Are you swiping right on clients you should be swiping left on? Are you blocking yourself from work you would love to keep working with someone who isn’t a great fit for you? Are you letting your hang-ups with money stand in the way of your security? Today we’re going to look at the behaviors that are keeping you from enjoying a match with a client that you adore.
Know Your Niche
I know that niche is a five-letter word of terror for some of you. I understand. I was there. When I was new in business, I would take on any and every client that would write me a check. After the check was signed, I’d convince myself that it was a good match. Everything went well, right up until it was time to do the work. That’s when I discovered that I’d agreed to a job I’d never enjoy, or I’d unwittingly signed up to try to meet expectations that I couldn’t fulfill. I tried harder. They asked for more. It was a mess. When I avoided defining my niche, I created situations in which I’d never shine. It was so discouraging. Being afraid of turning down a paycheck, I was blocking myself from both happiness and success. Having a niche doesn’t mean you can’t make exceptions for the right client—it simply means that your focus is on becoming an expert so that most of your time and attention can be given to work that you genuinely enjoy. If you opt to deviate from your niche, take the time to explore why you feel drawn to take on a client outside of your specialty. If a client is outside of the professions, I am most effective with, but I find myself wanting to take the work, it’s usually because I can align my skills with their priorities. While the client doesn’t look like they fit in my niche at first glance, after a clarity call, I may find that they want to take an approach that is right up my alley.
One of the ways I find clients that I’ll enjoy working with is to ask myself if I’d like to hang out with them outside of work. If I would hang with them on Saturday night and would still want to work with them on Monday morning, it’s a good fit! When I’m on a clarity call, I usually know within minutes whether the person I’m talking with is a good fit for me. If I find myself needing to explain repeatedly, or feel like I need to defend or negotiate, those are clear indications that my style and theirs aren’t syncing. The hard part is paying attention to your gut when it’s unsettled about a potential client and being willing to leave the spot open in your schedule for the right client instead of a “right now” client.
Are You Putting Your Mouth Where Your Money Is?
While it’s easy to pay lip service about wanting to be paid what we’re worth, many of us have a hard time aligning our actions with our intentions. I hear it all the time!
“I raised my prices, and someone said, ‘No.’”
My response: that wasn’t your client.
“I want to be paid what I’m worth!”
My response: Are you paying those who work with/for you what they’re worth?
“I knew they couldn’t afford my prices, so I offered a discount up front because I want to work with them.”
My response: You have no idea what they can afford. What you decided was that your services have less value for one client than for another. Is that true?
Can We Hang?
Another bad habit I see is people sticking with a networking group that isn’t a good fit and making time for face to face appointments that aren’t within their niche. While most networking groups are filled with perfectly nice people, if they aren’t potential clients, they aren’t the right perfectly nice people. Going to another happy hour or mixer won’t turn them into the right people and if you’re going to invest in networking (and you should!), find a group that has members that are in your niche who can afford to pay you what you’ve decided you’re worth and who’re on track to grow with you!
When you make the effort to be honest and clear about what you’re looking for in a client, you’re far more likely to find them, connect with them, and ultimately to work with them. By demonstrating the same financial respect that you expect to receive, you’ll shift your mindset from scarcity to abundance. By taking an honest and unwavering approach to finding clients you can serve well, you’ll create situations where your work will shine, your efforts will be appreciated, and your business will thrive. Have you defined your niche? How can you tell if someone will be a good fit for your business?