We hear so much about working with out 'Ideal Client.' About how we need to know who our Ideal Client it; what they look like (figuratively); how they shop; what they're looking for; and most importantly, about what they want in a business and out of us as business owners.
And while I agree with that, let's be honest...It's easier said than done. It took me YEARS to figure out who my ideal client was. And to be honest, it's still a little vague at times. One day, it'll be one thing, and another day it's something else. I hate putting people into some box I've created for them and potentially leaving out people who could fit my ideal client but I didn't know it.
But last week, I experienced first hand just how important your Ideal Client can be.
So far in my business from what I can recall, I've never forgotten a meeting. Don't get me wrong; I've forgotten plenty of other things to make up for that, but never a meeting. My mental schedule and Google Calendar keep me in check. But there's a first time for everything, right?
Yes. Yes there is.
Last week, I woke up just like any other day. I played out my schedule in my head: I was gonna hit the gym, get dressed and then start my day. So I got up and was on my way. About 45 minutes later, I get a call from Joe asking if I had a meeting this morning because Grohl was freaking out, there was a lady at the door but he couldn't answer the door because he was still in his boxers...whoops!
I was mortified. I was in the middle of strength training, when I ran out of the gym as fast as I could, raced home and apologized profusely, explaining that my brain woke up and went on autopilot that morning. I couldn't believe I forgot. I was so embarrassed.
So here's where that ideal client thing comes in.
But let's back up for a minute to talk about who my ideal client even is. Honestly, for me, my ideal client is someone I would be friends with in real life. Someone I bond with in those first few minutes of meeting and I would grab a glass of wine over happy hour with. Someone who walks into my house for a meeting and feels at home and enjoys a cup of coffee with me. Someone who understands that even though I run a business and am a professional, I make mistakes. I'm human. And also, a dog person. They don't have to be, but if they're coming to my house for a meeting, it definitely helps as you can't meet with me and NOT meet with Grohl.
So back to the story. Seeing as this girl was my ideal client, she was totally cool about it. Not only was she cool about it, but she loved on Grohl immediately, and even showed me photos of her adorable pup. So I made us some coffee, took a deep breath and sat down with her, letting all the stress of forgetting about the meeting go because there wasn't nothing I could do to change it now. We enjoyed fawning over paper colors and envelope samples as I sat there still in my workout clothes, sweaty and absolutely no make up on.
If that meeting had been with someone not my ideal client, that morning could have gone so differently. I probably would have lost a client. I could have gotten bad reviews. And that would have been fine. It would have been my mistake, and chances are that may not have been the client I wanted, and that would be OKAY. I know that I am not made to work with everyone. I'm not made for everyone to like me or my style, and THAT'S OKAY.
This was a really hard lesson for me to learn. Of course I want to be liked by everyone and I want everyone to like what I do. But that's just not life. And that's what makes me different from others in my industry. It's what makes it easier to have community over competition, because there's only one ME out there.
I didn't start a company to work for or with people I didn't care for or to take on projects I didn't like. I could still be in a more corporate job for that (and please don't get me wrong, there is absolutely NOTHING wrong for having a more corporate job. I just wasn't cut out for it!) I started my business so that I would have that choice of clients and choice of projects. Learning who our ideal clients are takes time and patience and a lot of wrong clients. But if we continue to surround ourselves with the right people and clients, it makes a huge world of a difference.
And when you finally get that ideal client that you mesh well with and you find yourself totally rocking that project, it makes all those hard times working for yourself totally worth it.