I don’t know about you, but when I first started out as a solo-preneur in my service business and sat down to write the copy for my website, I found it incredibly challenging. I had no idea where to start on my home page, let alone any others.
So I did what most other coaches were doing, I spent days and days checking out other coaches’ websites, looking for ideas and inspiration for my own, comparing their sites, their pages, articles, prices, and all that good stuff.
Looking back, I realize it hadn’t even occurred to me at that point that I needed to know who I was talking to. I thought all I had to do was tell people what I did, how coaching worked, how much it cost, offer a free session and wait for the clients to turn up.
And that was because I happened to be looking at sites that were doing just that, and so I thought that was the thing to do, plus I had no marketing training on my coaching course.
It wasn’t until much later on when the clients weren’t turning up, and I had done some research on how to market and get clients, that the word “niche” hit my radar. Why hadn’t anyone ever explained to me that the most effective way to help people is to speak to them directly in their own language?!! Duh!
Oh, how much easier it was when I knew who I was speaking to, what a relief! I could write the copy for my website so much more easily, speak to people at networking meetings without their eyes glazing over, explain to friends and colleagues so that they knew exactly who to refer to me, create my LinkedIn profile with confidence, know what to write in articles and so much more.
My working life just became so much easier through honing in on my niche. There was so much clarity for me by picturing that one person I was speaking to, my ideal client.
Of course, I didn’t work all this out on my own, though believe me I tried! I spent many hours and days listening to lots of free calls, reading articles, following tips, cutting out of magazines, pasting, visualizing, sorting, eliminating ……… you name it, I tried it!
It just didn’t work for me and I was getting more and more frustrated with not being able to help people with my coaching. That’s when I made the decision to get some expert help. So I employed a couple of wonderful marketing coaches to help me figure it out, and learn from them just how to go about the whole “marketing thing” in as authentic a way as possible.
Something that I realized for myself along the way was the difference between working with “ideal” clients and not so ideal clients! You know what I mean, the clients that you just feel so inspired to help and be around. You’d love your whole client list to be made up of them.
So how do you get more of those ideal clients on your list? Well, it might sound very simple, but the first step is knowing exactly who they are first. Now that might sound very simple, but have you actually taken the time to write down the characteristics /qualities/description of your ideal client?
Sometimes this can be tricky, so my advice to my clients is to start with what they don’t want. Who do you definitely not want to be working with? For example, it might be that you don’t want to work with people who quibble about your rate, or who don’t do their homework, or who are very opinionated, or smell!! We all have certain clients we may have worked with that have helped us get an understanding of who we just don’t want to work with ever again!
So the easiest thing to do is to make a list of all the characteristics/qualities that are a no-no for you. And then looking at those, it can be so much easier to flip them to the opposite and come up with what you do want. So it could be that you want people who are happy to pay your rate, who understand the value in completing their homework, are open minded, or smell lovely!!
Once you are clear about who your ideal client is, you are much more likely to start recognizing them. We are wired up in a way that we have what is called a reticular activating system that brings relevant information to our attention. So having a clear idea about who your ideal client is will bring those clients to your attention.
So just to illustrate this a little, have you ever decided to buy a new car, and suddenly you find you are noticing all the cars on the road? It maybe that you are considering a Ford Focus for example, it’s amazing just how many you can spot on the road now.
Being really clear about your ideal client is such a plus for your business and you personally, so I encourage you to take a few minutes and start your list of the ideal characteristics/qualities. Remember if you find that too difficult to start with, do the “client from hell” characteristics first!
If working out your niche is something you know would be of value to you in your business, then contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and find out how to Nail Your Niche in a Day.
Sheela Masand was a co-founder and working partner of a multi million Euro business for over 12 years. Having worked through the struggle of how to find clients and make money in her own business, she now specializes in helping other heart-centred service professionals to do just that, all in a very authentic, non sales-y way.
Sheela can help you to attract more clients and make more money in a fun and authentic way. Visit www.sheelamasand.com to pick up a special free gift “Top 3 Secrets to Attracting Clients without Spending a Cent”.