One of the first things you have to decide on when you get into business is your target market.
There are a lot of weird ways to do that in the online business space, most of which involve creating an unrealistic avatar that ends up describing no one in particular.
The ideal client avatar has its place, and it’s pretty much gold for Facebook ads targeting.
But, while each market presents its own difficulties, I’ve created an almost unnecessary challenge for myself: my ideal clients don’t tend to congregate in groups.
Yes, you can find my clients (and most people’s clients) in various Facebook groups…but they’re often lurking, absorbing information that they’ll go off and implement in their next business experiment.
Now, this is not to say that they’re lone wolves or even identify that way. These people are a solid mix of introverts and extroverts with the same off-beat composition.
But when you’re doing something really unconventional with your work, it’s hard to find people that really “get you,” whether you’re trying to do something no one has successfully done before or you’re just trying to build a virtual assistant business to $50,000 per year so you and your spouse can be digital nomads.
You get tired of hearing “no, don’t try it your way, do it my way, because it worked for me.”
You get tired of hearing “no, don’t have that goal, that goal is silly/unrealistic/too small.”
And that means they’re struggling against their desire to do something completely unique to them and wanting to find a formula that fits so they can get on to living the life they want to live.
My clients and students are typically intelligent, organized, systems-friendly people who are used to figuring things out on their own. They’ve read all the books, listened to all the podcasts, and are up-to-date with the latest marketing tactics.
They’re generally more motivated by the lifestyle than the money. But that paradoxically means not being overly motivated by the typical “lifestyle business” that’s designed for 6- or 7-figure ambitions. Having a business they can run from anywhere that allows them to travel, eat out, get massages, and spend a bit frivolously while still saving money is motivation enough.
On the other hand, among my herd of cats are my fellow Type A overachievers who believe they can have it all: the lifestyle, the money, and the impact.
I still have a bucket list goal of a million in revenue in one year and establishing my own charity foundation, but it’s not tearing me up that I’ve still got a lot of work ahead to get there. I’m 29. It’s going to be fine.
In the meantime, I guess I’ll just have to be satisfied with helping my community create businesses they love, donating some of my profit to Kiva businesses, and my own international vacations, monthly massages, and eating out budget (#humblebragging #sorrynotsorry).
My point is: you don’t need to be making a ton of money to be happy with your business. And you don’t need to follow someone else’s path to success to create your own. And if your goal is to make a ton of money with your business, that’s awesome too! You do you.
But those of you who are hearing me on this, either because I’m describing you or your own community, also know what we’re not talking about in our rugged individualistic businesses: the very real danger of burnout from remaining a perpetual freelancer.
Because, even with all the knowledge in the world, what are these cool cats lacking?
A strategy that ties all the knowledge they’ve collected together and a smart community that will help them experiment with their ideas.
I’ve had a hard time selling masterminds and group programs without a 1-on-1 component, because most of my clients want individualized attention for their very unique businesses. And that’s understandable, especially because I’ve never paid for a group or mastermind that didn’t have a 1-on-1 component. I may not be a Law of Attraction kinda girl, but I get that I’m “attracting” people like me.
So I listen to them, consider how I like to operate, and then I offer what they need.
It’s the backbone of any service-based business: balancing how you like to work with how your audience likes to be served.
Which is partially why I’ve pressed pause on week-to-week private coaching right now. It was a big decision to eliminate that offering, because it has served as the backbone of my business for nearly 3 years since I began the shift from writing to coaching.
You can still hire me exclusively 1-on-1 for intensives or consulting projects, but the way you can get ongoing access to me is in a group setting: my Incubator, which requires a 1-year commitment to focus on taking action over taking courses, and an upcoming summer mastermind that will include both 1-on-1 time with me and an in-person retreat.
Because I get it. People have been burned by course after course and group after group, and no one really listens to you.
But when you get all those people who are thinking differently together, magic happens.
People stop talking about what you should be doing and instead tell you what you could be doing, because they’re running on a potent mix of creativity and practicality. And success is found in the messy middle between the two.
If you want to start learning more about making the shift from perpetual freelancer to boss of your business (and life), join some other cool cats in the free Creative CEO Vault. Instead of opting in for freebie after freebie, get my entire collection of workbooks, masterclasses, and resources, all in one place, and you’ll be notified when new materials are available (I’m in the middle of a rebrand, so a bunch of things are in the pipeline for this spring).
If you’re serious about off-roading your business, check out The Creative CEO Incubator, the only way to get ongoing access to me and my unconventional community of entrepreneurs. The free Facebook group is gone, and this is where we’re hanging out instead.
And yes, you get access to my 75-page signature program, private trainings, community hotseats, guest expert trainings and AMAs, and all my small courses for as long as you’re in the Incubator. It’s also the only way you can buy an hour of my time instead of an intensive.
So there is plenty of the stuff you’re looking for in a community like this, but more importantly there are people in there like you and me that will help you actually take action, review the results, and tweak your next offer.
Email me if you’re wondering if it’s the right fit for you: firstname.lastname@example.org
Otherwise, keep herding cats with me. It’s going to be worth it.