As always, my main objective is to teach you how to maximize your minutes and get more clients for your solopreneur business as efficiently as possible. Well, there is *literally* nothing that will help you to do that more than to define your ideal audience.
In fact, none of your content creation, social media efforts, or sales training will be nearly as impactful as they could be unless you get laser-focused about who your business helps.
What is an ideal audience?
Over the years that you have been working, going to school, and living a life you have learned so many amazing skills. You are a unique and talented person with a ton of gifts to offer to potential clients.
However, if you try to start a solopreneur business that can help everyone with everything, you’re going to fail.
I’m sorry to be harsh but, that is just the cold hard truth.
Think about it, if you want to buy a cup of coffee, do you go to a diner? Or, do you go to a coffee shop?
The coffee shop, right? And, you go to the coffee shop because you figure they know coffee better than the diner because that is what they specialize in.
It’s the same in online business. While you have many gifts that you can share with people, all of which would benefit them in some way, you must narrow those gifts to a specialty.
And, that is where identifying your ideal audience comes in.
An ideal audience is a group of people that you focus your business on helping. Many new online business owners focus on building their businesses around themselves. In other words, what they have to offer.
Don’t do that.
Instead, think about who you can help the most with your business, and focus all of your efforts to get more clients on how you can help them.
That group of people is your ideal audience.
Why is it important to know your target audience?
Working to define your target audience is INCREDIBLY important to the success of all online businesses. But, it is especially important in the solopreneur space.
Because you are in the business of helping people solve problems. Whether you are a coach working post-partum women or, you are a virtual assistant who specializes in Facebook ads, your clients have pain points and you can help.
Your clients are looking for someone who understands what they are going through and who specializes in their specific situation.
To earn their trust, and ultimately make the sale, you must communicate that you understand and that you can help.
And, not only that you can help but, that you can help them better than anyone else can.
All of your content (blog posts, podcast episodes, videos, social media posts, etc) must communicate to that one “type of person” that you can help with that one issue that is plaguing them.
So, with all of your knowledge and experience, how are you supposed to narrow things down to a specialty?
How to identify your target audience
Once you have decided which type of solopreneur business you want to start, it’s time to narrow down who you help with your business.
For instance, if you have decided you want to be a freelance writer, you need to figure out who you write for. And, if you want to be a coach, you need to figure out who you coach.
Your Zone of Genius
So, you’ve decided on a solopreneur business that you want to start but, you’re not sure who you should work with. First, start with thinking about everything you’ve done to get you to this place.
Think about all of the audiences that you have interacted with in your life up to now. Is there one group that really stands out?
For instance, if you have worked as a barista at some point in your career, is there one person or group of customer that you had an easier time connecting with than others. Was it the professional businessman who came for his morning cup of coffee? Or, was it the stay-at-home mom who walked her sleeping kiddo up to the coffee shop in the stroller?
During your career, education, and life there has been a group of people who you feel more at ease with than others. People who you let your guard down with and feel very comfortable being yourself around.
Who are those people? What do they do for a living? What do they worry about? And, what kind of solution do they need from you and the type of business that you want to start?
When you’re a solopreneur who is trying to grow their business, you’re basically a content machine in the beginning. Writing blog posts, making video content, going live, etc. it all requires time and creativity.
Plus, a huge part of the reason that you’re starting this business is that you want to love what you do every day. In fact, when you love what you do, your success is inevitable.
When you have an ideal audience in mind who you are truly passionate about helping, you can’t help but, put in the long hours outside of your full-time job to create the content that solves their problems.
To feel truly inspired to help your ideal audience, you have to understand them. And, that is way easier to do if you can relate to them somehow. So, think about yourself and what you would look for if you were a client of yourself.
Does that make sense?
For instance, if you have chosen to start a business as a money mindset coach, imagine that you are a client looking for a money mindset coach.
What are you looking for in your coach? Which qualities could your coach have that would make you choose them over any other? Why do you need a money mindset coach? Are you a single mom who is trying to raise kids on her own? Or, are you a new college graduate who wants to pay off debt and buy a house?
Ask A Magic 8 Ball
But, asking a search engine is kind of the same thing. Except the search engine is going to give you accurate results that you can actually use to help with your decision.
