• Erin Wilson

How to Love Freelancing More When You Choose Your Ideal Client

Woman in a red sweater sitting at a desk, smiling
Photo by Paige Cody on Unsplash

*originally posted on*

One of the most important steps when building your freelance business online is defining your target audience. Whether you’re looking to find your first clients as a new freelance copywriter, or grow your business as a graphic designer - one of the first steps is to decide who you’re passionate about helping.

The internet can provide an infinite number of opportunities. You can target everyone as easily as you can target a specific group of people. Are you afraid of missing out on potential clients? Do you feel nervous about alienating prospective customers?

A paying client is a paying client, right?

Well, not exactly.

Because there is infinite potential for finding new freelance clients online, to be effective, you have to be selective.

One challenge of entrepreneurship is crafting your messaging: your copy, your website, your social media content. Having a specific, ideal client in mind that you’re writing to helps you write directly to them. It makes you more relevant, and more trustworthy.

And you know what they say: People buy from people they know, like, and trust.

When you define your favorite type of client, you help ensure that you waste less time with tire-kickers. Or help you grow your business in a quick and sustainable way. And the best part is: you can work with people you’re passionate about helping. It might be new start-ups who can use copy on a project-basis. Or you love working with empowering brands to manage their social media. Defining your ideal customer means only taking jobs where you will kick ass for them.

All you have to do is define who they are. Need help figuring out who you serve best? Book a call today to see if my coaching program can help you dial in your audience.

You want to grow your business, but you don't want to get stuff with frustrating clients.

You’ve been in business for a few months now. The pandemic accelerated your plans for an online freelance business. You started with a few friends & family as clients, you’ve gotten a few referrals, and you’re ready to take this thing to the next level.

But what’s next?

There are all sorts of methodologies out there. Does any of this sound familiar? Run ads, post on social media, build a website, write some blogs, gain some traffic. Increase your pricing to increase your revenue over 6 months to a year. Build an app.

Any of these can work. However, they’ll work more effectively and efficiently if you define who your target clients are.

Running ads as a general freelancer will get you more inquiries. You’ll start to see an increase in traffic to your social profiles and your website. You’ll get more clients.

But if you are passionate about helping entrepreneurs get off the bench and start slaying their social media game - then say that!

If you can imagine your ideal client, you can address them. You can make them feel understood by speaking to their motivations, their dreams, their fears.

And inspire them to hire you to take action.

Is it someone who has led a sedentary life up to this point? But they’ve been inspired by #coronabod posts, their favorite superhero movie, or their doctor telling them something has to change. And you’re the health coach to get them there.

Without getting hyper-specific, you can’t speak to individuals. You have to be generic. You have to use cliches and sweeping statements. Ones that apply to most people. But they don’t demonstrate to that ideal customer that you truly understand them. And how to help them achieve their goals.

But most people aren’t your ideal client: with goals you’re confident you can help them achieve, motivations you can relate to, and the urgency to buy now.

Stop wasting your time with people not ready to buy.

Have you ever been in this scenario? You’ve set up your social media presence, got your website live, and even running ads on Google and Instagram. People start filling out your contact forms. You’ve got their information, so you reach out and try to make contact.

Some people respond right away, with gusto, and you get a call booked for later that afternoon. Some of these numbers are fake, along with the email addresses, and it was a waste of that ad spend. A few people only wanted to get some basic information, and upfront tell you that they’re not ready to buy yet.

And most frustrating of all: you spend weeks chasing down a potential client, only to find out they’ve got no interest in hiring you.

When trying to find new freelance clients, one of the most frustrating parts can be how long it takes. Chatting with dozens of people, only to find out that each and every one of them has a reason not to buy right now.

They’re super busy. Cost is a factor. They think they’re motivated to start working on their business - but they drag their feet when it comes time to start. And just never get around to it.

It’s not that these people are bad people, or they’re trying to waste your time. But if you define who your ideal client is, and what motivates them, what their hopes and dreams are. You can be super specific in your ad copy, in your social media posts, and in your blogs. People who are ready to buy now, who like what you’re saying, and who know, like, and trust you and your content, will reach out. No more wasting time on tire-kickers and looky-loos.

You're passionate about working with your clients.

Sure, we all feel the impostor syndrome sometimes. Where we tell ourselves we’ll write this blog for a lower price that we know we should charge. Or we discount graphic design services because this client would be the first one that isn’t related to us. Sometimes we even take on the rude client, because they’re willing to pay us and we’ve got bills coming up.

But imagine a different way. Stop spinning your wheels on low-paying clients, or dreading check-in phone calls with your biggest jerkiest client. Instead, you work with dream clients, paying real rates and respecting your boundaries. Imagine living the freelance dream.

That’s what happens when you define your ideal client for your freelance business. You are a unique, talented individual who has something to offer that only you can. And you have a specific kind of client in mind that will make your work so much more rewarding. And profitable.

When we’re only taking clients to pay bills, it’s a lot like when you take a job only to pay the bills. It’s necessary, it kinda sucks, and sometimes you loathe going to work every day.

These clients can race to the bottom for prices, be pushy and disrespectful of you as a business owner, and can cause too many headaches.

So define the person you want to work with. You got into the freelance business to work for yourself, and with clients. You’re building the life you want - make sure that you enjoy the work you’re doing and the people you’re working with. You can love working as a freelancer, and find clients that are your dream clients — all you have to do is focus on who those clients are, and go find them!

Grey tile with two pairs of feet with the words "Passion led us here"
Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

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