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Stack your client pipeline part one: Picking the ideal client

I’m Halli of Herland Brand, a brand design studio that helps women-led businesses raise the bar on their brand. Welcome to Part One of Stack Your Client Pipeline.

When I was first starting my business, I didn’t know where my next client was coming from. It was the same cycle: I would book a couple of clients, do a happy dance, then get to work. But as the project was coming to an end, I’d start panic-emailing everyone I knew to see if they needed any design work. I’d inevitably get another project from doing this, but I knew this wasn’t a sustainable way to run a business. I had to do SOMETHING to end this vicious client scarcity cycle.

After much trial and error, I found three tactics to be some of the missing puzzle pieces that have gotten me a consistent inflow of amazing clients. In this three-part blog series, I’ll dive into them on a deeper level. Here’s the first:

Picking an ideal client

People will tell you to figure out your niche, but I found that advice to be quite paralyzing when I didn’t have any experience under my belt as a business owner. How do I choose? What if I alienate other businesses? These questions that bubbled up for me are why the trial and error period phase of my business was so crucial — it allowed me to work with a lot of different clients. It felt like dating. I had to date around before finding ‘the one’ (AKA ‘the niche’). In the back of my mind, I knew I wanted to work with women-owned businesses, but I needed to take a bit of time to build the confidence to go after that type of client.

Instead of ‘niching down,’ I approached it from the lens of who I’d like to focus on as an ideal client. Reframing it this way helped me take action.

Ask questions

I asked myself — who did I enjoy working with most in the past? What types of clients or businesses are inspiring to me? What do they need? How can I help them?

Asking questions like these is how I started to gain more clarity. You can serve anybody, but not everybody. I knew I loved working with female founders, so I started focusing on them: showcasing more female-focused branding and design work, speaking to the problems these business owners might be facing, and educating them about what I do on social media.

Like-attracts-like

Once I started focusing on those businesses, inevitably I started to attract them. I really needed just one project to get the ball rolling. The combination of using their work as case studies along with their stellar reviews to their community was the perfect storm to get ideal clients knocking at my door.

Establish trust

When clients saw that I served their type of business, it immediately established trust and made selling my service a lot easier. Whether it’s through a referral from a similar business or seeing examples of work in their industry, they see the proof that you can do what they need.

Halli Herzog

Owner & Brand Designer at Herland Brand Studio

Halli Herzog is the creative business brain behind Herland Brand. With many years of partnering with small businesses and entrepreneurs, her goal is to help brands feel like a breath of fresh air, bringing ease and peace of mind.