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If you want to make any real money as a creative, you must pick a target. 

And there is one key to choosing a target audience, one thing about them that you must understand. You must know their pain points. Their pain points are their problems. And when you really, deeply understand a market’s pain points, and your core competency intersects with a particular person’s pain, when your product or service is the solution to their problem, that is where you find yourself at the crosshair of commerce, and that’s where you have the makings of a six figure business. Here’s the thing about pain points: they have the power to make or break your deals. Pain points play a vital role in the success of your business. If you know exactly what your customers struggle with, you’ll know how to target, develop, and pitch your product or solution in a way that solves their problems. If you can understand and clearly define your right fit client, if you know what they need now, soon, and eventually, and you understand what is negotiable and non-negotiable for them, then you will have taken an enormous step forward in being able to earn from your skill set.

For example, one of the pain points we market to is the problem that creative artists have. They want to keep utilizing their talents in a way that is satisfying to them personally, and they want to make a living with their skills. They find that they spend all of their time and energy taking gigs they don’t really want but are within their skill set in order to make money, and they don’t have time or energy left over to do the work they really care about. They often think about giving up the creative dream altogether because it turns into another job. Once I understood that pain point, once I listened to thousands of creatives who continually complained of this same thing, I realized I could help them, because I was a creative and I had learned how to organize a business in order to make it profitable, and I knew I could teach creatives how to do the same.

Your target audience lives in that crosshair where the solution you offer intersects perfectly with your ideal client’s pain points. If you, as a creative, can understand what your ideal client really struggles with, what keeps them up at night, what frustrates the hell out of them, and you can convince them that you understand, that you’ve seen it before, and you know how to solve their, you’ve begun to lay the groundwork for everything: Your business name, your tagline, your “heighten the hunger statement”,  your ankle show, your elevator pitch, and your signature talk. It will clarify and define your offer, all of your marketing materials, and create a metric for you to make decisions about who you go after and who you say no to. And believe me, learning who to say no to is one of the best skills you’ll ever develop. It’s scary to pass up on a job or a gig just because it doesn’t fit into your target, but we have found over and over, that when we free up the time and energy that we get back when we start saying no to the wrong clients, we make much more money with our ability to really market to and serve the right clients.

This doesn’t always mean narrowing your field to focus on a very specific niche. Sometimes understanding pain points can actually broaden your market in ways that might not be obvious at first glance.

I say no all the time. And it’s still hard. I’ll find someone that is offering to pay me less than I want to make, or they are not a right fit for our company, and I still vacillate sometimes. “This person is offering to give me money right now!” Sometimes it’s hard to say no. But, because I’ve defined my target, and what I want to be paid for my services, I say no, because I know that that energy can be put into finding the right client at the right price, or to better serving the clients I already have. And it works. It always has, and it always will. Know your audience, know what pains them, understand how your unique skills can help them solve that problem, and you’ve won half the battle, because you know, as a business owner, where to focus your limited resources.

Success in business depends to a great extent how you will choose where to put your focus on when you have too many choices. If you are going to succeed, you need to understand that you will not be able to address everything that comes across your desk, and you’ll have to make these decisions quickly. Unless you have made some clear choices about who it is you serve, where you can make the most money for the least effort, and who your core competency best serves, you’re much more likely to jump anytime someone offers to pay you for your services.

If you make this error, you will be running around like crazy taking on too much work for too little money. You’ll be exhausted, spread thin, and eventually you’ll burn out.

The solution? Have the confidence to go after the clients you really want, at the price point you really want. And in order to do that, you have to decide what that target is. Once you decide on that target, you need to have the courage to say no to those that aren’t in that target. Sometimes that means saying no even when you haven’t landed your right fit client. Sometimes that means saying no even when you don’t have the money you need flowing in the door, because you understand that saying no to the wrong clients means you can invest time and energy into landing the right clients.

If you want to know more about how to pick your target, give us a call. We’d love to talk with you!

To your success,

Melissa McFarlane
Creative Successful Entrepreneurs

Build a Better Business Build a Better World

We help creatives start and grow businesses. We help people turn their passion into income. We show people how they can make a real living doing what they are best at. And we’ve been doing it for over twenty-five years. Join the hundreds of successful artists, designers, film-makers, healers, coaches, and other professionals who have used CSE to turn their creative passions into thriving businesses.  Join the hundreds of successful artists, designers, film-makers, healers, coaches, and other professionals who have used CSE to turn their creative passions into thriving businesses.