What if you looked at your spouse across the kitchen table every morning and thought, “He’s not my soulmate but he’s steady and he pays the bills so he’ll do.”
I’m guessing that wouldn’t happen because you wouldn’t settle for a spouse who doesn’t fire you up.
So why do you look across your desk at clients who don’t excite and challenge you and think, “They’ll do. The work is steady and the pay is decent. I don’t have to love working with them.”
If you count the hours, you may find that you spend as much time with clients as you do your spouse. Shouldn’t you enjoy your time with them? How much better would your work be if you partnered only with kindred clients? By kindred clients, I mean people who appreciate what you have to offer (and are willing to pay what you’re worth) and whose mission inspires you to do your best work. People who make you feel happy, fulfilled, and valued. People you have fun with in the process of doing important work. People whose successes feel like your successes, too.
“People who feel empowered by your presence become kindred spirits.” ~ Wayne Dyer
(Quick caveat: If you’re just starting out, you may need to take whatever clients and work you can get, provided it’s not demeaning and doesn’t undercut the going rates for your industry. It’s called paying dues. Once you’re established and know your target audience, you can afford to be picky; in fact, you can’t afford not to.)
Your kindred clients are a subset of your target audience. They see in you a kindred spirit and thus are less likely to micromanage your work, second guess your decisions, or quibble about rates because they respect and trust you. They appreciate your talent and experience, and believe you have what it takes to make their dream come true.
To attract kindred clients, you must first define them. This can be scary because it shrinks your target audience. It can also be unsettling because, in clarifying which qualities you value most in clients, you may uncover qualities of your own that shift the focus of your business (and perhaps even alter your life’s purpose). That’s what happened to me.
The process starts by looking at your target audience. As I proclaim on my website, my prospects and clients are “in the business of helping people live healthier, wealthier, happier lives.” I distilled that down by probing the true meaning of health, wealth, and happiness. I wrote down that I want to attract clients who don’t think it’s a virtue to constantly work. Clients who love their work but have other passions.
Then, I probed deeper using an exercise that helps me get at the heart of my motives and desires. I write down what I want, or think I want, and ask “why” repeatedly until I’m staring at the undeniable truth.
Here’s how it played out.
I want to attract clients who live full time, and don’t live to work.
Because that is the life I yearn to live.
Because I don’t want to work around the clock anymore, or be on call 24-7.
Because there are other things I want to do.
Because I want to write more than ephemera. I want to leave a legacy.
On the face of it, the statement isn’t revelatory; I’ve wanted to write something enduring for a long time. What this exercise taught me is that I want to work with people like me who also want to leave a legacy.
I want to help them create that legacy.
Boom! Truth bomb.
As it happens, I was already headed in that direction. My client Kevin Weinstein, for example, is a commercial photographer who wants to be remembered for his street photography. The copy I wrote for his website marries his need to build clientele and his yen to build a body of work that rises to the level of art.
Another client of mine, interior designer Lorrie Browne, described her kindred client in minute detail when she hired me to write her website copy. At this stage of her career, Lorrie caters to clients with second homes on the beach, often working with them remotely. It’s lucrative work, and since clients usually lack the time and inclination to weigh in on every single decision from paint to drawer pulls, projects take less time. That enables Lorrie to devote countless rewarding hours to animal rescue and advocacy, her life’s passion.
I interview clients and give them homework if necessary to identify their kindred clients, but I love it when they come to me with a clear picture in their mind already. That way, I can get to work right away composing pitch perfect copy for that particular client.
Ready for copy to woo kindred clients? I can provide it. Need a session with me to figure out which clients are your ideal match? Fill out the form to get on my schedule.
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