Getting Started

Know Your Ideal Freelance Client

As a freelancer, you have limited time and money to spend on marketing your business. So, before you begin marketing your services, you need to know who to market to. This means identifying your ideal client. This is someone who you want to work with again and again. They share your values. They benefit from your services. You both enjoy working together. And, you receive appropriate value for your work. That may seem too good to be true, but the ideal freelance clients do exist! This week, we’re sharing some tips to help you identify your ideal freelance client.

Define Your Service Offering

The first step in understanding your ideal client is to define what kind of work you want to do as a freelancer. Write out the types of services you plan to offer. For each service offering, identify which industries you will focus on, what types of projects you think you will enjoy working on, what value you will provide those potential clients, how you would prefer to interact with the client, and what the terms of your client engagement will be.

Identify Who Benefits from Your Work

Once you’ve defined your offering, you can hone in on who would benefit from your services. Start by clearly defining the problem that your specific service offering is trying to solve. Then, identify the individual or organization who has that problem and with whom you are interested in working. Lastly, document the demographics, motivations, goals, challenges, purchasing behavior, and expectations of the individual or organization you identified.

Align with Your Core Values

Not all the individuals or organizations that could benefit from your work will be ideal clients. You also need to ensure they are in alignment with your core values. Consider your philosophies, ideologies, affiliations, lifestyle choices, working styles, and such. Your ideal clients don’t have to share all of your values. But, you should understand what’s most important to you. Be sure to write down the values that are must-haves and nice-to-haves as you vet client opportunities.

Understand What Works for You

Think about your interactions with past clients, coworkers, or bosses. Create a chart of who they were, what you worked on together, what your role was in the project, what skills you used in the project, how communications were handled, what problems there were, and how problems were solved. Then highlight in different colors the things you (1) enjoyed and want more of in your freelancer business, (2) didn’t enjoy and would prefer not to do, and (3) you hated doing and don’t ever want to do again. Look for patterns in what you enjoyed. Use those patterns to create a list of the qualities you appreciate in a client and project.

Develop a Client Persona

A persona is a detailed picture of your ideal client that, at a minimum, includes their demographics, motivations, goals, challenges, purchasing behavior, expectations, shared values, and the qualities of a client you would enjoy working with.  You should also tie this persona back to your work by identifying how your solution helps them, any common objections they might have when you are marketing to them, what they would value in your work, and how you would work together.

Going through the steps of identifying your ideal client and putting it all together in a written client persona will help you in clarifying where and how you should be marketing and selling your services.

If you need support in identifying your ideal freelance client, you may be interested in our upcoming Freelancer Accelerator at our San Francisco or Oakland business accelerators. The deadline to apply is June 15.