Through the years, I have had a fantastic time mentoring entrepreneurs through programs such as Startup Weekend Reykjavík. Totally recommend to anyone who is interested in business to check out Startup Weekend when you get the chance. It is held all over the world at various times a year so you are very likely to be able to find one near you.
There are a lot of great people there working on some awesome projects, and I can’t wait to see what happens with them in the future. One of the people I spoke to a while back had just finished her studies and was starting out as a consultant in her field. She had been reading my blog for a while and understood that she needed to define her target group. The problem was, she had no idea who her ideal customer was, or how she liked to work with her customers, because she had not worked as a consultant before. So I figured there might be more of you out there struggling with this :)
When I first started out, I was very much in the same position. I knew I wanted to work with people who were not marketing specialists but needed to improve their marketing, and had my ideas of how that could be achieved. So I started working on a one-on-one coaching basis, which went fine. I did then decide to work in another way, but I have talked about that in another blog post, and probably will again. The other thing that happened is that I gradually learned what kind of clients I wanted to work with. None of them were bad clients, not at all, but there were some I enjoyed working with more than others, and it was also obvious to me that some got more out of working with me than others.
So my advice to this very smart girl I met at Startup Weekend was simple. Just start! (I could have said just do it, but then… yep, you are thinking of that thing, aren’t you? – forget about that – just start! :) Throw yourself in at the deep end. Sure, to begin with your marketing will not be very focused. You will be talking very generally to anyone who will listen, but this is how you start attracting people. Speak from your heart and say what you think, whether it be on Facebook, your blog, your mailing list or wherever else, and you will start to attract the right audience for you.
Offer free consulting to friends and family. Ask them not to mention that they got it for free, but ask them, if they are happy with your consultation, to please tell anyone who will listen and to please give you their recommendation. Be very aware. Be aware of what you like and what you don’t like. Why do you like it or not like it? The people you like to work with, what do they have in common? The people you don’t like to work with as much as others, what do they have in common?
Thinking about things for too long won’t do you any good. Yes, I will always advocate good planning, but at some point you just have to go out there and do it. Then you pause, learn from your experience, and plan your next steps based on that experience. There is no other way of finding all this out. It will not come to you in a dream and there is no one else out there that can tell you what is right for you.
Go out and talk to people. Get them to try your product or service, give you feedback and then think about what works for you and what doesn’t. You will constantly be tuning this. I have been in this game for a number of years now and I feel like I am at the other side of the world from where I started – and I am still learning, tuning things, sanding off the rough edges, fixing and working on things and always will be. And you know what, I am soooo glad – how boring would things get otherwise!
Good luck finding your people! :)