When Your Dream Client Can’t Afford You

May 25, 2018

We’ve got a listener wondering what they should do when their dream client can’t afford their services. So we’re offering tips on getting in the right mindset to approach your dream client with what you want to charge and how to price your services fairly.



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"When you are a creative entrepreneur, you are getting paid to solve somebody's problem."
- Kathleen Shannon


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Kathleen Shannon 0:04
This being boss episode is brought to you by twenty20, where creative minds get authentic real world stock photos. If you're looking to tell a true story through your brand to deliver an honest message to your audience on social media, the photos you use will matter. twenty20 has crowdsource millions of photos from a community of over 350,000 photographers, all available under a simple royalty free license. Today, they're offering listeners of being boss a five photo free trial to start yours right now go to twenty20.com/beingboss. That's the word 20, then to zero.com slash being boss to get five free photos.

Caitlin Brehm 0:47
Emily Kathleen, I have a listener question for you today. And it is about what do you do when your dream Client Profile? Can't afford you? So this question comes from amber and just a little bit of background about her. She does book editing services for self published authors. And what she wants to do is niche her business to speculative fiction authors who are ready to launch their author platforms. But she says that most self publishing authors who write in these genres can't afford her company's premium services. They have creative day jobs, which don't pay well enough to fund their writing side hustle. And it seems like all the clients who can readily afford her services don't write in the genres, and therefore aren't her ideal clients that she wants to work with most. So here's her question. She says, What do you do when your dream client demographic doesn't match your business money goals or premium services that you know you are meant to provide? I'm good at what I do. And I know I provide value beyond my current hourly rate. But it feels like I've run into growth ceiling financially.

Emily Thompson 1:59
That's a good one. I feel like there are two paths here personally. One is adjust your offering, but keep your price the same. What is it that you can provide? That gets you to that price point that will better help people see the value, though you have just said that this is what you're meant to do for people. So maybe not that one, which leaves us with the second path, which is market yourself and go find the people who need what you want. Because it sounds like at the moment, the people who you're surrounding yourself with aren't actually your dream client, you need to go looking for them.

Kathleen Shannon 2:40
And Amber, your question is one that so many creative entrepreneurs have, whenever you're wanting to niche down, you're wanting to serve a certain group, but they do not have the money to afford you this is a real problem. And it's one that we've got to unpack, I feel like I can probably spend an hour talking about this because it's something that we've talked at length with a lot of our clients and our community about. So first and foremost, whenever you are a creative entrepreneur, you are getting paid to solve somebody's problem. And I think it's really cool that you are like getting really specific about who your dream client is. But one thing I would encourage you to do is get really specific about what problem you're solving. And this ties into Emily's suggestion of marketing. So you really want to in your marketing, be really clear about the problem your dream customer has, how you help them find a solution to that problem, how you coach them through it, what it is that you offer. And then that's the final thing is getting really specific about what you offer and what you deliver, the more real and the more clarity you have around describing what it is you do, the more people will find the money, or the time or the energy to hire you. So I think that your issue right now isn't necessarily that people can't afford you because, honestly, I've been doing branding for creative entrepreneurs for seven years now, the very same people who are probably your dream client as well. And they can afford it, they just can't and because also it's going to get them more money in the long run. So there's some mindset shifts to around, you know, them being able to afford you or not. And truly, this is something that I've said before, but it's none of your business, whether or not they can afford you. What's your business is what you're offering and what you're pricing it up. What do you all think about that?

Emily Thompson 4:39

Caitlin Brehm 4:40
Well, one of the things she says here too, is she knows she provides value beyond her current hourly rate. So it kind of sounds like she wants to move from working hourly to having these packages for her knees. And there's kind of a disconnect there. Or maybe that's like a harder pill for her clients to swallow. when really it Probably all evens out, or is about the same cost for them in the end.

Kathleen Shannon 5:04
Yes. So this is another thing is don't charge hourly, especially if the if your dream customer is running a side hustle. And, you know, for them, they're, they're working probably a day job that is salaried. Like, it doesn't make sense to charge them hourly, because they're just not in that world, right? Like they're not used to hiring people at this like hourly contracted rate. And then also you don't know like To what end so I agree definitely package up your offering a really great resource for this is freshbooks CEO Mike McDermott, he wrote an amazing book called breaking the time barrier. This is one of the first things I read as I was freelancing, and it changed the game, whenever it comes to charging hourly versus packaging up what it is that you're offering, and selling it at that rate, I think it just makes it easier for people to hire you.

Emily Thompson 5:56
I also always see packaging up your offering is you positioning yourself as the expert if you are, if you are hiring yourself out hourly, then you're allowing someone else to dictate what it is that you're going to be doing and to what end, whatever you're packaging up your services, you're saying, Look, I'm an expert on doing these things. And I have to be able to do this, this and this in order to get you this result. And this is how much at charge I charge to do this for you. And by doing that you're positioning yourself as the person that knows what has to happen in order to get the client the value that you want to give them but also they want to receive in return for paying you.

Kathleen Shannon 6:38
I'm also curious about like maybe playing around with dream customer a little bit because I know for me, when it comes to my dream customer it's not always centered around like who they are, what they do, or even their personality it's me feeling like that expert and packaging up what I do and delivering that in the best way possible. So for example, for amber just a few ideas might be why self publishing authors like what if you offered your services of book editing for speculative fiction to traditional publishers and you you know and then you go from like being hired by the end customer who the author writing the book to being then hired by publishing houses to do editing. There are a ton of them out there so I would just play around with like, what if you had to rethink your dream customer a little bit? What would that look like and I think that packaging up your offering can help you do that as well.

Caitlin Brehm 7:38
And Amber or anyone else who is looking for how to kind of go from that hourly rate to sort of packaging and pricing your services we have a really great training for you that you can find at being boss that club slash money. Love it.

Kathleen Shannon 7:54
All right now go do the work. Amber, your your problem is one that a lot of us have. It is so tricky. So again, just to recap, play around with who your dream customer is play around with packaging up your offering versus hourly. What else did we say?

Emily Thompson 8:10
expand your circle of people and learn to market and sell yourself?

Kathleen Shannon 8:15
Alright, do the work.

Kathleen Shannon 8:19
This minisode was brought to you by twenty20. Check them out at twenty20.com/beingboss. That's t w e n t y 20 as in the number.com slash being boss.

Emily Thompson 8:33
Did you like this minisode Be sure to check us out on our website at beingboss.club. There you can find more from being boss including our full episodes minisodes and blog posts. And while you're there, be sure to sign up for our mailing list so that you can get access to behind the scenes and exclusive content from Kathleen and myself to help you be more boss in your work and life. Do the work the boss