When I first went solo, my answer to this question was ANYONE!
As I got established, I gained the power to choose.
But it took me 12 years to sit down and describe my preferred client.
I should’ve done it at the start.
This wasn’t one of my smart, proactive, business building initiatives. I only did it because someone asked me.
A web boffin was exploring the possibility of working with me.
Part of her first email said:
I’m looking for a copywriter interested in a strategic alliance (referring clients etc).
Part of my reply said:
Cool! I like to focus on content, and leave the tech stuff to people who know what they’re doing.
Is there an area you specialise in, or do you accept clients from all areas? Do you have a preference for company size? I read that you handle everything from web copy to press releases. Do you have any preference what you write? Anything else I need to know before I send clients your way?
No one had ever asked me this before. I thought for a second, then the words poured out:
If a client has something truthful, meaningful and ethical to communicate to its staff, customers, shareholders or observers, I’m in.
I can do every kind of communication, from email signoffs to government tenders.
I like job ads, policy manuals, media releases, case studies, job descriptions, websites, user guides and annual reports.
I’m less keen on resumes, directories, TV ads, catalogues and mission statements.
I like writing about eco-friendly engineering projects.
I don’t like mining, defence, nuclear or automotive (unless sustainable) work.
I love writing for local councils, because their stuff is usually so bad I look like a genius!
Attached is my manifesto, which should provide further insight.
Thanks Paul – good to have this for reference.
And she was right.
It all came out so clear and fast I was slightly stunned.
Why hadn’t I written this before?
Probably because, like most small businesses, I’d never done a business plan.
Poor briefs. Boring work. Unpaid hours. Guilty conscience. Bad debts.
All may have been averted had I staked my line in the high ground.
Now I have a ready reckoner.
When opportunities present, I can say: ‘Sorry Mate, not with that tie’.
Do you have a dress code for clients and prospects?
I’d love to get in on your act.