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Growing Your Business: Finding the Right Clients for You

9 types of clients and the secret to managing them to better grow your business.

If only business matchmakers were a thing. Finding the right clients is a challenging, but necessary, part of growing your business. You can have a pipeline jam-packed with work, but if you routinely find you dread checking your inbox… well, that’s a problem.

The good news is, as you build your client roster, you’ll have the luxury of choosing which clients you’d like to continue working with (and which ones were a one-time gig). Here, we break down 9 client archetypes. They all have pluses and minuses, but it’s up to you to figure out which types of client you mesh best with—and then go after them with gusto.

1. The CEJ

Chief Executive Jugglers are the CMO, CFO, Creative Director, and CEO all rolled into one time-crunched entrepreneur. This means they’re often unfocused, and sometimes even a little disorganized.

How to deal? Clearly outline the tasks you’ll be taking off their plate. When they know you have everything in hand, they’ll feel more confident moving their focus and energy elsewhere.

2. The Newbie

These new business owners don’t know much about marketing. They often know what results they want to see…they’re just not quite sure how to get there.

How to deal? Be clear with your communication and generous with your expertise. When you outline what you're doing, and why, you will quickly build client confidence.

3. The Helicopter

Some business owners are reluctant to hand over the reins and seem to hover over every aspect of the decision-making process.

How to deal? Always keep them in the loop. As you hit project milestones, send them a note. Not only does this preempt their anxiety, it makes you look proactive. Another must with a helicopter client: ensure they feel in control. Connect your client accounts to Mailchimp, so your client can give you the appropriate level of access—that way they feel secure and in charge.

4. The Dreamer

These folks have big plans for their small businesses. There’s just one hitch: Their limited budgets often don’t match their boundless ambitions.

How to deal? Create a triaged list of what’s feasible given their budget, and what items you think they should save for in the short and medium term. This will help them focus on achievable dreams, rather than impossible (for now) aspirations.

5. The Butterfly

Flitting from one idea to the next, these clients don’t provide the information and structure needed to complete tasks.

How to deal? Work to nail down the strategy and approach for your work early. A project management app like Asana can help keep everything organized and moving until you reach the finish line

6. The Big Fish

Sometimes you land a client that seems almost too big for you. Maybe the project’s ginormous, maybe the job demands skills outside your comfort zone.

How to deal? These clients present an amazing opportunity to level up your business. Maybe it’s time to bring on your first employee, team up with a fellow freelancer, or advance your skills with Mailchimp Academy. In fact, that’s what many of our Mailchimp partners have done.

7. The Roadrunner

Some clients seem to be constantly on the road, making them hard to pin down for meetings and information.

How to deal? Schedule regular meetings, with a timed agenda shared beforehand, and follow up with action items. This will keep you both on task and lay out expectations clearly.

8. The Cheapskate

While everyone wants (and deserves!) value for money, these clients really push the limits, constantly trying to get more for less, threatening your profitability.

How to deal? Share examples of how you've added value for previous clients. If you don't have a perfect case study, try using one of ours. The Power Partner series is a great asset to share with clients, as they demonstrate how phenomenal the ROIs can be when a small business hires a partner. If you can demonstrate the value of your work clearly, the purse strings usually loosen.

9. The Unicorn

This is the client you want, but it’s a rare breed. The Unicorn pays you what you’re worth, gives clear briefs, sees you as a partner, and they’re just generally delightful to work with. The one problem? They also might not exist...

How to deal? Ideal client relationships, like these, are most often built over time. Work to build and maintain strong client relationships, and maybe, just maybe, you can create your own Unicorn.

Want more helpful insider tips like these?

Join Mailchimp & Co, a community of freelancers and agencies that offers resources and tools to help members up their skills and grow their business.

All on their own terms. All for free.

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