How To Tell If Your Dream Customer Is Actually Dreamy

04-Jun-2014

Well, “nightmare” might be a bit harsh. But it played off of “dream” so nicely – and really, nightmares are kind of just waiting to happen whenever you work with non-dreamy customers. Misaligned expectations, unclear needs, differing aesthetics, unfulfilling end-product, Freddy Krueger coming towards you in his weird striped-sweater-fedora combo… (shudder). Wake me up!

Figuring out exactly who you work with best helps you in two ways. One, you can find them easier, by creating content that speaks directly to them. And two, you can work with them easier, because you’re able to be such an expert for their needs. Super dreamy-sounding, right? So – how can you tell if your idea of your dream customer is right-on or a bit off? 

Liz here. Along with Tara and Kathleen, it's my job to guide all of our clients through our Braid Method. I see lots of patterns and disconnects come up when it comes to their own dream customers. Here are some not-so-dreamy assumptions we see entrepreneurs make time and time again, when figuring out who their dream customer is:



"I want to work with _________, but 
I'm afraid they'll see me as _________."


Maybe the “nightmare” is really just letting your fear and self-doubt get the best of you. What you think of as a barrier, is actually an opportunity. What you see as a weakness, is actually a strength! We see this take so many forms. Maybe you think you're too old, or have had a lot of random past experience in totally different fields. You're actually just wise and well-rounded – a guide for younger or less-experienced clients. Shift your perspective, own it, and move on.

Or maybe you think you're too young (or don't have enough experience) to appeal to your dream customers, and that they won't take you seriously. But if you can show that you’re a creative expert (without proving it too hard), age and experience are irrelevant. Still think you need more schooling? Learn by doing.



"I think my dream customer is everyone! 
(Or maybe I just have a hard time saying 'no.')"


Sometimes your dream customer isn't just who you want to attract, but who you can help the most. Look at what you offer, what your true strengths are (what you're great at vs. just what you can do) – and consider what kind of client can benefit from that the most. Someone who needs more guidance and direction, or someone who knows exactly what they want? An engagement where you just come in for one small piece of the puzzle, or where you handle everything from start to finish? 

For example: About six months ago, we stopped offering web design and development. Sure, we can do it, and it’s a nice complement to what we currently offer – but we realized we’d rather take two creatives through a Brand & Business Vision Guides than one website (and they cost the same). We knew our customers were better served when we helped them with visioning and branding, and left web design and development to the real web experts. Now we happily recommend a small handful of web experts who love working with our files and clients – and everyone is better off because of it.

Bottom line? Being “an expert” means getting daringly narrow. And the narrower you can get about what you do and for whom, the better. And don’t forget - even though you’re helping them, they need to help you too! You deserve dream projects that pay.

"My dream customer is exactly like me!"

Sometimes when our clients start describing their dream customer, they’re really just describing themselves. We recently had a client who started out thinking that her dream customers were highly-creative urban-homesteading makers (like herself) - but soon realized that they probably couldn’t afford her work! After some thought, she figured out that her dream customers were actually women like herself a few years ago: living in a city, but dreaming of things like having a vegetable garden or raising chickens, wanting to be more creative and valuing handmade, but also still shopping at places like West Elm and Target. 

Sometimes we confuse “dream customer” with “dream comrade.” Dream comrades follow your blog, and may overlap in several areas of interest or work – but they may never become customers. And that’s okay! Comrades are your community, your tribe, your support system. But sharing content with them (or selling to them) is like preaching to the choir. And that’s why you need dream customers, too.

Dream customers may follow your blog, but in a more aspirational way. Maybe because their lives look very different than yours, or they’re a few years younger than you and interested in the path you’ve taken. So instead of preaching to the choir, you’re a guide, always 2-3 steps ahead of them. Your content becomes the breadcrumbs that they gather as they follow you, and that establishes your expertise.

You can share content with both in mind – just make sure you’re selling specifically to your dream customer.

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Braid Method Branding for Creatives ECourse

The Braid Method Branding ECourse is for creative entrepreneurs who are ready to support themselves financially with their business, create a blog or consistent online presence, and finally turn the work they’re already doing into a digital product, package, or offering for dream customers. This branding ecourse comes with 7 learning modules in a 300+ page digital download, a workbook with 20+ branding exercises and scripts, a quarterly masterclass, and an exclusive Facebook group so you can connect with us and other students.

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