“You are your the company you keep… Choose your clients as carefully as you choose your friends.” – Michael Port
A few years ago, I came across Michael Port’s Book Yourself Solid as I was dreading another Monday as a self-employed writer who wasn’t in love with her client base. I was a ghost writer and I was always busy, but I could not stand my clients, or the work I was doing, for that matter. I wrote on boring topics for entrepreneurs and public figures. Some of my clients paid well, other’s didn’t. Some of my clients paid on time, others didn’t. My work life during that time was quite… challenging.
I knew I was doing something wrong. When I saw Michael’s book, I had to have it. I’m going to share with you the takeaways I used from the book to ditch my lackluster clients and turn my writing business around so that every project I took was a project I was absolutely thrilled to do.
Whether you’re a self-freelancer, or running a full-time service business, it is in your best interest to make it a priority to identify your own value offering so you can identify and court your ideal client.
What does that mean?
That means ironing out the details of your brand, your market position, your list of services, your GOALS, and your strategies.
What is your mission? Or, a better way to ask that is what thing are you trying to impact? Your mission isn’t to be a writer or a mechanic. Those are simply means by which you monetize your efforts and accomplish your mission. So what impact are you trying to make by doing what it is you get paid to do? What legacy are you diligently working to build? Your business operations need to reflect this.
Port identifies four key principles for targeting and booking the right clients:
- Choose your ideal clients so you work only with people who inspire and energize you.
- Understand why people buy what you are selling.
- Develop a personal brand so you’re memorable and unique.
- Talk about what you do without sounding confusing or bland.
As recommended by the book, I put together a list of seven traits that my ideal writing clients all have and based on that list (which includes financial stability), I will prune my current list of clients and pursue more clients who meet my criteria for a client.
Here are some of the questions listed in the book that will help you identify your ideal client as well. If, after reading this, you’re still grappling with your client list and how to go about attracting the right customers, I recommend you grab Michael’s book, do the exercises and take the action steps.
- What type of people do you love being around?
- What do they like to do?
- What do they talk about?
- With whom do they associate?
- What ethical standards do they follow?
- How do they learn?
- How do they contribute to society?
- Are they smiling, outgoing, creative?
- What kind of environment do you want to create in your life?
- Which of your clients do you look forward to seeing?
- Who are your clients who don’t feel like work to you?
- What are traits of the clients you don’t want?
If you’re ready to grab Book Yourself Solid (it’s worth it), grab it on Amazon here. AND there’s an illustrated version as well.