Choose Your Audience Before You Choose a Client

The first step to getting the things you want out of life is this:
Decide what you want.
Ben Stein
American actor, writer, lawyer and political commentator

When I was looking for my first office job, I met a man with a plan. He was a job hunting guru out to make a living selling his career books and networking tools.

Mr. Job Hunting Guru was a seasoned pro who exuded empathetic authority – he’d been there, done that and could teach me how to get to the other side.

He knew his material and how to reach his target audience (I and several others met him at a job fair). To hold our attention, he hosted free seminars during which he doled out shiny pearls of wisdom. Even his sales pitch sounded like he was just trying to help.

Three months after I met him, he asked me if the company I worked for had any openings.

His plan hadn’t worked.

Mr. Job Hunting Guru needed a job.

His target audience – the entry level unemployed – could not afford what he was selling.

We wanted to. He and his seminars were undeniably impressive, and his pricing was reasonable. But we simply couldn’t afford to cough up the money for his other products.

Just like Mr. Job Hunting Guru, you are your own business in charge of your own marketing plan.

And as a business (not a writer, a business), your target audience consists of two kinds of clients: those who can afford you and those who can’t.

I’m not going to tell you how to find clients. There are as many ways to do that as there are grains of sand in the Sahara. And I don’t mean that you should only target big-bucks glossies or Fortune 500 companies.

But whatever your freelancing marketing plan is, focus your efforts on clients with more than dust bunnies in their wallets. Because like Mr. Job Hunting Guru, it doesn’t matter how good you are if your target audience can’t foot the bill.

So target those who can.

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