One thing I do when I begin work with new clients or on new projects is to send a survey I’ve put together that gets the client to think hard about what it is they want to get out of their project, or rather, who they want to get.
See, business isn’t about products. It’s about people and fit. Businesses are looking for the right kind of people, and people are looking for the right kind of business. That’s why I ask my clients to describe not who their audience is, but which audience they want to get in front of.
So in that light, here is my perfect client.
My perfect client is an entrepreneur, successful small business owner, or runs an eCommerce business. Either male or female. Somewhere between the ages of 30-50. Probably leans toward liberalism, but not necessarily. This person is serious about making their business a success and has done their research on marketing. They understand some technical jargon. They aren’t scared of the Internet. They know the importance of investing in web presence and understand that you get what you pay for. They won’t flinch about paying good money for work that will increase their long-term profitability.
This person hates bullshit and is detail-oriented. This person is excited about their business, but not cocky. This person has been successful in some other field before their current career. This person does not see success as something that is gained by standing on the backs of others. They thrive on collaboration.
My perfect client loves to talk. They email and text and Facebook all the time, and love to connect with others whenever possible. They are genuinely interested in others’ experiences and want their website to reflect that. They want to connect with every customer on a personal level, and they’re motivated to give their customers the very best they have to offer. This person wants to improve lives and solve problems. This person is open and appreciates outside perspectives and new ideas. This person is a go-getter without being pushy but knows when to put their foot down.
Well, that’s all unicorns and rainbows, Lauren, but it’s not realistic to expect to find that client.
Except, I did.
Maybe two weeks ago, I found a lead that was looking for a copywriter to produce all the web copy needed for a new brand’s site, and it sounded perfect. The brand was bold, people-centered and obviously a passion of the team working to launch it. So I pitched her.
And I didn’t hear anything.
Oh well. I moved on with finishing up some other projects and starting a new one while I sent out a pitch here and there as usual.
Flash forward to last week, when I woke up to a message in my inbox.
It was her. And she and her partner were interested. Would I consider doing a mini sample customized to the brand so she could get a sense for our fit?
I need to pause here and tell you that USUALLY, I would never agree to this. I don’t believe in doing work for free. If someone is serious about hiring you but they don’t want to make a big commitment yet, they will offer a paid trial. People who ask for free tailored samples typically just want to swipe whatever you wrote and never contact you again.
But this felt different.
She sent me the most comprehensive briefing I’ve ever gotten for any project…for a sample of 300ish words. It was crazy how much detail and love had gone into giving me enough information so that I could fill a single page. When I looked the brand up on social media accounts, everything looked legit. I could tell they meant business. They were already doing so much to establish their name.
I felt the words “DREAM CLIENT” all over it.
So I took an hour or two to write up a sample, and I further protected myself by writing shorter mini-samples for a variety of things they’d need so that nothing could really be swiped (because none of it was quite complete). By the end of the next day, I had the job, offered alongside some gushing messages about how much both partners loved what I’d written. Within hours, the deposit was sitting in my Paypal and I was doing a lot of back-and-forth via email with my client. And a few days after that, she asked me to take on a secondary related project, which again, she was happy to pay my quoted price.
She is friendly and responsive. She is passionate about the brand. She’s given me a lot of freedom and is excited about what I’m writing. I’m excited about what I’m writing.
(Do you get to work with clients who are 100% encouraging of you using curse words in your copy?)
Some of my initial copy is already up, and I literally danced in my seat when I saw it.
Does that mean it will always be lollipops and lemon drops? Probably not. This is a big project, and I’m sure I’ll hit a roadblock or something I write won’t hit the mark or something drags out a timeline. To be honest, yesterday I felt like I was dragging my feet a lot, but that’s more to do with me than anything else. But in terms of everything I want in a client (and a project), this. is. it.
Keep searching. Keep pitching. Keep improving.
Your pefect client is waiting for you. Find them. They’ll get back to you.