When it comes to running a business, every entrepreneur needs an ideal client avatar (ICA). Having an ideal client avatar helps you visualize the dream client you want to work with and serve. This keeps you focused on the right areas in your business.
Your ICA should be the perfect client for you, but that does not mean they don’t have challenges or struggles. In fact, if they were, they wouldn’t need your services after all, right?
Your ICA should be a real person, with a name, an occupation, a hometown, hobbies, and so on. That’s right, we’re getting REAL with who this ideal client is and what their client personality is like.
When determining your ideal client avatar, we like to think of it like an ice cream sundae. And not any plain old sundae, but the kind that has the perfect base foundation and all the right toppings. These elements come together to create a beautiful combination of flavors and colors. This represents your ICA and all the layers that showcase the unique individual they are.
When you make that sundae, that doesn’t mean you won’t ever eat any other sundae combination for the rest of your life. As your life and business changes, your ICA might too, and that’s ok!
When determining your ICA, be sure not to limit yourself to working with only this one person. By having an ICA, you’re saying that this is your IDEAL type of person to work with. Your ICA is the person you will focus your time, money, energy, and resources on. This will help you attract more people who fall into that dream client category.
This is your business and you get to choose who you work with, which is pretty dang cool. Read on for tips and tools to help you determine your ICA and start attracting those dream clients.
5 Ways to Determine Your Ideal Client Avatar
Ready to dive in and determine your ideal client avatar? Read on to learn about five simple ways to get started and hit the sweet spot when developing your ICA. We’re going beyond basic demographics and diving into the full picture of your dream client and how their mind works. With this knowledge, you’ll be able to speak to them, understand their pain points, and present solutions in the most effective way possible.
Start with joy.
Think back to a client you have worked with in the past. If you don’t have clients yet, that’s ok! Think back to someone like a colleague from an office or even a group member from a school project. Make sure you only focus on those that resulted in an amazing experience. Eliminate those you didn’t have fun being around or those that didn’t give you a feeling of delight.
Now, hold onto the image of that person and put yourself back in the moment. What made that person enjoyable to collaborate with and be around? What was it about the entire situation that brought you joy?
Write down all those little things that made you feel giddy and excited to work on these projects, no matter how insignificant they may seem!
Identify the dread.
We thought about those we loved working with side-by-side. Now, let’s flip it and think about those that were the exact opposite. Get the image in your head of past clients or people you may have worked with that sucked all the joy and happiness out of the project. Think about all the reasons you didn’t like working with these people. What made you dread those interactions?
Jot down what happened that made you think, “oh man, I really don’t want to get out of bed and work on this project with this person.” Write out all the things that drained the joy from the experience.
Hopes and fears.
Everyone has hopes and fears. Think about what your ICA is hopeful for and what they see for the future. Then, think about what things they may fear on their journey to that future.
Take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. Write Hopes on one side and Fears on the other.
Hopes help you identify the goals of your ICA. What are they working toward in the days to come? On the Hopes side of the paper, write down all the things your ICA is hopeful about as they move forward in their life and business journey.
Fears help you identify potential pain points for them. What are they avoiding and why? Think about the other side and write down things they fear as they approach challenges in their life and business. It may be something that might make them hesitate or take a step back.
Once you have that written down, look for themes on both sides of the paper. What stands out in each column? This activity is even more powerful if you can do it with actual past clients or potential clients and hear it straight from them!
Find a character.
We are movie nerds, we admit it. We love a great movie and a bowl of popcorn—but only because ice cream cones are hard to sneak into the theater! This thought exercise is one of our favorites.
Think about a movie (or a show) that has some well-developed characters. Which character does your ICA most resemble? Write down the name of that character and follow it up with the characteristics that made them stand out for you. Were they confident? Maybe they were a bit lost and needed guidance. Or, perhaps they were driven but completely chaotic. Make a list of their personality traits that resonate with you.
At Neapolitan Creative, the character we most closely identify as a personification of our ICA is Anne Hathaway’s character in The Intern.
In the movie, she’s a driven, passionate CEO/founder of a small but established online business. She’s real and without ego. One of our favorite scenes is the opening one where she takes a customer service call. She’s not very good at getting in on the action and she truly wants to serve her customers well. Spoiler alert: she gave a full refund and sent the correct order – expedited shipping. While she isn’t without faults, she tries hard to be the best leader for her team and do right by all – her customers, her team and the company. She struggles with work life balance and loves what she does.
Observe and interview.
And now, the final step…go out and find these people, your ideal client avatars. Find them in their natural habitat. Where do they hang out? Are there Facebook groups or other online networking sites where you can find them? Are they local to you?
Observe: In this case, stalking is ok. We actually like to call it “researching and observing.” Observe the struggles, and even the wins, of your ICA. Observe what problems they are trying to solve and how they end up solving them, if they do. Staying back and watching is an excellent approach as it gives you insight into their actions from afar, but the next step is to ask them!
Interview: Reach out to past clients or people you might have found in the groups you discovered in the last activity. Ask them about their hopes, fears, and what problems they are trying to tackle. You can do tons of research, but it’s always in a bubble if you don’t go out and talk to people!
We want to encourage you to take everything you have learned from the activities above and start mapping out your ICA. And to make it easy for you, we’ve created a FREE Ideal Client Avatar Worksheet to help you complete these activities and land on that dream client!
You can download your copy of the worksheet by filling out the form below. Ready, set, go hit that sweet spot!