5 Steps to Great Clients
You don’t simply want more clients. You want more of the right clients. Because more bad clients is a nightmare.
- Clients who don’t pay you.
- Clients who push you around.
- Clients who don’t communicate.
- Clients who demand extra revisions.
When you magnify a problem, you just have a bigger problem.
If you’re working with bad clients, there is a problem with your system. Your process is a bucket full of holes. If I help you magnify what you have (by simply helping you “get more”), you’ll just end up with a bigger bucket of holes!
“More” isn’t always better. Especially when it mean “more” of the wrong thing.
I don’t want you to get more clients if it means getting more bad clients. Make sense?
I’m going to teach you how to get great clients. Then, we’ll scale that system up.
The best part is that you don’t need that many great clients. Because of the nature of great clients, a little goes a long way:
- Great clients pay well.
- Great clients pay you on time.
- Great clients don’t demand extra work.
- Great clients let you follow your process.
Doesn’t that sound incredible? It may seem like a fantasy if you’ve never worked with great clients.
Why have you not worked with great clients? Because great clients can only be attracted. They cannot be chased.
In other words, you need to act like someone great clients want to work with, and draw them to you like a magnet.
What you’ll read further down on this page will give you insight on how to get great clients.
Once you’re ready to take client work seriously, enroll in the 10-hour Client Work Essentials class to learn how to:
- Talk to Clients With Confidence
- Present Yourself as a Professional
- Create a Bulletproof Process
- Get Time-Tested Contract Templates
When you enroll, you’ll also get immediate access to our Business Community for Creative Professionals: 24/7 chat, live shows, Community Round Tables, and more. Find clarity, answers to your questions, accountability, and life-long friends.
Client Work Essentials
4 Modules, 20 Lessons
Lay a foundation for professional work.
Download time-tested contract templates, learn to present yourself as a professional, and create a bulletproof process.
Step 1: Accept that there are great clients.
The first step to getting great clients is a mindset shift.
Accept that there are great clients in the world.
This is what a great client looks like:
- They see you as an investment.
- They don’t resist your questions about goals.
- They see you as a partner.
- They focus on outcomes.
- They aren’t constantly changing their minds.
- They respect your process.
- They respect you as a professional.
- They are happy to defer to your expertise.
- They are eager to share information.
- They have realistic expectations.
- They are comfortable putting their project in your hands.
- They are not emotionally attached to a solution.
- They are happy to give you the space to do your work.
- They respect the time frames you set.
- They are good at business.
Do these sound like your clients?
It probably sounds like the opposite of clients you’ve worked with. Why is that? Do you think it’s because this person I’ve described is an imaginary unicorn? Do you think it’s because no such person exists?
As long as you believe great clients do not exist, they will not exist for you. Don’t be confused, however: it will not mean they don’t exist at all. It will simply mean they do not exist for you.
Great clients exist and they work exclusively with professionals. If you don’t work with great clients, it’s because you have not learned how to conduct yourself as a professional.
“I’ve never seen a client like the one you defined, Sean.”
Have you seen a Lamborghini? I’m not talking about pictures or videos. I mean in real life, with your own eyes, have you seen a Lamborghini?
Maybe you have. Most people have not. Why? Because Lamborghinis are rare.
I’m describing great clients to you here. If most clients were great then they would be average. Does that make sense? The fact that they are great, by definition, means that they are few and far between. They are rare.
Most clients are mediocre. Most clients are terrible business people. Most clients see you as an expense. Most clients treat you like garbage.
You don’t want most clients.
You want great clients. You need to commit to doing whatever it takes to get great clients because you don’t need many.
This brings us back to acceptance. The first step is to accept that there are great clients in the world.
- There are great clients even if you don’t believe it.
- Not believing in gravity doesn’t change reality.
- There are great clients even if you’ve never seen them.
- Not everyone has seen a Lamborghini. They’re rare, but they exist.
- There are great clients even if you haven’t worked with them.
- Of course you haven’t worked with them! You haven’t learned the things you need to do to attract great clients.
