You've probably asked, "How do I find the right clients?" I've asked myself this same question a hundred times.
This past weekend I had an epiphany. It's so simple, but I realized that not everyone knows this.
The question, "How do I find the right clients?" is NOT the question you should be asking. Not at first, anyway. Because having success with your freelance business is rarely just about finding the right clients.
Announcing that "finding the right client" is the only thing your business needs for success is like deciding to buy a house without doing your research. Then just driving along, seeing a pretty house, and deciding that's the one without knowing the really important answers… Like the asking price… Like what shape the foundation is in… Like what the neighborhood is like, school district, average utility bills, annual taxes… You get the idea.
I'm convinced it's about everything BUT finding the right clients.
There are so many things that must be in place before you even think about getting in front of the right client. Things like figuring out who exactly that ideal client is and, more importantly, why you think they're ideal… Like what specific problems or pain points you're solving for them… Like charging what you're actually worth, and being able to educate your clients on the value you bring to the table… Like presenting yourself as the expert you are, in person and across your entire online footprint… Like having a solid brand that not only reflects you and working with you, but that speaks to and attracts more ideal clients…
Here are some examples of what I'm talking about…
Let's say you're a photographer who's willing to photograph anyone with a budget, but really loves product photography. You continually accept work that doesn't thrill you, and therefore shows in your photos… they're good, just not amazing. You finally get in front of someone who needs product photography, and instead of showing the amazing work you love to do, you spend most of your time explaining why your portfolio shows weddings, sports and senior photos. Your ideal client has dismissed the idea of working with you.
Let's say you're a writer who is an expert at disseminating complex information into marketing copy, and you even have some samples to show. You finally get in front of what you think of as your ideal client, but you struggle to explain clearly why you and this client are a perfect match. Your ideal client has dismissed the idea of working with you.
Let's say you're a web developer who can create amazing websites that get results. You meet someone at a networking event that fits your ideal client profile. You try to make them understand that they really need to hire you to refresh their outdated website, but they balk at your price, convinced they shouldn't pay that much. You feel defensive when you explain your pricing and it shows your lack of confidence in what you charge. Your ideal client has dismissed the idea of working with you.
Let's say you're a graphic designer who can design circles around the other designers you know. You get wind of a client you know needs you and can afford you. But when you meet in person, your confidence comes across as arrogance. Your ideal client has dismissed the idea of working with you.
See what I mean?
Yes, getting in front of the right people should, indeed, be your goal—but just one goal along with getting all the other things in place first.
Your success is about everything else AND THEN finding the right clients.
I know what it's like to struggle with this very issue. I've had to learn it the hard way (like all things, grrrr). That's where I come in; I help you learn the easy way, so you can grow the successful freelance business you want.
Let me know when you're ready to start--I'm here for you!
Thanks for reading! Good juju to you! =)