How to Identify Your Ideal Client



Tweet: Developing your ideal client profile is one of THE most impactful things you can do for your business. @iamstacykessler

Developing your ideal client profile is one of THE most impactful things you can do for your business.

Tweet: Your Ideal Client Profile is not just a piece of paper to collect dust. It's a tool you can use for branding, marketing, packaging and pricing your services, and onboarding key partners, collaborators, or staff. @iamstacykessler

Your Ideal Client Profile is not just a piece of paper to collect dust. It's a tool you can use for branding, marketing, packaging and pricing your services, and onboarding key partners, collaborators, or staff.

how to identify your ideal client - stacy kessler.001.jpeg

Loving Your Clients

Do you love all your clients? 

Probably not.

I can remember a time when I barely liked any of my clients (none actually). I was selling my soul one Fortune 500 company at a time (disclaimer: if you love working with Fortune 500's, don't take offense, they just weren't my fave clients).

But let me tell you a secret. It doesn't have to be this way. You can love all your clients (and I do now!), but first, you have to clearly identify who your IDEAL CLIENT actually is, so you can find, connect, and work with more of them.

So, let's figure out who your ideal client is.

Want a free downloadable guide to follow along with my process to Identify Your Ideal Client? Get it below:

List Your Clients

Grab a piece of paper (or download my free workbook guide) and pen and list all of your past and current clients. If you’re going after new clients, brainstorm new ones. This could be people or companies who could use your services, or they could even be figments of your imagination.

Then, pick your top 3-4 faves from this list. These are the ones you compare all other clients to and want more of. If you're brainstorming new clients, pick the ones you would love to work with the most.

If you have multiple and distinct endeavors (just like how I have two businesses), you may have a different ideal client for each of those. If that's the case, you'll want to pick your faves based on one of your endeavors, then repeat this process for the other ones.


Capture What You Know

Next, for each of those 3-4 faves, list out as much information as you can about them (use a different piece of paper for each to keep things organized). Here are some things you can consider:

  • Who are they as a person/company?

  • What are their values and interests?

  • What are their demographics/company info?

  • What needs and challenges do they have?

  • Why did they hire you (or hypothetically)?

  • Anything else that comes to mind when you think about why they made your favorites list.


Find Commonalities

Then, look across your answers and mark two things:

  1. The top reasons you love working with them (or think you would)

  2. Any other consistent pieces of information across your faves

If you marked anything for #2 that you hadn't marked for #1, ask yourself why that info is important or what that says about them as a person or company. Continue to ask yourself this until you get to something that is important to why you love working with them.


Create Your Ideal Client Profile

You might think that you're done once you've identified a few things that your fave clients have in common. 


You'll want to take your thinking to the next level by putting these commonalities into concise, clear, and well-thought-out language. That's what the Ideal Client Profile is for.

Capture the following things about your ideal client:

  • Needs, pain points, challenges, tensions, compensating behaviors, etc.

  • Attitudes, beliefs, values, motivations, etc.

  • Demographics

  • Desired Experience (for area of their life/company you're solving for)

This last one is one of the most important ones, so I'd write it at the top of your profile to inspire your solutions, but I think it's easiest to articulate once you've captured the other information, so I write it last.


Validate Your Ideal Client

You may be looking at that list of information to capture in the Ideal Client Profile and saying to yourself, I have NO idea about these things! And that's okay. Write down what you do know and write down your hypotheses for the rest. Then go do some market research to validate whether or not your hypotheses were correct.

This ideal client profile is meant to be a living document. As you continue to learn from, interact with, and serve your ideal client, you should continue to gather information about them that enables you to continually improve how you serve them (or people/companies like them).


Turn It Into a Persona

Sometimes it's easier to get inspired by your Ideal Client Profile if you take it one step further and turn it into a persona. This means that you think of it like a specific person (or company). This can be an actual person or company that you know and fits your Ideal Client Profile, or it can be made up. 

To do this, give your persona a name and find a photo to represent it. Then make your profile information even more specific. Think of it like a bio. Take your profile info such as: Females aged 30-40 living in the tri-state region who work in healthcare professions, and instead say: Erin is a 33 year-old labor and delivery nurse living in the Oakley neighborhood of Cincinnati with her husband, Steve, and golden retriever, Lulu. Do this for all of the information in your profile, not just the demographics. Tell their story.

Did the description of Erin create a better mental picture for you? Now that Erin is a "living" person, it becomes easier to write messaging to her and develop new offerings to solve her problems. If what you do serves Erin, it will serve others like her as well.


Put Your Ideal Client Profile to Work for Your Biz

Writing a profile and persona forces you to capture all of the key and actionable information about your ideal client in a succinct and referenceable document that yes, you should actually use in your business.



Identify Your Ideal Client - Stacy Kessler square.jpeg

Here's how to identify your ideal client in a nutshell

  1. List Your Clients

  2. Capture What You Know

  3. Find Commonalities

  4. Create Your Ideal Client Profile

  5. Validate Your Ideal Client

  6. Turn It Into a Persona

  7. Put Your Ideal Client Profile to Work for Your Biz

This might seem like a lot of work, but trust me when I say this:

So yes, it might seem tedious. But HELL YES it's worth it, so make it a priority!

So go to your calendar right now and block off at least 2 hours within the next week to complete #1-4. Once you finish that, schedule time for the rest of the steps. Your business and the people you are meant to serve will thank you. So don't let your daily business to-dos keep you from doing this oh-so-important foundational strategy work.


Don't forget to grab your FREE downloadable guide that follows this process

Identify Your Ideal Client


You might also be interested in these articles

stacy kessler - pathfinding strategist

Hey There!

I’m Stacy, an entrepreneur, strategist, and adventurer dedicated to helping you craft your dream business out of your skills & passions. Why? Because I think you should love your life and that’s kind of hard to do if you don’t love your work.

You are meant to do important and amazing things in this world and I’m here to help you do just that.

Want More Strategy Tips?

Sign up to get these strategy articles delivered to your inbox every week.