The first step is acceptance. Regardless of your own personal experiences, great clients, as I’ve defined them, do exist in the world.
You need to accept that great clients exist before I can move on to showing you how to get them.
Step 2: Decide to work only with great clients.
You now know that great clients exist. You may already know from firsthand experience that bad clients exist. If so, I’m sorry. I’m going to help make sure you never have to experience the torment of working with bad clients again.
But you need to make another decision: decide to work only with great clients.
This sounds easy at first. Why wouldn’t you want that? But it’s what the decision implies that makes it difficult.
What does it mean to decide to work only with great clients?
- ❌ You must not work with bad clients.
- Okay, easy enough.
- ❌ You must not work with good clients.
- Woah, woah, wait, what?!
When I say “good” I am using the word in the sense that “good is the enemy of great”.
If you have a full schedule of “good”, “okay”, or “mediocre” clients, you will:
- Cement bad habits.
- Have no room for great clients.
- Reinforce practices that attract mediocre clients.
- Spend no time doing the things that attract great clients.
- Gradually settle back into the belief that great clients don’t exist.
It’s about Opportunity Cost.
- ❌ Say no to every opportunity to work with bad clients.
- ❌ Say no also to every opportunity to work with good clients.
- ✅ Say yes only to opportunities to work with great clients.
Good is the enemy of great. Do not settle.
Fools will tell you to take whatever clients you can get when you’re “young” or “just starting”.
They say, “Just do whatever work people will give you. Work your way up.”
It does not work this way.
Bad clients only ever lead to more of the same. You will remain stuck.
You have to make a decision.
There’s no magic point you reach where you’re able to be selective with clients. You’re able to be selective with clients the moment you decide to practice selectivity.
The only reason anything ever changed for anyone in their career is because they made a decision to start practicing selectivity. They chose to stop pursuing bad opportunities and made a change in their direction.
Picture a road. You can walk in either direction on the road. There are only two directions.
- You’re either a professional or a technician.
- Professionals provide solutions.
- Technicians merely perform tasks as told.
- You’re either an investment or an expense.
- Investments are what business owners want to maximize.
- Expenses are what business owners want to minimize.
The road goes one way, or it goes the other. You can turn around any time you decide you’re no longer going in a direction that serves you. But there’s no magic point. That’s why you have people who have worked for 30 years as a technician who never became a professional.
Don’t let someone convince you that taking on “any client you can get” is a good idea. It will not “work itself out”. It will only continue to lead to more and more bad clients. Things will change only when you finally come to your senses, often years later, and make a decision to switch directions.
I’m trying to give you the shortcut: choose to be selective from the beginning. Make a decision to work only with great clients. You do not need to go through some sadistic hazing ritual of working with horrible clients for several years before you “graduate” to the senior class.
You already possess the skills that can provide value to great clients. It’s not a matter of proving yourself, going through the gauntlet, or “doing the time”: you can position yourself to attract great clients now.
I can teach you how to attract great clients, but you have to make the decision to say no to anything less.
Step 3: Attract clients, don’t chase them
The Rule of Reciprocity is a basic law of social psychology that says we pay back what we receive from others. In other words, if someone does you a favor, you’re likely to return the favor.
If someone provides value to you, you’ll feel inclined to reciprocate.
Think of reciprocity as a loop. When another person opens a loop of reciprocity, we feel an urge to close the loop.
In any encounter, we constantly evaluate whether someone is a giver or a taker. “Is this person offering value to me or trying to take something from me?” The way we determine this is simple: Did they lead with giving or with asking? It’s all about the first act.
When you chase clients, you are asking them to the do you the favor of working with you. You are starting the relationship with an ask. This causes all kinds of problems later on.
Because you started your client relationship with an ask, you are indebted to them, according to the Rule of Reciprocity. You owe them. This is why, when clients ask you to do more revisions, extra work, or free work, you feel inclined to do so—even though you know it’s not right and it’s unfair to you.
Is it starting to make sense?
This is why…
You cannot chase great clients. You can only attract great clients—like a magnet.