For this exercise, I recommend YouTube, Pinterest, and Google.
Yes, YouTube and Pinterest are both search engines in the same way that Google is. That means they index user search words and phrases to give suggestions to their users.
So, start with a brain dump.
Think of all of the “types of people” you would feel inspired to help. Write them all down. And, don’t worry about being specific. You can just write down “moms” or “entrepreneurs”.
Now, head to Google and type in “your type of business for your group of people.”
For instance, “bookkeeper for life coaches”
The search results include several websites of people who are bookkeepers for life coaches.
Check out their sites and see how they resonate with you. What are their services? Does it seem like there is a real need for this business? Read the comments on their blog posts or YouTube videos. Are you feeling passionate about diving in and helping this group of people?
STOP AND READ THIS NEXT SENTENCE …
Do not … I REPEAT … do NOT get discouraged about your business idea if there are pages and pages of search results of people already doing it.
You are a unique and special individual. And, your business will help people in only the unique and special way that you can. Seeing pages of search results for your idea is a good thing. It means the business idea is tested and proven.
There are 7 billion people in the world.
There is enough work to go around for everyone.
Just focus on who you would feel inspired to help. That is your ideal audience.
How to reach your ideal audience
So, once you have identified who you’re talking to and what you’re saying to them, you have to decide where you connect with them.
In this respect, online business is very similar to brick and mortar business. For instance, if you have a massage business, you’re not going to rent a booth at the local “farm and garden” expo.
But, if you have a mobile massage business that specializes in using massage to reduce stress in horses and their riders before shows and competitions, that booth at the expo makes perfect sense.
It’s no different in the online world. Once you know who your audience is, you need to identify where they are spending time online and be there.
Don’t bother spending time on Twitter if your target audience is women ages 65 years and older who are looking for training programs for hiking.
This one is a no-brainer. But, the parts that take some thinking and strategy are which social media and what to say. To decide which social media platforms, do a little research on the demographics for each.
You can Google search, “Twitter demographics YYYY” (add the year to the end of the search) to get the latest information about who is spending time on Twitter that year. Compare that data to your ideal audience data and, if they don’t match up, put that one at the bottom of your list.
Since you’re likely working full-time while growing your solopreneur business on the side, your time is precious. Focus on the social media platforms in order of best fit.
Once you know which social media platforms you’re going to spend time on, you need to think about what you’re going to say. The easiest way to do this is to follow the social media accounts for other people in your field. In other words, stalk your competition.
Make a list of 4 or 5 people who you consider mentors in your field and follow their social media accounts. Get an idea of how often they post and take a look at the posts that get a lot of comments or shares. Compare that to the kind of information you think will help your audience and create a plan for your own profile.
Guest posting is a fantastic way to reach more people and grow your business online. Basically, you send a helpful, informative, and valuable post to another online business owner and they publish it on their blog.
But, you have to be SMART about it. Don’t waste your time writing a post and submitting it to AutoTrader.com – yes, they have a bajillion pageviews per month but, their audience has nothing to do with you.
If you want to get some serious traction with your guest posting, you need to make a list of people in your space who have an audience that could benefit from your business.
For instance, if you are a blog post writer for WordPress developers, you should reach out to sites that focus on technology and see if they allow guest posting.
You are not direct competition to these sites – you are ADDING VALUE for their audience. If you’re always thinking about how you can help people, you can’t go wrong.
If you’re unsure how to approach guest posting, this guide is incredibly helpful and FREE.
This is really similar to guest posting – you want to reach out to podcasters who have an audience that you can help. Take a look at the podcasts on iTunes and study what kinds of episodes they publish.
Listen to the episodes that you think align well with your message and think about how you could add to that episode or, how you could take that topic in a different direction that is still helpful.
Reach out to the podcaster and pitch them your idea. Be careful with this. You need to do your research and make sure that the idea you’re pitching is going to ADD VALUE to their audience.
Otherwise, you just sound spammy and fake.
Knowing your ideal audience is the single most important thing you can do to ensure the success of your solopreneur business. The next step is to decide which services you offer as a new business!