When you’re just starting out as an entrepreneur, it’s easy to be desperate for income and take on just any client, or become convinced that there are no better ones out there. So you make do with random clients who come your way, and before you know it, your entire clientele is wrong for you.
This is one of the quickest ways to run your business into the ground. Choosing the right clients is the way to flourish.
Here are simple steps to help you get from where you are- struggling to grow your business and attract the right clients, to where you want to be- in a position to decide who you want to work with and how much you want to make.
1. Build Your Competence
This is the most important thing you can do. Don’t just be good at what you do; be absolutely fantastic at it. When you build competence, you boost confidence. Without confidence, you cannot call the shots when it comes to choosing the right clients who will pay well. Instead you’ll be desperate for whatever crumbs are thrown your way. When you are competent, your name will be mentioned among people who appreciate and can pay for quality. If you need to get more training, mentorship, or a certification, do so. King Solomon said, “Observe people who are good at their work— skilled workers are always in demand and admired; they don’t take a backseat to anyone!”
2. Know Your Product
What exactly are you offering? You must be able to define it, and you must believe in its value. A simple and effective way to do this is to state the challenge, and then the solution you’re offering. As an editor, I often tell potential clients, “Typos and grammatical errors can happen to anybody, but readers judge you harshly for those mistakes anyway. It’s not fair, but that’s life. Don’t let your work be ‘really nice, except for the typos’. You need an editor and I’m at your service.”
3. Know Who Needs You
Your business cannot serve everybody. Ask yourself; is the problem that you’re solving something that is VERY important to this person/organisation? If not, they’re unlikely to pay what you’re actually worth, and before you know it your finances are suffering while you’re overextending yourself trying to prove your worth. Focus your marketing strategy on people who need you.
4. Practice Your Pitch
You must know how to “sell yourself” at any given time. Learning to answer the question “what do you do?” properly will make networking easier, open doors for you, and attract the right clients who really need what you’re offering. Don’t just drop your job title or designation.
For one thing, there is no guarantee that your client will understand your job title. What they will understand, however, is how you fit into their lives. So for instance, when offering my ghostwriting services, instead of saying, “I’m a ghost writer” when asked what I do, my business benefits more from my saying, “I write for people who have great ideas but no time or writing skills. I help bring the articles and books they dream of to life without my name being mentioned; they get ALL the credit while I stay behind the scenes.”
5. Be consistently YOU
Don’t let your standards drop, and never do any work that doesn’t have the stamp of your values and ethics. Remember that the worst thing you can do is try to be a copy. Find what makes you unique among your competitors, embrace it, and consistently give your clients YOU.
Remember me when you’re smiling to the bank!