Great client can only ever be attracted. If you try to chase them, they will smell the desperation a mile away.
The purpose of this section is to get you to understand why, according to the Rule of Reciprocity, you cannot chase clients and remain professional.
Step 4: Be selective by establishing a filter.
You don’t want bad clients. Once you know someone is a bad client, pass on the project (I teach you how to identify red flags and recognize bad clients inside the Client Work Essentials class).
We don’t want to waste all of our time saying no to bad clients, however. We need to filter out bad clients from the very beginning.
How do we keep bad clients from getting in touch?
Put a questionnaire in place to serve as your filter.
You can’t convert bad clients into good clients. Read that 5 more times.
Because you can’t convert bad clients into good clients, you have to filter the bad clients out. The way you do this is by using a questionnaire.
A questionnaire is a form with a series of questions you ask potential clients before they are able to get in touch.
Based on the replies you get, you can determine if it’s worth your time to talk to the prospect.
You can learn a lot about someone by their answers to a few questions—but you need to ask the right questions.
Remember: It is a privilege to work with you.
You have to respect yourself first if you ever want to garner respect from clients.
Separate yourself emotionally from the desire to land this project. Decide not to want a client or project until you know it will be great.
Don’t want this job from the beginning. You don’t even know anything about it. It doesn’t matter the name, fame, or acclaim. Want the job only if and when you know it’s going to be GREAT. You can only know this after you’ve asked a lot of questions.
Be ready and willing to walk away if you discover any red flags. No mediocre job is worth missing the opportunity to work with a great client in the future.
Step 5: Overdeliver and do great work.
The hardest part is doing what it takes upfront to attract and woo a great client—not doing the actual work itself!
Once you’ve made it to the point where you are working with this client, it’s going to feel incredible. This is where you should go all in and overdeliver.
- Overdeliver on the quality.
- Overdeliver on the timeliness.
- Overdeliver on the care.
- Overdeliver on the kindness.
- Overdeliver on the attentiveness.
- Overdeliver on the content.
- Overdeliver on the detail.
- Overdeliver on the generosity.
Treat your client as if they paid you 10X what they did, because you will attract your next client based on the last work you did.
Do great work because it will produce a great case study.
Do great work because it will result in a great testimonial.
Do great work because great clients will refer more great clients to you.
Do great work because you will come alive.
Do great work because you have found alignment with what fulfills you and discovered where you can contribute the greatest value to the world.
Client Work Essentials
Client Work Essentials is not just a pack of resources with scripts and templates.
Yes, it includes both of those things, but it is also so much more…
This class as a client work crash course.
The experience you'll have going through this class is as if you and I hung out together for 4 weeks and I gave you a download of all my knowledge from a decade of experience with client work.
I actually transcribed just one of the modules and it was nearly 30,000 words long.
There's a reason it took me 4 weeks to deliver 10 hours of this material.
- Module 1: Getting Started
- Lesson 1: Setting Clear Goals
- Lesson 2: Narrowing Your Focus
- Lesson 3: Understanding Your Financial Situation
- Lesson 4: Starting Your Business
- Lesson 5: Adopting a Professional Mindset
- Module 2: Creating Your Process
- Lesson 1: Defining Your Ideal Client
- Lesson 2: Avoiding Scarcity Mindset
- Lesson 3: Identifying Red Flags
- Lesson 4: Establishing a Process
- Lesson 5: Communicating Effectively
- Module 3: Contracts, Payment & Work
- Lesson 1: Pricing Your Work
- Lesson 2: Presenting a Proposal
- Lesson 3: Writing Your Contract
- Lesson 4: Getting Paid On Time
- Lesson 5: Doing the Work
- Module 4: Getting More Clients
- Lesson 1: How-To Guide: Attracting Clients
- Lesson 2: Creating Compelling Case Studies
- Lesson 3: Getting Testimonials
- Lesson 4: Over Delivering
- Lesson 5: Transitioning to Full Time Client Work
What's not shown here is the fact that, for the first time outside my other master classes, I am providing actual downloads of my own contract templates along with all of the material.
Click below to continue.