have your face on it, there is likely something that you’ve been through, witnessed, experienced and overcome that is going to inform who you’re meant to serve and how. So I recommend you start with getting clear on your story, as it’s completely intertwined with your ideal client’s. Take a look at what you’re naturally good at, what skills you’ve honed over the years, and what your previous life experiences have taught you. What do other people compliment you on, or seek your advice about? Even if it doesn’t immediately make sense, the more you get to know yourself, the more it will start to click.
So many creative women like us have been taught that our passions, interests and gifts are just hobbies—as if they’re nothing to pay attention to and certainly nothing that can generate an income. Thankfully for our spirits, that couldn’t be further from the truth. When I first started my coaching business, I thought I had to be strictly about personal development and relegated my passions to the weekends. As it turns out, embracing my actual desires to travel the world and live a fabulous lifestyle made all the difference in the evolution of my brand and the growth of my business. I began to attract really cool women who also desired a jet set lifestyle and my ideal client became that much more specific. So give your desires and passions another chance. Allowing yourself to experience whatever lights you up will raise your vibration and lead you to create the business of your dreams.
Identifying the demographics, interests, habits and attitudes of your ideal client will create so much clarity around who they are, where to find them and how to communicate with them. Consider attributes such as age, gender, income level, education level, career status, marital status, location, etc. You should also think about their personality, values, point-of-view, opinions, lifestyle and buying trends. Some of these might be super specific, while others could be much more open or even irrelevant. For example in my business, age does not matter. The women who enter the Divine Living Academy have been anywhere from their 20s to their 70s. Figuring out what attributes are key to your client will help inform the branding, content and context of what you do and how you do it.
Now that you know who your ideal client is, determine what it is that you’re going to help them with. Ask yourself: What is the number one problem your ideal client is looking to solve right now? Or on the flip-side, what is their number one desire? Know that 80% of people are usually thinking about moving away from a pain point, while the other 20% orient themselves toward a goal or desire. Where you choose to put your focus comes back to what you’re really good at, what you care about and how you’d like to work with someone. Do you want to help solve problems, or help people achieve something? A good place to start is by looking at your own struggles from six months ago, three years ago, or longer. Your ideal client is likely dealing with the same challenges, and could use the guidance of someone who has already overcome them.
So now you have a complete story. You know who you are and what you desire, and you have a sense of who needs your services and why. But to make this information really powerful, it’s time to
validate it with a little market research. And what I mean by that is go talk to people! Post on Facebook, send emails and make calls—whatever it takes to find at least 10 people who fall into your client description (not friends and family, but those who might actually purchase from you), and ask them questions. What’s your biggest problem? Why is that a problem for you? What’s holding you back, what do you need help with? Does this sound appealing to you? Would you pay for this? This final process will likely lead to an AHA moment or two, giving you even more confidence that the people who need your services are out there—all you have to do now is find them.