“Everyone is my client!”
Have you ever said that?
Do YOU believe that “everyone” is your client?
After 21 years of running my own business, I am still surprised at how many business owners I meet, who have been in business for several years themselves, and think that “everyone” is their client. Or they have NO IDEA who their ideal clients are.
I don’t mean to judge. Not at all. I’ve been there myself. For many years I didn’t really know who my ideal clients were either. And in the beginning, I, too, thought that “everyone” was my client. Boy, was I wrong.
One day, several months ago, I was in planning mode (I try to make time every week, usually Fridays or Sundays, to plan my business and plan my life, doesn’t always happen like clockwork but I try) and decided it was time to narrow down to my niche. To focus in on answering: WHO IS my tribe?
So I began to mind-map, you know… jotting down stuff from your brain to paper, getting it all out, making it tangible and organized, instead of un-anchored thoughts in my mind.
Here’s How I Begin a Mind-Map That Led Me to My Ideal Clients, My Tribe
I drew a circle in the center of a blank piece of paper and decided to fill the circle with words that described characteristics of my ideal client.
I leaned forward, the way a person does who’s intent and focused on an activity. As I stared at the circle in the middle of my blank piece of paper, I felt delightful and sparkly as I began to fill it with adjectives of who I wanted to work with. I wrote down words like “fun!” “focused yet has time to sincerely listen” “trusts me to do my beautiful work for her or him” “positive” “good communication skills” “unselfish” “experienced” (not a total newbie – been in business for three years or more) “conscious” “determined” “tech-curious” “goal-oriented” “big dreamer” “passionate” “heart-centered” “family man” “caring mother” and other sweet terms. And yes, I included a $ amount of their yearly net income after their bills were paid. This was the amount from which they would draw their budget to gladly and willingly pay me to do the work for them and with them that would result in empowering them with 21st century skills, tools, road-maps and strategies to transition them into the next level of their own business and increase their profits.
I’m telling you all this so you can do this for yourself.
Here’s what I personally discovered when I created this character description
I know that my ideal client is a conscious business owner who’s heart-centered and passionate about empowering people. You know what I discovered after writing that statement? I discovered that my ideal client is ME. That is what I believe. That is who I want to work with and that is what I want to do for my own clients: empower them.
She or he is a rock star at what they do – a true expert – and wants to get her/his message out to the world via a professional lead-capture/list-building website; to learn how to blog to establish their expertise; to learn how to do social networking to grow a tribe of fans, friends and followers and how to serve that tribe with valuable, helpful content instead of gimmicks; and by getting found in Google. I could go on with more details, ones that are WAY more detailed and precise, but you get the picture, right?
Why You Should Do Your Own Mind-Map to Get Clear On Who Your Ideal Client Is
Trusting that the project will work out fine and that you’ll end up with a happy client who’ll refer others like herself to work with you, just doesn’t happen by accident, my dear. You, the business owner, have to make sure it happens. And this Ideal Client Mind-Map is the first step because YOU get CLEAR.
What happens when you get clear?
You attract your ideal clients. By narrowing your focus to serve a particular tribe or group of people, you actually increase your profit and might even need to start a waiting list, when you lay out all the mojo correctly – from your logo font to your professional photo that captures your personality to the colors of your website and its first (hopefully) compelling headline (this is called branding), you will actually increase your ideal clients instead of decreasing, simply by looking professional online.
What happens when you look at a SMALL thing through the lens of a magnifying glass?
It gets BIGGER.
Think about that.
The small thing gets bigger.
The narrow focus on a niche group; a tribe; a community of like-minded people actually GROWS your business.
So are you ready to try this Mind-Map thing? It’s fun. It’s enlightening. I guarantee you’ll learn something about yourself and who you serve when you’re all done creating your own mind-map. By the way, you can do this exercise any time you want to gain clarity about something. It doesn’t have to be as structured as what I’ve laid out for you, below. Just do a mind-dump by getting your thoughts out of your head and onto paper. It really helps you become a better leader in your company. If it feels better to journal about a topic, then journal. Whatever feels good to you is what matters.
I wrote instructions below. If you’d like a PDF of the mind map and the instructions, please subscribe here to get your copy and to sign up to my weekly online marketing tips: Social Crush Me eZine.
Can you do me a favor, please? Would you let me know what you think of this? Tell me however you feel comfortable: send me an email, call me, Tweet me. Facebook me. Heck, send me a postcard. I’d love to hear from you!
Begin in the center and write down characteristics of YOUR ideal client. Write an adjective. Write a characteristic. Be detailed.
1. Biggest problem: write down what your ideal client’s biggest problem is. What is wasting her time right now? This is what she needs you for.
2. Words they say when they need you: A speaker’s ideal client could be the event planner who decides on who to book for his conference’s keynote speech. So he would say “I need… a keynote speaker who’s inspirational AND shares actionable steps to move my audience forward in their personal and professional lives.” Another example: a consultant might say: “I need a certified heart-centered coach who will guide me into implementing systems into my business and help me build my team.” For a copywriter: her ideal clients would say: “I need a copywriter who’s experienced at writing persuasive content for a web audience with a short attention span and who knows what a CTA is.” Don’t write a one-word description: don’t write: “I need…a speaker.” That’s too vague. Your ideal client knows exactly who s/he wants to work with and it’s not just any speaker or author or consultant. Get it?
3. Any other ideal clients? Jot down one or two more ideal clients’ descriptions. For instance, a female business owner who likes to support local business by hiring local talent; a male entrepreneur starting up his third successful company and is in need of an expert consultant who can guide his CEO into succeeding and increasing profit.
4. What is her/his big dream? It’s probably similar to your own dream. (Did that light bulb just go off above your head?) When you get clear on this, you can actually ask this question (“What is your big dream?”) during the interview process (yes, you’ll be interviewing potential clients to make sure they’re a good fit for you and you’re a good fit for him or her) and you may elicit an emotional response. If YOU get choked up, too, (tears in your eyes, a lump in your throat, goosebumps or some other emotion emitting through your body) that’s a good sign that you’re with the right person.
5. Profile: the details. This is one of the most important steps to complete during this mind-mapping, brain-clearing activity because this is where you write down annual income and the first thought upon awakening. When these two pieces of information align with the person you want to work with, that’s a sure way to recognize her or him as being your ideal client: your tribe. Example: an annual income of $100,000 + the first thought upon awakening: “I really need an experienced (insert YOUR title and expertise here) to guide me for the next 6-12 months so I can achieve my big dream.” Or maybe, upon awakening, he’s just worried about paying for his teenager’s college fund and needs to ramp up his revenue and needs someone like you to help him.
6. My solutions for my ideal client: get specific here. These are your services. Your services are solutions for your ideal client. You make her big worry go away. You create the space he needs to run his business. You solve the problems. So, what are the solutions? I recommend you write them out on the back of your paper mind-map in great detail. You might even want to turn them into programs or packages that your clients can choose. Later, when this step is part of your process, you can meet on the phone to guide your new client into the right program for her stage of growth, for her needs right now.
Some of this stuff you may have heard of before and if you’ve heard it before but never did anything about it and still aren’t quite in love with your business, don’t you think it’s time to give this a chance? You deserve a delightful journey in life and time with your family (those little ones grow up so fast!) so take this step. I promise you will be glad you did.