As children, we were introduced to the W questions: Who, What, When, Where, Why, and sometimes How (it’s apparently like the vowels and their hot-and-cold relationship with Y). Over the next few weeks, as we lead up to the kick-off of the Bionic Business Lab, I’m bringing you back to the online business basics so you can thrive, not just survive.

In last week’s post, we talked about how to determine your business What, but with a caveat–your What will be largely based on the people you choose to serve.

Now, we’ve all heard about the Ideal Client Avatar, and many a business coach has probably forced you to go through that exercise.

I am not that business coach.

I’m really opposed to the ICA, and I have been from the beginning. But I also think it’s important to know exactly who you want to serve. Perhaps it’s all semantics, but I take a different approach to your who.

This is my two-part Who exercise.

Part 1: Who do I think I want to serve? What is this person’s…

  • Occupation?
  • Motivation?
  • Personality?
  • Income or income potential?

Part 2: Who have I served? What have been my past clients’…

  • Occupation?
  • Motivation?
  • Personality?
  • Income or income potential?

The discrepancy between these two will be telling. Who you are attracting versus who you want to attract.

Part 1 is particularly useful when just starting out in your business. As you haven’t worked with anyone yet, the best you can do is guess. Once you’ve worked with a few people, you can decide whether you were on point (can I say “on fleek” here?) or off the mark, and whether to pivot your business (or messaging/positioning/branding) accordingly.

So why these four characteristics?

Occupation

I’m a business coach and I work with fellow creative entrepreneurs or wantrepreneurs. I tried getting more specific (because yes, there is a difference among freelancers and coaches and speakers….) but found that it didn’t really matter. I’ve helped artists, psychics, photographers, therapists, and others in addition to my “target” of consultants. I don’t really care what your business is, as long as you’re trying to grow a business. I care more about your…

Motivation

I work with creative entrepreneurs.

I work with creative entrepreneurs who are motivated by living unconventional lives, who believe in a different future of work, and who want to make damn good money doing it.

I do not work with creative entrepreneurs who are motivated solely by money. I do not work with people interested in venture capital to fund them.

If our motivations don’t mix, we probably won’t mix well.

Personality

I’m an introvert who attracts a lot of extroverted clients.

I do not just work with fellow INFJs (Meyers-Briggs kinda sucks scientifically anyway, but I fit the mold there).

I work with people who get excited about what they do. With overachievers. With people who love to learn. With fellow overeducated and underfulfilled pioneers in the world of work.

Yeah, that’s right, I’m getting all dream-speak here. Because that’s what’s important to me for client fit. But…

Income (or income potential)

…Let’s come back to earth for a moment. I cost money. I expect my clients to be on the path to make money. I need people who can pay me money now, because they know that they’re on the path to good income.

These are the ways I determine my “ICA” without getting ridiculous (they may or may not drive a yellow VW bug…what?). The Who is about the whole person, not the details.

Do you take a holistic approach to your ideal client?

Could you use a hand figuring this stuff out?

I work with a handful of creative entrepreneurs 1-on-1 every month.

Find out how by clicking here.