I am not my own ideal client. Certainly I fit within the target market I have so clearly defined. Being a small business owner, I can identify with all of my ideal clients - we share many of the same needs and desires. But there is a distinction: I don’t need the services that I offer. Because I have skills and expertise that my clients lack, I also have different preferences and perspectives.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget this... too easy. When making decisions or coming up with new ideas, I clearly wear the shoes of my ideal client, but not quite. So when I think, “I wouldn’t like that” or “that wouldn’t work for me”, I’m really limiting my options based on false assumptions.
False assumptions can lead to painful lessons and lost opportunities. I’m trying to be more careful about the assumptions I make and the results I predict. I’ve written this across the top of the whiteboard in my office: “I’m NOT my ideal client!” It’s a constant reminder to consider options fully and not make assumptions.
Originally published in Work Better, Not Harder on June 14, 2012