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The Dream Client You've Never Had | Braid Creative & Consulting

finding dream clients

The number one question we get when talking about positioning and branding yourself to attract your dream client is: “But what if I don’t know who my dream client is?”

Whether you’re transitioning career paths, pivoting to try out a new offering or service, or entirely new to your creative career – you might not only be wondering “how do I get more clients?” but trying to figure out “who the heck is this client, exactly?”

how to find dream clients

So, I’m going to give you my best advice for identifying the dream client you’ve never had.

Before we dig in – I want to tell you that we’re going to be hosting a free mini-training where we’ll be deep-diving on getting more of the clients you want on Friday, March 31st. Save your spot here >>

who are your dream clients

To attract dream clients, you have to be clear about who you are and what you’re offering.
If you stumble over telling people what you do and are vague about what you deliver after they hire you, you will confuse any potential customers or worse… attract terrible fits. It’s important that you are able to articulate what you deliver and for whom – on your website, social media profiles, and in your content and conversations.

Who isn’t your dream client?
Sometimes it’s easier to identify what you want by getting clear about what you don’t want. So let’s begin by identifying who isn’t your dream client.

  • In my experience, my not-so-dreamy client usually asks me if I can do things that I don’t do – early in my career I was tempted to deliver more in order to close the deal. “Say yes, I’ll figure it out later!” was my go-getter mantra – (but afterwards it never left me feeling like the expert I wanted to be.)
  • They want me to convince them to hire me – every client likes to feel reassured they are making the right choice, but when a potential customer needs a lot of persuasion or asks me defensive questions, I see it as a red flag. I’d rather simply explain what I do, and if it’s a fit, they feel confident about hiring me without needing much convincing.
  • Working and communication style – there are smaller red flags that someone isn’t a dream client. It’s not always the case, but we’ve found when someone doesn’t like to work or communicate in our preferred methods, they’re not a dream client. These working and communication styles can be VERY nuanced and take trial and error to identify.

Now, if you really don’t know who your dream client isn’t, it might be a good idea to collect information as you go. Say yes more than you say no, and take note of what works and what doesn’t along the way.

identifying dream clients

Who do you already know that fits the profile?
Even if you’ve never worked with your dream client, you probably already know who they are. Write down a list of everybody you know (I recently read that we have the capacity to hold 150 names at any given time in our minds – so aim for 150). As you read through that list cross off anyone who is an instant “no.” For anyone that is left, begin asking yourself:

  • What does this person have questions about?
  • What is one thing that would make them feel really good?
  • What is their number one source of stress?
  • What podcasts are they listening to? What shows are they watching?
  • Where do they shop for groceries? Where do they buy clothes?
  • What do they value more than anything else?
  • What irritates them?
  • What inspires them?

It’s a lot of work, but once you begin to analyze the dream client you already know, you will begin to see common threads and make patterns out of what your potential dream client struggles with and what they desire. And the more you can speak to your dream clients’ exact stresses and desires, the more they will trust that you can really see them for who they are – and the more they will want to hire you to solve their problem, coach them to the next level, or buy your product that will deliver what they really need to know.

Now, write that person a helpful email (but publish it to your entire audience).
Once you know exactly who your dream client is, go ahead and write them an email. Read it out loud. Does it sound like something you would actually say to that specific person? And if you were to actually share this content with your dream customer, what kinds of follow-up or clarifying questions would they ask next?

how to work with dream clients

Be sure to include that next-level information in your email too – that’s where the secret sauce is. Now… publish this email as a blog post or newsletter that goes out to your entire list! It might feel too specific since you were just writing it to one person but – I promise – that’s the content that resonates with hundreds.


>> Free mini-training: GET THE DREAM CLIENTS YOU WANT<<
Join Tara & Kathleen for a live webinar on March 31st at 12PM central
Save your spot here
(A recording will be available at the same link you RSVP)

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How to Package Your Coaching Offering | Braid Creative & Consulting

packaging your coaching offering

Last week I shared a few tips and strategies for branding and selling yourself as a coach. Today what I really want to share with you is how to package your coaching engagements in a way that will help you close more deals, get more clients, and confidently take those clients through a structured process that delivers exactly what they’re looking for.

set up a coaching business

1. Identify your coaching style

Last week we talked about narrowing in on your niche as a way to get specific about what you do, but what’s the tone and style of how you work: Are you a tough-love coach? An intuitive coach? A step-by-step methodical coach?

A great way to find your true coaching style is by explaining to your best friend what you do. You want this to be someone who is familiar with your work but maybe doesn’t totally understand what you do for a living all day. Share with her a couple case studies of what you do. Better yet, grab your smart phone and hit “record” on the conversation. As you listen back on the conversation of “what you do,” you’ll start to see themes, common words, and phrases rise to the surface. And because you’re talking to your best friend, you’re not putting up any fronts or using confusing industry jargon.

