One of the BEST things about running an online done-for-you business is that if you’re good at what you do, you keep your clients for a looooooong time.
Unlike most other online businesses (like coaching, ecommerce, course creation) where clients are served for a finite amount of time, your business model is set up so that, if you’re both happy in the working relationship, you can stay in it infinitely.
This is the best news ever because it means in comparison to all of those other businesses, you have to market less, sell less and spend less of your valuable, precious time on client acquisition (and more of it actually doing work that makes you money). Because you have the ability to keep your clients for longer and have way lower client turnover, you spend less time on client acquisition-type tasks.
Here’s what else this means. In order to reap the benefits of your business model and keep clients long-term, you have to know what clients are a fit for the way you run your business.
Because if you keep taking on clients who aren’t a true fit, you WILL have high turnover and because of that you’ll be on that same hamster-wheel client acquisition sitch as everyone else.
Here’s how you avoid that: DATE YOUR CLIENTS.
STEP 1: Boundaries
Before you start working with your first or next client, identify what you need to feel happy in the relationship. You’ve likely been in client relationships before that weren’t a match, but do you know why? Did they text you too much on your personal cell phone? Expect work to be completed with little to no notice? Clearly identify what you need your clients to understand about your work together and how you need to run your business so that it works for your life (ie boundaries). Once you have this clarity, you can bring this to the table on your first date (your discovery call) and use that info to make sure you’re a boundary-fit for each other.
STEP 2: Ask Questions
On your first date (discovery call) ask a TON of questions about your clients business, their needs, their personality, the way they work best with their team, issues they’ve had in the past with their team + what they did about it and what their expectations are from your working relationship. Just like you wouldn’t go on a second date with someone if you didn’t like the conversation you had on the first, you shouldn’t sign on to support someone if you didn’t like the conversation you had on a discovery call. But if you aren’t asking the right questions, you won’t know if it’s time to take it to the next level.
STEP 3: Set Up a Trial
If it seems like you and the potential client are a fit for each other, start your relationship out on a trial basis. You wouldn’t move in with someone after 1 date, right? You’d get to know them more before you entered into a long-term, committed relationship. This is why I advise my 1:1 clients to start their working relationships on a trial period. Because you want to have an eject button ready to go at any time during your first few dates in case you’re seeing red flags and need to get out ASAP before you’re contractually obligated to stay.
In order to make the benefits of your business model work for you, you have to be willing to ask the hard questions so that you can say YES to the right clients and NO to everyone else. My clients who have the most financially sustainable businesses are also the clients who say they have the most “dream clients”. Because they are so crystal clear on their boundaries, they are able to find and keep clients who are respectful of them. They keep their clients longer, their clients LOVE the work they do and they also experience the most work-life balance.
Want better clients? Get better at dating your potential clients before you move in with them.