A couple of weeks ago I totally shut my digital life down for the weekend and took a break from work. It was so great on Monday to sit back down feeling rested and refreshed. Although I try not to work on the weekends, I often find myself doing something small then getting sucked in for hours. You know how that goes, right?
So, I had a lot of time to think while I was “unplugged” and much of my thoughts were focused on my clients and past clients. We all hear about the mythical “dream client”. The clients who love us before they even talk to us, who can’t wait to work with us and pay us, too! Fortunately, I have a lot of those clients but it wasn’t always like that. For a while I had only nightmare clients. The ones who didn’t pay on time, emailed me at 2am, dropped off the face of the earth only to return with outlandish demands and the worst part – never said, “Thank You”. I recognized early on that working for clients like this wasn’t what “working for myself” was all about. I was back in the same position I was at a 9-5, doing rushed work, for not much money and not loving the result. No thanks. But part of finding these fantastical clients is figuring out, then telling the world who you work for. I started curating my own client list by 1. firing the nightmares. 2. pinpointing the types of projects I had that made me the most satisfied financially and personally and 3. finding more of those clients. In the beginning, I focused on photographers and other makers. It’s still the same way now, really. The problem was that I didn’t really have any of those types of clients. So, I contacted some. I reached out and said, “Hey, I like your work and I think I can help your branding”. It was uncomfortable. It didn’t always work. But then it did. The first branding project I did for a photographer has been pinned on Pinterest over 500 times. Guess what I charged? Zero dollars. I did it to start connecting with more of those types of clients, with a similar style and aesthetic. So, my time investment paid off and is still paying off. Now, I am refocusing on my dream clients. Working through the last crazy few months has helped me define my perfect clients even more. It’s an evolution that changes and flexes with each project. For now, I am finding that I am loving working with just outside of my original client wish list. Lawyers, marketers, an actress – all clients that have allowed me to stretch my creativity and provide something truly valuable to them – a professional brand they are connected with. Anyone who values that – is truly my perfect client.
Side note: Big things are happening around here! I am starting at a co-working space next week. It’s called Foster and I am honored and excited to be one of the first members of something that is going to change the Atlanta creative community. I’ll be getting out of my home office and working alongside other small business people like photographers, designers, developers and start-ups. I’ll be posting lots of pics and hope to interview a few of my new “co-workers”. Now, get out there and make it happen. But also make sure to take some time off :). Cheers!