2. Clarify your offering

The great thing about being a coach—or creative entrepreneur in general—is the flexibility and freedom to work with your clients any way you like. But this can be a double-edge sword that can leave your engagements feeling unstructured and as if you’re reinventing the wheel every time you work. It’s a trap I’ve seen far too many coaches fall in. Without a clarified offering, your potential dream client isn’t going to feel confident hiring you.

structure a coaching business

Start packaging your offerings by laying out:

  • A list of topics and tools you use to help your clients throughout your engagement
  • The frequency and duration in which you’ll work with your clients (how many sessions over how many weeks / months)
  • How you meet with your clients (over the phone? in person? on Skype?)
  • How much it costs and how you like to be paid

pricing your coaching offerings

It’s important to note that your packaged offering (or offerings) is the thing that will change the most in your business. With each client you work with, you’ll see what works, what doesn’t, and refine and reiterate your offering and services (and positioning!) accordingly. So don’t be afraid that by defining an offering you’re boxing yourself in!

We get asked a lot how many packages you should offer – I think two is great and anything more than three gives your potential client too many options. (This is why we don’t believe in a la carte-ing your offerings either!)

3. Worksheets work!

Unless you’re an experienced coach with loads of confidence, going into a conversation without a solid process is super risky. The conversation can easily go off the rails leaving you and your client feeling all “WTF” by the end of the session. My best piece of advice is to structure your coaching sessions around specific homework exercises and worksheets! It’s doesn’t have to be anything fancy. These worksheets simply act as a conversation facilitator. They help you share (and remember!) your tools and how you help. Plus, they’ll help your client stay on track and feel like they’re actually “doing” something. It’s a win-win!

creating a coaching business

A worksheet can be tricked out with charts and graphs or it can be as simple as prompts followed by blank spaces available to fill in. Start by listing out all your typical tools. Imagine that you’re explaining them to your client and how much easier it would be to share these tools if you had them summed up in a worksheet! Grab a stack of paper and start sketching by hand what these exercises would look like. From there you can give you sketches to a designer to refine or DIY it.

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Lastly, I want to share with you a worksheet that comes straight from Lesson 3 of the Braid Method ECourse. Use this exercise, The Steps You Always Take, to map out what your client’s situation looks like before they work with you and what they get when you’re done. Then, fill in how you as the coach or guide get from start to finish to get the results you want to deliver.

DOWNLOAD: THE STEPS YOU ALWAYS TAKE WORKSHEET

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Branding Yourself as a Coach | Braid Creative & Consulting

branding yourself as a coach

It’s pretty clear that the coaching profession is booming right now. Perhaps you were at the forefront of that boom, blazing the trail before anyone even knew what that meant! Or perhaps you’re just now making your coaching dream real.

Maybe you haven’t gotten your coaching business vision completely off the ground yet – but you can’t ignore that gut feeling that coaching is the path for you.

Kathleen here, and I’m guessing that regardless of how long you’ve been working with clients (months or years), you’ve always been a leader of one kind or another—whether that’s a guiding influence on those around you, or their go-to thoughtful listener. You’re the person your friends turn to when they need a reliable sounding board.

Maybe you’ve already carved out a name for yourself as a coach or a creative entrepreneur, and now you want to transition to teaching and coaching others what you know.

Perhaps you have been on a creative entrepreneurial path that isn’t quite coaching, but you find your followers and peers (your people!) asking you for guidance. They are asking you how to build the same kind of business, sustainability, and success that you’ve been able to create for yourself. They ask enough—and you put out the content enough (for free!)—that you’re feeling compelled to integrate a coaching, teaching, or guiding element into your existing business plan. But, transitioning from selling your services to selling your guidance can put you back on shaky ground with your own brand positioning again.

branding for coaches

Whether they are life coaches, wellness coaches, or business coaches – 100% of the coaches we’ve branded at Braid always come to us with questions, self-doubts, or challenges when it comes to selling their intuitive gifts, capturing their own personal brand style and voice, and positioning themselves as a professional, credible, and trusted guide.

So today, I want to give you our best pieces of advice when it comes to branding and positioning yourself as a coach.

1) Get coached, credentialed, and confident.

One of the first ways I learned that coaching might be something I’d be interested in doing myself is connecting with and loving the experience of being coached by an experienced and talented coach. So if you think you might like to be a coach, but have never been coached, that’s a good first step.

I had been inadvertently practicing coaching through my one-on-one branding engagements – it turns out working through the process to uncover an authentic personal brand means that the conversations get, well, personal. But when it came to formally offering coaching as a service, I wasn’t quite as confident. So three years ago, I went through a 9-month long coaching training with Martha Beck. That training and certification—combined with lots of practice—gave me the confidence I needed to officially brand myself as a coach. Plus, I began to naturally wrap coaching tools into the 1:1 services I was already offering and freely sharing and writing about the tools I was learning as a way to transition my positioning and offering in a logical way that wouldn’t confuse my potential clients or diffuse my existing expertise.

