Dirty… you totally thought I was going to say something different didn’t you? Minds out of the gutter people!
But OK, so mayhap I did exaggerate just an eensy weensy bit there.
Maybe you can’t keep a client enslaved and enamoured with your work for the entire duration of happily ever after… after all, ever after is a pretty long time.
But hey… you can damn sure try!
You can make up your mind to do your very best to try and be as consistent and kick a$$ as possible with every single task that you are given by said enamoured client. So you can say with complete and utmost sincerity “There ain’t no shame in my game!” whilst you give mediocrity the finger.
Hmn… Did I say that out loud? OK, maybe it’s just me that loves that cliché, sheesh.
Regardless, Lord knows new clients are hard to come by these days. What with the sudden and unbelievably exponential growth of freelancers peddling their skills to the market today, there must be at least three qualified choices for every single project that opens up.
Competition is stiff and the stakes are pretty damn high for most. For some of you, making this freelance gig work could literally be a make it or break it point for you. Which means all that stiff competition can often seem almost insurmountable.
Don’t go crying into your beer just yet though.
Luckily you’re smart and savvy enough to read posts like this, and even glean a nugget or two of valuable intel you can apply to your own business. So stiff competition doesn’t mean that you need to be left behind or trampled in the frenzy.
To the contrary, you can actually become a well-known and well-respected freelancer in your own right.
And you accomplish this feat by making sure that every single project you submit and each task you finish is filled with 110% of your talents and effort. Wait, make that 125%. We’re over-achievers remember?
And really, when it comes down to it your clients deserve nothing more and nothing less. So give ‘em the very best! (Alright, so I have a propensity for rhyming… you know you love it!)
Speaking of clients…
What’s Your Perfect Client Look Like?
You do know what sort of clients you are looking for and want to work with right?
Yikes, I can see that “I don’t really know” look written all over your bewildered little face.
Unfortunately that’s not acceptable. You simply CANNOT be a successful freelancer and not know what kind of client you want to work with. It’s like agreeing to teach a classroom full of students, but having no idea what subject you plan on teaching them… or something to that effect.
In other words… that’s no good!
Finding out what sort of client is a perfect match for your skills and preferred working schedule can almost be the foundation upon which your entire freelancing career is built. (I know… again with the drama right? But it’s so fun!)
And of course, nada clients mean nada work.
Therefore, if you have absolutely no idea what sort of client you’re looking for, you’re on a quick road to burnout due to taking on projects you are ill equipped to handle, or major failure because you’ve got no clients at all!
It’s vital that you start with your ideal client in your head so you can adjust your marketing strategies accordingly. Remember folks… you are working for yourself and nobody is doing the advertising and PR work but you.
So without a clear picture of your “right people” you’ll be pretty hard pressed to design an appropriate strategy to help them find you.
Ways to Define Your Perfect Client
Oh let me count the ways!
As one example, you can choose to target clients who belong in a particular niche, say Internet marketing or web design. You can also limit your choices to a particular company size or location, such as a small-to-medium enterprise based in the East Coast area.
Alternatively, you can choose your clients based on the nature of the of the jobs they offer, such as a full-time 40+ hours per week task or a project-based work schedule that runs only 3 hours each week.
You can choose your clients based on gender… mayhap you only prefer to work with girls. Or boys. Or maybe you want to work with someone who understands Eastern philosophy and has a rabid love of dogs? Who knows!
Other Factors to Help Define Your Perfect Client
– Your available work hours
– Desirability of the project
– Potential of the project and its impact on your portfolio
– Turnaround time required by the client
– Perceived difficulty of the job
– Number of people you have to work with and the nature of their tasks
– How badly you need the project (NOT a good metric by the way, but hey… it happens!) and so on and so forth
Then of course there’s the cash factor.
Obviously you want to get paid what you’re worth, and then some. So a client looking for the best deal or work on the cheap may not be your perfect client. Sure it’s OK to offer deals here and there, but just be careful you don’t do it so often you end up selling yourself short and wind up unable to put food on the table. That’s no good.
And like I said, there are a wealth of choices and decisions that you have to make when outlining your perfect client. Unfortunately until you have a crystal clear picture in your mind of just who that person is, you will never be able to market yourself as effectively as you really could.
Except there’s No Such Thing as Perfect
The possibilities and opportunities that lie in freelance work are virtually limitless, but that also means that there are an infinite number of ways you can screw up your chances of becoming an established and respected freelancer. The wisest thing to do is to investigate ahead and gear up for the task accordingly.
And of course, always remember that the ideal client is just that—and idea. He or she may not even exist in the real world. No one said your fantasies will come true!
If you are overly specific and too loyal and dedicated to the client floating around in your head, then it’s possible you’ll be cutting off your nose to spite your face. You might never find that client that fits all your criteria. But if you don’t even know your criteria, then never finding them is pretty much a sure bet.
That said, when you’re just starting out as a freelancer, it might be good to do a little experimenting with the type of clients as well as projects you take on. Actually scratch that… you might want to do a lot of experimenting while dreaming up your perfect client, at least initially.
As a newbie in the field, only hands on experience can help you gain a feel for what you really want to work on and what types of projects are most suited to your particular set of skills and talents.
Experience really is the best teacher, and it could be better for you in the long run to try anything at least once. (Well, almost anything… those things that seem appealing at any rate!)
For example, if you’re a freelance writer like yours truly…
Don’t limit yourself to working on just one style of project, such as an ebook, a blog post, or web copy. Go for all three if you can, just to be able to get the experience under your belt of what it’s like to work on each particular project.
It’s possible that you could restrict yourself to writing simple Ezine type articles when in fact, your true genius lies in writing marketing materials.
You’ll never know until you try.
And yes, sometimes that means you might even have to bend over backwards to accommodate a not-so-ideal client who has a very promising project offer.
But who knows, that project could be “the one” that sends your career rocketing into the stratosphere. You just never know.
Not to mention, knowing your ideal client inside and out also works to your advantage on a different level.
When you know what sort of client you’re looking for, chances are you also know exactly the things they need. And as a result, you’re in an almost perfect position to satisfy those needs.
Happy customers= more business= branding domination.
If your clients feel you deliver only high quality work all the time, then chances are they’ll be pretty reluctant to allow someone else to see to their needs. The bottom line is that their first and only choice… will be you.
And that’s just the way I like ‘em, how about you?
Drop your thoughts in the comments below, and tell us what your perfect client might look like. How are you satisfying their… uh biz needs?