I mentioned last time that when I first began building a business I can run from anywhere, I didn’t give too much thought to anything other than “I need an income I can earn from anywhere”. Beyond that, I pursued what was, at the time, the fastest route to getting there and it only took me 2-3 months.
The Wrong People = The Wrong Business
After that, I kind of fell into the opportunities and ideas which presented themselves, not really thinking too strategically about what I was doing beyond, “Does this sound like fun and will it generate an income?”.
It is no wonder that, several years later, I was at the helm of a business I didn’t really want to run, working with people I didn’t really want to work with and doing the kind of day-to-day work I didn’t really want to be doing. Even if I could do it from anywhere.
Ironic really, given that the advice I’ve always given clients – learned from my days as a management consultant, specialising in CRM (customer relationships) – is this:
Start with the customer first. Always.
I always thought I was doing that…
- I identified their key demographics.
- I researched out where they might hang out, online and off.
- I learned about their pain points and the things they’d spend their money on.
- I learned about the language they spoke – and what compelled them to act.
- I did what I thought was right to identify and attract the ideal client I thought I wanted to work with.
…and yet when it came to working with many of the people I worked with as clients, they weren’t really my “right” people, after all. And so I went right back to the beginning and started from scratch.
Starting With the Basics
I stated first and foremost with the “who” – everything you see in my current business ventures has been built around the people I now want to work with.
And the results?
The business I run attracts the people who are so right for me that it’s almost like I’m working with a group of friends.
In fact, almost everyone I now work with – both at Startup Training School and in the Pioneer Collective, I’d be proud and happy to have as a friend. This is immensely important to me because these are the people I spend my days with.
Why this should be so important to you too…
- When you’re running your own business but you’re surrounded by friends and family who don’t do this, it can be a lonely existence.
- When you’re overseas – and perhaps you’ve yet to meet friends you can hang out with – it can be a lonely existence.
People don’t get you, they keep urging you to get a real job and they simply aren’t your kind of people any more. Your right people may live halfway round the world from you, or simply in the next town across.
Don’t you think it’s important to surround yourself with people you actually enjoy being with – even if that’s online? I certainly do. And here’s how I did it…
Identifying Your Right People
Instead of the usual questions used to profile and segment your ideal customer base, I asked myself the following:
- What core values are important to me? And therefore what values will my right people also share? For the record, you can see mine here on my personal site’s about page.
- What’s important to me about the way I (and others) run a business? And therefore what guiding principles do I want to operate a business under? You can see mine in the sidebar of my site – under “Guiding Principles”.
- What behaviours will and won’t I tolerate from clients and customers? It includes the basics like being polite, showing respect and the language used – yes, in the past I’ve had less than polite emails from some clients, using language which I’ve personally found disrespectful.
It doesn’t actually matter what business they run or what industry they’re in – I currently work with money coaches, wellness practitioners, graphic designers, technology consultants, freelance writers, PR consultants, musicians, artists and property consultants.
There is no common thread to what they do, but it doesn’t matter – I’ve learned from experience that most of the time the most effective strategies, tactics, techniques and lessons are replicable across multiple industries.
What is important are the actual people behind these businesses – identifying your right people is about focusing on who your right people are, not what they do. Who are your right people?
In the next post, I’ll be taking a look at exactly how – the strategies and approaches I’ve used – to attract the right people for my location independent business.