TRY THIS: If you’re thinking about trying on a new career in coaching, think about what will give you the most confidence in launching your own coaching offering. Is it training? Credentials? Blending coaching into your existing offering? Writing? Branding?

Launching a coaching business

2) Narrow in on your niche

A lot of the creatives we work with who are transitioning from a hands-on career where they’ve been doing the work (designing, painting, photographing, teaching, etc.) to developing their own coaching practice get a lot of confidence from being able to articulate their brand and getting clarity on their own purpose when it comes to coaching.

It’s not enough to say that you help to empower women to transform or embody their best selves. You need to get specific about the challenges, opportunities, and goals your dream customer is facing. The more you can narrow in on the tangible and real-world results your client wants and needs, the better you’ll be able to sell what you’re offering.

TRY THIS: Draw a line down a sheet of paper. On the left side list all the BEFORE qualities, relationships, hobbies, career, body, attitudes, and circumstances your client possesses. On the right side list what your client looks like AFTER they work with you. The more specific you get, the more you’ll begin to narrow in on how your purpose and coaching style helps make real changes.

3) Have a structured process

Coaching is incredibly difficult to sell. Yes you’re selling tools and guidance that can change the course of your client’s life, but when it comes down to it, what you’re delivering is a 1-hour conversation over a specified number of weeks. Those conversations come at a premium, which can give your potential clients cold feet real fast. The biggest objection from your dream customer might look like this: “Sure, she helped so-and-so, but how do I know she can help me?” Here at Braid, we believe the best way to sell what you offer at a premium and without desperation is to simply explain how you work. The more structure you have around your engagement, the more your potential client will trust that they can fit into your proven process.

TRY THIS: Your process doesn’t have to be elaborate. In fact, if you get too step-by-step-by-step-by-step detailed, you may create a rigid vibe or perceived time-obstacle for your potential clients. Write one or two sentences each for what always happens at the beginning, middle, and end of an engagement with you. Then, go back in add a few bullets with very specific examples of what you mean (i.e. homework for your client, asking them to try a new practice, asking them to let go of a bad habit, adjusting the approach along the way, delivering a plan of action they can follow after your engagement is done, or any followup or other offerings you’d like to make available to them). The steps make your potential client feel at ease that you are going to guide this ship. The examples make it feel “real” for them and pave the way for realistic expectations.

coaching branding

4) Get a polished brand identity.

We talk a lot about positioning and expertise – and we think those two things will take you far. But when it comes to differentiating yourself amongst all the other coaches out there, a polished brand identity will take your presence and authority to the next level. So right now, take a look at your website. Does it feel like you? Is it conveying the tone you want to be known for?

TRY THIS: One of our favorite ways to help our clients uncover a look and feel that’s authentic to them is to describe their dream home office. Is it cozy and eclectic with lots of plants and cacti? Or is it modern with white walls and cedar ceilings? What kinds of fabrics and textures is your cozy corner sofa made from? Describe your rugged distressed desk and pop-of-color mid-century chair. All the words you use to describe your dream room can translate directly to your logo and website and are great words to share with your graphic designer or web developer.

Need more help? We have two ways:

  1. The Braid Method Branding ECourse is great if you already have a brand identity you’re proud of but need help with your positioning and articulating what you do and for whom. If you’ve enjoyed this blog post, which is like a mini-course in itself, you are going to feel like the Braid ECourse was made for you. (Because it was! It’s all the behind-the-scenes guidance, exercises, and best practices we’ve given the hundreds of creative entrepreneurs and coaches we’ve worked with over the years.)

  2. The Braid Method Brand Development, 1:1 With Us! This is where we do it for you! Of course, it’s a highly collaborative process, starting with learning all about your style, your expertise, and your business vision, moving into a inner facing vision guide that will roadmap out where you’ve been, where you’re going, and what you really want to be known for, and ending in a complete brand platform with images, headlines, positioning, and all the language layers you need to feel like you’re going to stand out for your own “personal flavor” and come across as the legit, packaged, polished professional you are. Ask about working with us. We’ll send an outline of what you get, how long it takes, and what it costs to work together!

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THE BRAID BLOG from TARA AND KATHLEEN
Braid Creative & Consulting is branding and visioning for creative entrepreneurs and purposeful businesses. The Braid Blog is where we share weekly insights and resources for getting clear about your vision and voice, sharing content that attracts your dream client, and creating the brand positioning you want to be known for.

Learn more about how to work with Braid here >

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blend who you are & what you do,

share & sell your creative expertise,

attract your dream customers,

& make your business vision real

This ecourse is for creative people like designers, photographers, stylists, lifestyle coaches, wellness professionals, yogis, foodies, writers, bloggers, and creative consultants. Whether you’re just starting out, or have lots of experience, our step-by-step guidance will help you create a brand and business vision that feels more clear, confident, and like the true you.


 


 

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