Why The Self Employed Need to Be Selective

24 May 2019

“I need to select my target market?  Are you mad?  I’m newly Self Employed.  I need customers.  I’m relying on this income.  I’ll sell to anyone who’s buying!”


Even if they’re not as direct as this, it’s the response I get most often when I talk about selecting customers.  (Here I’ll use customers to refer to both customers and clients). Although it can seem counter intuitive, now, more than ever, not being selective will hold you back.


Remember why you’re on this Self Employment adventure?  Was it to do with a lifestyle with freedom and flexibility to fit in all you love?  Creating something important to you, expressing your uniqueness and making an impact?  I hope so!  It’s essential you know and appreciate yourself, your preferences and the situations in which you do your best work.


I love this story in Michael Port’s Book Yourself Solid....


After reading this I hope you’re not thinking you should be impervious to market research or customer feedback.  What I am saying is that you should be selective about the customers and research that you listen to.  


Selecting your target market means you choose a group of people who you will aim to sell your products and services to.  People who enable and inspire you to do your best work.  These people should be a group you relate to and understand.  Preferably you are in this group, have been in it in the fairly recent past or those close to you are in it.  You know their priorities, hopes and concerns as well as where they seek information, where they hang out and how they spend their time.  They should have a need for your product/service, value it and be ready to pay.  


You may potentially have a number of groups to target.  There will be so much to do setting out, it is usually best to choose one group to focus your efforts on before extending to others.


This short video gives you a summary of the key reasons for focusing on one target market...




In your research before starting out and during all your potential and actual customer interactions, you are building your understanding of this group so you can better reach, engage, serve and build relationships with them.


It’s hard to imagine any business that doesn’t have an on-line component.  The more clearly you have defined your target group the easier it will be to reach them on-line.  You will know the language to use to attract them and the offers to make them.  You will also be competing with businesses online, would you prefer to buy from someone who seems to understand your needs perfectly and has a product designed with you in mind or a generic one size fits all version?  It is likely with all the other messages coming your way, the generic version won’t even draw your attention.


So are you suggesting I turn customers away?


Of course you can still work with customers outside your target group, but do so with caution!  Remember they may need something slightly different from you and you probably don’t want to take their feedback to heart.  Also take care they do not turn off your existing customers or damage the perceived quality of your brand.


Michael Port recommends setting up your Red Velvet Rope Policy to ensure you only select people to work with who bring out your best.  This is most important when you are providing a service over time but every business can benefit.  


Giving a great service boosts your confidence and morale, enhances your reputation and gives you social proof, all great for building your business.  Working with customers that are wrong for you can be distracting and disheartening.  


Listen to your intuition.  


Value your expertise and time and be selective.


If you would like to discuss the ideas raised in this blog post and how they relate to you and your Self Employment, click here to book your complementary initial conversation.