This article was originally published on LinkedIn.
How often does it happen that you say yes to a new project or service engagement, even though it’s not something you actually want to do, then spend the next several weeks drudging through and kicking yourself for it?
This kind of situation is all too common among service-based business owners, who aren’t consistently landing the clients and opportunities they want and, instead, end up settling for what they can get.
Take Carlee* for instance.
She’s an award-winning graphic designer, who’s been running a successful solo practice for over a decade.
Carlee has worked on tons of noteworthy projects with big-name companies and organizations over the years. She’s built a solid reputation for her skill, efficiency and professionalism. And with referrals and repeat business keeping her going, she’s hardly done any marketing in a very long time.
Despite all of this, she’s unfulfilled in her business, because the work she does isn’t a full expression of her interests and strengths.
She spends long hours managing the day-to-day demands of her draining workload. On top of that she’s still not earning enough for the level of experience and effort she brings to the table.
Carlee is often frustrated by the projects she takes on. And nothing she’s tried doing differently has brought her better results.
It’s a hell of a problem to have. People are delighted to work with her, but they’re not the people she really wants to work with. Layer in the fact that she can’t necessarily afford to turn down business, and it seems like a catch-22 situation. But it isn’t.
If you’re in a similar situation as Carlee, you’ve probably tried these strategies, too; but none of them have brought the results you’re after. Here’s why:
You haven’t defined your niche
When you become known for doing good, reliable work, you tend to become the go-to for your satisfied clients and their friends.
That would be considered a good thing, except you’re painfully unhappy with the projects you’re getting.
If you want to become a magnet for the opportunities you really want, you have to work on attracting them.
Let’s look at it this way:
You didn’t have to put much effort into getting those first few clients. Once you proved you do a great job, you earned their trust and they were happy to keep sending work your way. That snowballed into enough repeat business and referrals that now you’ve got a pretty sweet hustle going.
But most of these folks are NOT the ones you leap out of bed for in the morning, so not putting effort into getting them means your outcomes have been hit or miss. And landing deals rarely feels like a win.
Now think about the last project you won that you were super excited about. You probably pulled out all the stops to make sure your proposal was on point and that this deal would be yours. When you saw that ‘accepted’ notification on your proposal, it felt like you had hit the jackpot. Right?
Unlike winning the lottery, getting the clients you want isn’t a game of a chance. It’s a choice. (Tweet It)
When you’re intentional about what you want, your actions will align to make sure you get it. That means you’ll tailor your offers to reflect the desired outcomes of your ideal clients. You’ll shape your brand messaging to speak to their challenges and pain points. And you’ll focus your marketing efforts on connecting with them.
It also means you’ll spend less time drudging through projects, and instead, experience the joy of doing humble-brag-worthy work that lights you up.
Take the first step
If you’re ready to attract more of the projects you love, and stop wasting your genius on the ones you don’t, you have to first get clear on who the ideal client is for you. I’ve whipped up a short and sweet workbook, with 3 simple prompts to help you figure it out. Grab your copy now, free.
Over to you
Do you find you're constantly attracting clients and projects you don’t want? Tell me about it in the comments.
* Fictitious name used
GET THE BOOK
NEW HERE? MEET RM