It’s true — as your business changes so should your ideal client. As you define your portfolio and discover who you want to work with, that will morph your ideal client. Every six months to a year, depending on business growth, you should sit down and reanalyze who it is you want to work with.
With every project or session, you learn more about who you enjoy (or don’t enjoy) working with. After a while, you should take inventory of why you did or didn’t enjoy working with those clients. This simple method will help you redefine who your ideal client is.
When you’re first starting out it’s hard to know what works for you without trying different styles. If you’re a photographer that may look like trying different editing techniques or booking different types of events. Once you find your signature editing style and what type of events you like to shoot the most — you’re one step closer to finding your ideal client.
It’s only natural that over time our business and lifestyle shift and you may have different priorities. When you started your business maybe you were single and didn’t have children. Now you’re married and have kids so your priorities have changed. You want to work less and make more. Which is possible but that will change who your ideal client is.
After a while, you will start to realize who you can best serve. For wedding planners, you may discover you like to help DIY brides and that will become your niche. For photographers, you may find you like to best serve families with children and newborns. Once you discover your niche you can start redefining your ideal client.
I am a firm believer in the fact that if you’re marketing to everyone then you’re marketing to no one. After you’ve worked with a few clients you’ll start to see patterns emerging. A simple and effective method to help narrow down your clientele is ‘The T-Chart Method’.
Step One: Create three separate T-Charts.
Step Two: Label the left side of each chart ‘Likes’. Label the right side of each chart ‘Dislikes’.
Step Three: Think of 3 past clients and at the top label each T-Chart with one of their names.
Step Four: Think about the entire experience from the beginning and to end and write down all the positives, everything that you liked about the experience and the client, under the left Likes side.
Step Five: Think about all the negatives, everything you didn’t enjoy about the experience or client and write it down under the Dislikes column.
Step Six: Repeat steps three and four for each client.
Step Seven: Create a fourth T-Chart and label the sides Likes and Dislikes.
Step Eight: Go through each of your client T-Charts and write down all the repeating Likes and Dislikes
By completing The T-Chart Method, you’ve narrowed down who your ideal client is based on past experiences and knowledge.
Taking into account all of the above knowledge you’ve gathered, you can now start to position yourself to stand out among the competition. You’ll understand who it is you like to work with. You’ll understand what type of work you want to focus on. You’ll understand certain qualities you want your client to possess. You’ll start to redefine your ideal client.
Redefining your ideal client can help you grow your business and help you to book more clients that you can best serve. When you start to understand who your ideal client is, you can tailor the experience and serve them even better. I encourage you to down the free Ideal Client Workbook to help you brainstorm and narrow down your ideal client even further.