How To Find The Perfect Client in Four Easy Steps

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Attract the client that is happy to pay you, trusts your expertise and is your exact target audience.

Micro-managers. No budget clients. The invisible client.
Disrespectful Dave. Know-It-All Noel.

Sound familiar?

When I went from the world of corporate design to freelance graphic design, I felt the difference immediately. The process is different. I also experienced a series of difficult clients, until I figured out what I needed to do to prevent this from happening EVER again...if I could help it. If this sounds like you, keep reading!

• how to be strategic to increase business
• how to be prepared with pricing
• how to attract the perfect client, even if you don't need work right now
• how to design pins on Pinterest to gain a following and get more business.
  (Trust building 101 + Pin branding)

Avoiding the kind of client I described above, takes a little planning and a clear vision of what you provide your clients, who your clients are, how much you want to charge and much more. So, let's get started getting you more of the clients you want, right?!

1. Strategy Pays off

Worksheets have definitely helped me reach my business goals or at least have me on the road to reaching them. Lately, I have been such a worksheet junkie. I pin them, I make them, I use them. They are a very useful way of putting together a solid strategy.

I think all of my homeschooling is rubbing off on my business! But, by doing things one worksheet at a time, it makes the big picture seem more do-able. In fact, when I print out worksheets for my kids for individual lessons, they don't think of it as's fun, different.

My last 12 years of freelancing did not include much proactive planning in the area of marketing, especially online marketing. It just all seemed too big and therefore I didn't make time for it. Besides, my mindset was that I only had time to design. I didn't have a business degree, I had a design degree and I was happy with clients coming to me by word-of-mouth. They did, and they weren't always the right fit, but I needed the money. This caused me much stress, but the clients that were the most difficult, taught me valuable lessons. If I could give you two take-aways from those years, they would be to be strategic and set boundaries. My hope is, that my articles can help you do this and that you will be successful according to your own set of rules.

So now it is time to cue my free downloadable worksheet made just for step 1!

2. Be Prepared: Know Your Pricing Formula

Answering the question, "How much do you charge?", when you don't have a pricing plan, is a stressful situation. If you don't have a clear answer for a potential client, you could loose the project when they sense a lack of confidence in your answer.

Choose an hourly rate or create a Package Pricing Document like I did and you will feel an immediate weight lifted off your shoulders. I am not kidding! To help you do just that, check out my Design Shop and download the Media Kit Planner Workbook. It is easy to use and pretty too, with quotes and tips that help make the experience more enjoyable and effective.

This article is great, about following your instinct and listening to the "little birdie", and is a short interview with Michael A. Stern, written by Ilise Benun.  For more reading on how to specifically price your design services, check out How to Charge for Your Graphic Design Work (& Get What You Deserve)

3. Reach your Target Market

Start By Creating a System for Generating Business While You Work on Current Projects

Even if you have business right now, you need to take the time to create a system of reaching your target market for future business. I call this seed planting time and has turned out to be one of my favorite new things that I have added to my business plan.

Schedule Your Write and Reach

While you are working on your current clients, pick one or two days a week to start writing. Schedule times for writing and research into your calendar and stick to it.

I would get a pretty calendar. Buy something that you will love seeing everyday! Anthropology and I Heart Organizing have great planners and calendars! I personally use a binder and I print out planning pages from I Heart Organizing. Jen is extremely organized and has great systems for the organized-challenged (like me) by disguising them as very pretty worksheets, which I love.

If you want to start creating branding for events, such as weddings, join the Wedding and Event Coordinators Group. Get the idea? It really doesn't take much time and is fun to do a little investigating into where you can find your potential clients...all without leaving your house!

Put the day or days per month you want to post on LinkedIn, on your calendar, write a blog and eventually do a guest blog post (this is on my list of things to do before the end of 2015). I know! When I found out that I needed to write online articles, I felt unprepared because my mind kept telling me "I am a designer, not a writer"! In reality the writing has helped my design and since I design in between homeschooling my kids, I think of it as priming the pump for when I have room in my calendar for more design projects.

* Disclaimer: I am not a grammar expert and I typically write in a loose, conversational manner, and there will be mistakes from time to time. I apologize in advance! If you are not a grammar expert or even a great writer, like me, don't let that stop you. Be you and your message will shine through to those it is meant to reach.

4. Pinterest Power

Imagine reaching 100 million people all in one place!

According to Entrepreneur Magazine, Pinterest is driving more traffic to websites than Twitter, YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn combined, and that was back in 2014.

In 2015, 67% of content pinned to Pinterest were from business websites.

Ready for a stunning statistic? Well, I was shocked to see that 5% of U.S. small business use Pinterest. The creative businesses that I researched saw increases of up to 800% in their businesses, after only 4 months of executing a Pinterest marketing strategy. That shows you how good your chances are of experiencing growth from this tactic, because it is likely that your competition is not using it! WOAH!

For more statistics, go the article where I found the above info, By the numbers: 40+ Interesting Pinterest Statistics for Businesses and one on How to Attract Customers Through Pinterest by Mitch Meyerson.

Entrepreneurs, like graphic designers, copywriters, web designers, photographers, calligraphers, even event planners and more, can find their perfect client here on Pinterest. If you do nothing else, start with this platform. It is better to focus on one marketing strategy at a time to see results anyway, and this is where I would start...after creating a blog and website of course.

Do you want to create an account? has a step by step article and an easy to follow infographic to get you set up on Pinterest.

Already have an account, but want to get more clients and schedule them ahead of your drought season?

Create a successful Pinterest marketing plan by doing these things:

Write a blog post, daily (Some people do, don't fall off your chair!), weekly or monthly.
Research. Go to Pinterest and put the words marketing or branding in the search bar. See which pins catch your eye and inspire you to click on them.
Create a branded image to pin that links to your website's helpful article and is consistent with your brand's own look and feel. Design a template that you will use each time, just replace the image and blog title.
Create a pin board with your business name or style of design work you will be pinning, like "Branding" or "Wedding Photography". Use key words so when your perfect client is searching with these specific words, they will find YOU.
Put a call to action on your pin and in your article. Keep in mind, your CTA should have exactly what you want your audience to do. These things would include, but are not limited to: signing up for your newsletter, contacting you for a consultation, taking a look at your portfolio or testimonials, etc. I am still fine tuning mine and looking to add more, a little at a time.

What is the one thing in this article that you want to add to your business and marketing plan?

Jean Coelho