You own a business and have clients. It works, and you’re moderately fulfilled. But do you work with your dream clients?
Most of us that start our own businesses do so because we want more control over the kind of work we do and the kind of people we work with. So, why do we sometimes find ourselves working with people we don’t gel with and projects that don’t ignite our passions?
The answer is simple: Because it’s easy. With a little adventuring out of the good ol’ comfort zone, you absolutely can work with your dream clients.
Here’s how to attract, inspire, and ultimately, keep your dream clients.
How to Attract Your Dream Clients
The universe works in mysterious ways, as does the cobweb of circumstances that get you business. If you know what I’m talking about, it’s happened to you too. You compliment a stranger on the street, and suddenly you’re working on their website redesign. You meet someone at an event who has been looking for the exact service your company provides.
Attracting your dream client can be just as simple—and dare we say, magical. With a little bit of intention and direction, you can replace your lackluster clients with the ones you really want to be working with. But how?
To attract your dream clients, you’ll need:
- A solid understanding of why you do what you do
- A vision of who your dream client is
- The security and confidence to say no
- Dedication to finding them
Why You Do What You Do
To attract your dream clients, you’ll need to do a bit of inner-business-soul-searching. What’s the point of this business? What service do you provide that can’t be found elsewhere? Why you? Why do you enjoy this work?
Your dream clients can tell if you love what you do, or if you’re just keeping up with the Joneses. If there’s a part of your business that you love the most, could that replace the parts you’re not crazy about? Can you share the parts you don’t love with collaborators? The more passionate you are about your services, the more likely you’ll attract the people who are also really excited.
Who Is Your Dream Client?
Get specific about the kind of clients you want to attract. What values do they share with you? What kind of work do they do? Maybe even write down some literal client names. “I want Michelle Obama to be my client.” Why? “Because she has a powerful story and I want to help her reach even more people in new ways.”
Some questions to ponder:
- Who is your favorite client you’ve ever worked with? Why?
- What project are you the proudest of in your business? Why?
- What are some clients you didn’t like working with? Why not?
- What percentage of your clients right now are dreamy? What percentage are lackluster?
- If everything went perfectly, what would your company be able to achieve?
- What qualities does your dream client have? Get specific.
The Confidence to Say No
If you’re super busy working for subpar clients, there’s no room for your dream clients. If you say yes to a client that doesn’t fill you with joy, you’re going to be more likely to say yes to the next one that makes you feel bored.
But what if the next time a client that you aren’t excited about comes your way, and you kindly say “no”? “No” can be a pretty empowering word, especially if you’re a woman and have been conditioned to people please your whole life.
Instead of always saying yes, try only saying yes to the kind of business that you’re excited about. You’ll notice that you’ll free up time and space for the clients you really want to be working with.
Saying “no” to a client can be really hard, especially when you’re starting out and you need the money or you haven’t honed your “red flag antennae.” Now, for me, saying no is essential to making sure that I have the time and energy to connect with clients I admire and enjoy working with—that spark of connection, respect, and joy is non-negotiable now. – Kendra Sand, Founder of House of Sand
Dedication to Finding Them
While sometimes finding business is as easy as talking to your husband’s best friend’s aunt’s neighbor… finding your dream client usually takes more work. You’ll need to market your business and your services with your dream client in mind. You’ll need to reach out directly to people you think could benefit from your services (yes, write Michelle Obama a letter, you never know). Be active on social media, attend networking events, get your business name out there, and you’ll start to attract the attention of the kinds of clients that share values with you and excite you.
How to Inspire Your Dream Clients
So, you’ve done your magic and your dream clients are flooding the gates. The next step is to serve them as best you can. One of the best things you can do for clients is to inspire them—with your copy, with your images, with your design, with the experience you create for them. You can help them see what’s possible for themselves and their lives. Because you’re not just building something for them or selling something to them, you’re helping them transform.
I think a lot about what my clients need and what they’re aspiring to. How can I help them dream bigger? That’s the goal when I write copy for my website, proposals, and social media. I want them to see how incredible they are and help them step into really owning the widest reaches of their dreams.
– Brandi Bernoskie, Chief Alchemist at Alchemy + Aim
I love what I do. I help my clients take up space online through content strategy. I’ve noticed that my work compounds in fun, creativity, and power when I admire my clients and what they do. I try to channel their passion into their content and inspire them by reflecting back just how unique they are and mapping out their potential with content.
– Kendra, House of Sand
To inspire your clients, you’ll need really connect to who they are, what they dream of, and how you can help them get there.
One of my favorite things about working with clients is diving into their business with them. Strategy calls may start off focused on the website and connecting with their audience, but they can take unexpected turns. For one of our clients who had a membership site, we discovered new potential revenue streams and ways she could enhance the membership experience when we started to dig into the technical requirements for the website (because we knew so much more about what was possible technically than she did). For another recent client who runs a yoga training center, we looked at how they’re showing up in their business is reflected on their website, and then ended up doing a training session about how they bring that leadership to their team as well. That’s the benefit of being a website developer and a business owner with a team of 20 people – I really get BOTH sides of the picture and can support clients more holistically than they expect.
– Brandi, Alchemy + Aim
Often, I’ve found the best way to inspire my clients is to model boundaries and self-care for them, reminding them what it means to live in alignment with their values. With my longest standing, most successful client, I’ve sold her on the idea that feminist marketing means we get to set the rules. When she sends me a podcast request, I ask her what her gut says, and give her permission to say no – even when they have a large following. When her body is tired, I cut parts of the launch schedule. When my gut feeling tells me to innovate a part of her funnel, I challenge both of us to step into the unknown. The balance of grounding down and reaching higher makes for a dynamic, and thus inspiring experience for everyone on the team.
– Karna Liv Nau, Feminist Business & Marketing Strategist
How to Keep Your Dream Clients
You’ve exceeded expectations with your dream client, and are sad to say that your project is complete. They don’t need any more help! Instead of just letting that be the end of the relationship, this is a key moment for you to maintain the link.
You need to nurture this working relationship so that if they need something down the line, you’re the first person they think of. And hey, your dream clients most definitely have dreamy friends that could become your next dream clients.
Building this beautiful cycle of referrals will make it even easier to only say yes to the clients you love and build the business of your dreams!
Once you have set up your dream business, helping your dream clients fulfill their dreams (ha!) you might wonder, what now? I challenge you to be happy with what you have built and reap the benefits of your hard work.
There’s no reason to continue to climb, scale, and yearn for more if you have more than enough already. Despite what “hustle culture” might tell you, it’s okay—great even—to be content with where you’re at.