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This is Day 4 of 31 Days to Start a Freelancing Career (or Make Yours a Better One).
Today you’re going to decide which clients you’d like to work with, and what they really want in somebody they outsource work to.
So the first question you need to ask is, “Who’s my ideal client?” The best way to answer this question is by figuring out:
- who wants your services
- who is willing and able to pay what you want to charge
Take note that I used the word “want” and not “need.” These are two different things and the distinction is very important.
You want a client who wants your services rather than one who needs it but may not be aware of it. A client may need your services but not want it. In that case, you’ll have to educate that client and work that much harder to get him or her to want your services.
On the other hand, with clients who want your services, your only task will be to convince them that you’re the best person for the job.
Who Is Your Target Client?
Determine as many specific qualities as you can about your target client, such as:
- marital status
- family situation
Also think of your target client’s
- annual income
- life goals
- organizations they belong to
- what books and magazines they read
- TV shows they watch
- which podcasts they listen to
- people they admire and listen to
My copywriting mentor, Lorrie Morgan-Ferrero, goes so far as to give her target market (or “tarket” as she calls them) a name and an image. Do the same if it works for you.
Or think of specific people you know who fit into your idea of your target client.
That is only the first step. The next step is to find out what your target client wants.
What Does Your Client Want?
Getting to know your target client is now much easier than ever, thanks to the Internet. If you can identify 2-3 specific people online who fit the profile of your target client, your market research will get much easier. Here are some things you can do:
- Follow them on Twitter and listen to their Twitter stream.
- Read their blog. Comment and start interacting regularly.
- Subscribe to their newsletter.
- Be a fan of their Facebook page.
If you’re feeling up to it, you might even request a quick Email interview. Ask three questions, tops, so choose your questions well.
Even if you don’t have specific people in mind, you should, at the very least, research the general industry you’re interested in serving.
- Go to Google and look for the most relevant sites, blogs and forums in the industry.
- While you’re in Google, set up your Google reader to send you daily Emails with the latest updates on the industry.
- Search for the industry term in Alltop.com.
- Use Tweetdeck or Twitter search to see what people are tweeting about
But wait, don’t forget about offline sources, too, such as:
- books and magazines about the industry
- industry association meetings and conferences (you won’t be able to do this today, but do attend them whenever you can)
As you’re doing all this, take note of the problems people are stressing about. Do any of your skills address these problems? Also be on the look out for mention of service providers who seem to be doing well in your target clients’ circles.
By now you should have a pretty good idea of what your target clients want. However, this is an ongoing exercise. You need to keep track of your target clients and the industry they’re in. Set aside a few minutes every day or every week to visit the sites, blogs and forums you discovered.
What about forums you have to pay to join? If your budget allows it, join the best one. It’ll be well worth it if the forum allows you to interact with your target clients. But we’ll discuss this more later on.
For now, keep that image of your target client in your mind. He or she will be the most important person in your freelancing business from now on.
What did you think of today’s task? Did you discover something about your target clients that you never knew before? Do share by posting a comment below.