“You need to change your website so that it appeals to everyone.” That’s what a friend once told me when I was asking for suggestions about what was good and bad about my business. My retort was “Why?” She just shook her head like I was some clueless child.
The thing she didn’t understand is that I don’t want to work with everyone. In fact, I don’t want to provide copywriting, web content writing or press release servcies to just anybody. I only want to work with the people who get me. Even if it means less money. And for some stupid reason all the worst clients are the ones with all the money ready to toss it at you like confetti at the end of American Idol. Still, I don’t care. You shouldn’t either.
Clients you don’t jive with are a pain in the ass
You are an entrepreneur, but if you were an employee looking for a job would you work for a company you didn’t like? Or a place you didn’t fit in? I mean given a choice, of course. No you wouldn’t, unless you absolutely had to work someplace sucky. However, every day entrepreneurs accept clients they would never work for in the corporate world. They accept these hard-to-work with clients because they think they have no other choice, because they need the money. That’s b.s. because there are a million kagillion potential clients on the internet. That’s a true number. I checked.
Instead you go for the low hanging fruit. These are sometimes clients you may not want. The problem with working with these clients is that they won’t understand your business philosophy. For instance a company who places high values on being kind to the environment and being nice to animals by not eating them is just going to be different than a tech company. What sometimes happens though is that tech company sees your spiffy site and thinks it’s trendy. The tech company wants trendy. They see your environmentally friendly stance and they think “Well hey, I care about the environment too. I like animals. This eco-friendly company sounds great.” Then they hire you.
Here’s where things get tricky. You like to take things easy. You believe in a work/life balance. You sit around in your bikini on your patio while working on copywriting projects for clients. OK that’s me, but you probably sit around in cordoroys and flip flops and work in a cafe completing projects because you are the enviro guy. The tech client on the other hand is married to his Blackberry. In fact, he actually sleeps with it. He’s always connected. In fact, at some point you’ll have insomnia and check your email at 3 a.m. and notice he has just sent you an email asking for progress on the project he gave you earlier that day and he’ll be upset that you aren’t up at 3 a.m. emailing him a response. Further, he won’t understand when you try to explain to him that you don’t work that way.
Of course, it could be the opposite. Maybe you are the tech guy and you are tempted to hire that laid back enviro. Yeah, it could get frustrating.
There will always be another client
You know how when you break up with someone all your friends tell you there will be someone else, only, you don’t believe it and you think “There will be no one else,” but in the end there always is? That’s how it is with clients.
To elminate getting into the situation in the first place make sure your company philosophy is accurately reflected in your site and product design. Screw trying to attract everyone. It doesn’t mean more money. It means more headaches. If your philosophy shines through your brand the people you want to work with will magnetically attract to you.
Define the perfect client
Do this exercise. Imagine your perfect client. How are they dressed? What environment are they in? How do they run their day? Is it fast-paced and driven or is it laid back and slower paced? What problems does this client face on a regular day? What solutions do they want? What do they do in their spare time? Define this client in extreme detail and you will know your client. Anyone who isn’t that client shouldn’t be in your client roster. Move on and find another.
Get involved in like-minded causes
The clients you want to work with probably congregate someplace. Discover where. Tap into social sites online that cater to your interests and engage. You don’t have to promote your business but just be social. Create relationships in those circles and word will get around about your business.
Tell people what type of clients you want
Consider creating a work philosophy or mission statement and include it on every contract you send to clients. If you only check email twice a day be clear about that upfront. If you don’t work weekends make that known. In this age of constant connect people–and I mean clients–expect you to be available at their beck and call. Maybe you are OK with that or maybe you prefer that. Either way by making that clear up front you give a potential client (headache) a way to back out or at the very least they know where you stand on the working relationship.
The key to attracting clients you want is to get rid of the ones you don’t want. That will free you up to do an exceptional job for the clients you like and in turn attract more of them.