I've been coaching small business owners and solopreneurs for a long time. I've naturally attracted and worked with people interested in working for themselves and love to hear what they have to offer.
More important than being able to set their own hours, the type of client I tend to attract has a strong desire to be creative, have fulfillment, and be of service.
The strong desire to serve can get a big tricky to manage in the beginning when one spends most of their days looking for clients.
This strong desire can also make it hard to charge for services. While it is common to offer services for a discounted rate or even free in the beginning, at some point in time it's important to transition from a "research and development" stance into regularly serving clients.
Let me explain what I mean. First, research and development for the solopreneur is important in determining ideal customers and problem. It's a good idea to test our product before spending a lot of time and money building a website or renting an office.
Some solopreneurs are lucky, they are discovered by someone they've worked with during, say, certification or training and are so good at what they do they get clients right away. But if you're not in this group, I suggest taking some time to get to know your ideal client. Often times who we end up attracting is different from who we imagined serving.
Research and development for the small business can take a variety of forms. Here are a couple of ideas to help you do some R&D without falling into the action for sake of action trap.
Ways to Find Your Ideal Clients
- Use a Feedback Questionnaire. In the past I've offered sessions for free in exchange for a post-session feedback survey. Having people go through sessions and talk about their experience right after the session and a few weeks later not only helped me determine how impactful my services were but also helped me build a small website with FAQs that helped other (ideal) clients find me.
- Do expert interviews, ie. interviews with experts in the field you'd like to join or support. Say you have a hunch your service might be good to offer in the HR space. It's good to connect with those who work in that space to help validate your hunch. The easiest way I've found to find such people is to join a professional organization and reach out to people.
Now you might be thinking, this seems like a lot of work. And, yes, it can be. But, I find that approaching it as a mindfulness practice can be extremely helpful. Just starting the conversation about what we'd like to do is so beneficial.
So don't be afraid to reach out to people, especially those who already know and trust you.
Getting into activity is one of the best things you can do to grow your business, and when done mindfully you can take small actions that are aligned with what you want to see in the world.
If you're a bit hesitant about your service, that's okay. It's natural to be. The quicker you get feedback about your product or service, the quicker you can fine tune your messaging so your ideal clients can find you.
In mindfulness for business, equanimity is the key attention skill to build up at this phase, so if you need a boost, check out the Feel Rest video here.