Ep. 121 How to Find Your Ideal Client with Craig Cannings

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One of the first things new virtual assistants and freelancers are told to do is to “find your ideal client!” You’ve heard that before, right?

The trouble is -  if you’re new to the online space, you might not be sure about what kinds of clients you want to serve. There are so many kinds of business owners that need virtual support, so how do you know who your “ideal client” is?

Craig Cannings is an OG freelancing expert and the founder of Freelance University. He’s helped over 20,000 people from around the world start their freelancing businesses and he knows a thing or two about figuring out that dream client.

In this episode, Craig is sharing his simple formula for identifying your dream client plus his 5 go-to sources for finding high-quality clients. 

Tune in if you’re ready to get clear on who your ideal client is and learn ways to stand out from other virtual assistants and freelancers.

Let me tell you a little bit about Craig:

Craig Cannings is the co-founder of Freelance University with his wife, Kelly. Craig has had the privilege of helping over 20,000 students in 75 countries realize their dreams of launching a portable, freelance business (and lifestyle). He has enjoyed the great freedom of working from home and traveling abroad while raising 5 wonderful daughters. 

Connect with Craig: 

Website | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube | Facebook 

FREE GIFT: The Freelance Start-Up Guide

Do you have a simple formula for identifying your dream client?

When you're attempting to figure out your specialty and the type of client you want to work with, it's also vital to perform some self-reflection on who you are and how you're wired, because this will have a major impact on the type of client you want to work with. Consider these criteria. First, assess your professional background and determine whether it lends itself well to dealing with a specific type of client, based on all of your abilities and expertise.

Second, personal interest. You want to work with people that might be operating in an area that interests you. Third, the personality of clients. There are clients out there that would be classified as type A clients, they are drivers and results-focused. There are also clients who are heart-centered entrepreneurs where they're very mission-driven. They could be life coaches or counselors who are passionate about helping others.

Lastly, the client's personality. This is where personality comes into play. For example, on a discovery call, when you meet a customer for the first time, you can get a sense of their personality, how they treat you, and how they engage with you. 

What are the best sources for finding clients?

The first source that I recommend looking at is family and friends. You may have family members called “connectors,” as Malcolm Gladwell puts them in his book Tipping Point. They are people who may not understand what you do but they’re connected and they know people that may actually need your services. So finding the connectors in your personal life, may open up doors that you never thought were actually there. 

The second best source, and I would say it might even be the best source, is current and past clients. So if you do have clients, the best referral is a very happy client that referred you to colleagues who would now love to work with you. So don’t be afraid to ask people. You’ll be amazed at what will come out of that.

Third source is your prior clients, past bosses and coworkers to see if there are any industries you've worked in. Tap into an existing sort of employer network as well.

The fourth source is your local connection. This could be companies, brick and mortar businesses, local businesses in your own backyard that you could meet at networking events. It may be people you already know, like the physiotherapist you see all the time who has a really bad website and you tell them, "Hey, I develop WordPress sites. I'd be delighted to assist you with that assignment.” And suddenly it's like you start to get this referral network happening on a local level. 

The fifth is establishing your own virtual assistant referral network.  For example, a VA who specializes in writing can create copy and blog entries, but no expertise in design and graphics can delegate the work to a friend who is capable of doing it. These cross referrals can build relationships with one another, and they support each other's businesses. As much as there's competition in the industry, there's also a lot of potential for collaboration that could take place based on different specializations and focuses.

How do you stand out from other virtual assistants and freelancers?

Lack of opportunity does not always imply a lack of competitiveness. In fact, if you notice a large number of freelancers in a particular area, it's likely that there's work and prospects there. Competition isn't necessarily viewed as a bad thing. First and foremost, you may distinguish yourself by how you display yourself on social media and on your website. I'm in the midst of a personal branding exercise, nobody is quite like you, and you have the ability to insert bits of your personality in the same way that others do. Make a name for yourself based on your personality. Your brand yourself by your specialization.

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An in-depth workshop & workbook that will empower you to decide on a clear forward-facing specialty now, setting you up to attract dream clients - even at the beginning of your virtual journey. Grab the bundle now!

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