When I started offering design services through Lemon and the Sea, I had no idea where to start. I would work for anyone who was willing to pay me (or would trade with me) and every time I would create a design proposal from scratch based on what my client said they needed. Some projects were great and I built close relationships with my clients, but others were draining and time consuming.
I would get on a call with a potential client and let them tell me what items they needed designed. And even when I knew that they needed something different or would be better served by starting somewhere else first, I took on the project. I didn't speak up as the expert to tell people what I knew would serve them best because I was afraid to lose their business.
Over time, I started to learn that I needed to be the expert in my own business - and that people who really wanted to work with me would listen to my recommendations (in fact, they craved them) - but it wasn't easy to transition away from that a la carte mindset. I had to really dig who I wanted to work with and how I could best serve them - and I had to let go of other potential clients that might come along.
Create packages people want to buy
If you're feeling stuck in an a la carte mindset where you're taking on every project that comes your way, it's time to create packages that will serve the people who want to work with and will attract your dream client.
Find your dream client
Of course, the first step to serving your dream client is figuring out exactly who that is. If you're lucky, you've already worked with a dream client and you can dig into what made them so dreamy. But if you haven't experienced that yet, it's okay too - just imagine your most ideal project and the person that allows you to do your best work.
In order to narrow in on how you can help your dream client (because that's what our goal is), ask yourself these questions:
- Who is your dream client?
- How old is your dream client and where does she live?
- What does she do for a living?
- Where is she in her business and what are her goals?
- What is she struggling with? Why would she hire you?
- What is the next thing she wants to achieve? What will help her get there?
- What problems can you help her solve?
Create a package that meets needs
Once you know who your dream client is and how you can serve her (or him), you need to create a package that meets her needs. This can be scary at first if you're used to tailoring each offering to what the client says she needs, but you're the expert here. Your client may not know the value she could gain from other services you offer - especially if she's trying to grow her business - so it's your job to create a package that meets her needs now and helps her reach those big goals she has for the future.
- What services can you offer to meet your dream clients needs?
- What services do you not want to offer?
Depending on the clients you serve and your industry, you may need to create packages that have a few levels of service, but be clear for each exactly what you'll include and how long it will take.
Demonstrate your expertise
In your business, you're the expert (even if you're still learning). You know who you serve and how you can help them, so you need to make that clear. Find your dream client's pain points and create packages that solve those problems.
- What are your client's pain points? What is she struggling with?
- What benefits will she get from working with you?
- What are the actual deliverables that she'll get?
- How will this help her meet her short-term and long-term goals?
If someone comes to your website, but doesn't know what it is that you offer, you're going to lose potential clients. Of course, you don't have to spell out every detail right away, but you do need to hit the highlights. For example, I work with creative entrepreneurs who want to grow their businesses through branding and website design.
Stick to your guns
This can be the scariest part of creating packages because it means that you're no longer offering anything else. In order to work with you, a potential client needs to pick a package and stick with it. This means saying no sometimes. And it also means that you have to explain the benefits of your packaged services over hiring someone to do things one at a time.
Of course, once someone has already purchased your package and gone through it with them, you can keep working for them on your own terms - a la carte, retainer, or whatever works best for you.
What more help finding your dream client?
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Lemon and the Sea is a branding and website design company located in Richmond, VA. I specialize in making the branding process personal. I work with creatives who enjoy being involved in every step of the process to help them update their brand and website so that it better reflects who they are and what they do. From logo and collateral design to Squarespace websites, I work closely with small businesses to help them dig into their what makes them unique, share their vision, and build a brand that represents them.