Not all clients are worth taking on.
I’ve built a six-figure consulting business by being strategic about who I work with.
Here are 11 questions to ask yourself before taking on a client:
1. How did this client discover you?
The more familiar a client is with your work and outlook, the more likely they are to be a good fit for you.
Because they already have a sense of what you’re about.
A newsletter helps with this — it’s a great filter for clients.
(Speaking of newsletters, join the 19,000 creative entrepreneurs who read my For The Interested newsletter every day to learn how to attract their ideal clients.)
2. Is there a clear start and end point to your work together?
Don’t take on open-ended consulting work that goes on indefinitely.
Set a specific goal, a time period to accomplish it, and extend or move on to an additional goal down the road if necessary.
3. Is this client likely to act on your advice?
This is the most common reason I turn down clients.
It’s amazing how many people will pay good money for help…and then do nothing with it.
That’s frustrating and something I try to avoid at all costs.
4. Does this client have a clear goal they’re able to express?
If you go into the work without clarity, you spin your wheels and don’t accomplish much.
It becomes hard for both parties to ultimately feel the partnership was successful.
5. Can you help this client?
Just because someone thinks you can help them with something, doesn’t mean you actually can.
I always consider whether I’m able to deliver the help a potential client needs because I don’t want to make promises I can’t keep.
6. Will this client lead to more of the kind of work you want to do or more of the kind of work you don’t want to do?
Assume success and consider what a successful client engagement may lead to down the road.
7. Do you believe in the client’s mission, talent, or goal? Do you think they can succeed?
You can give advice to anyone, but the truth is not everyone will be able to pull it off.
You can only work with so many clients — be picky.
8. Do you already know how to do the work required or will you have to learn/figure it out?
The answer to this question gives you a sense of how much time the work will take you to do.
And how difficult it may be, which ultimately may influence the rate you charge.
9. Are you excited about the work?
Not the opportunity.
Not the money.
The work itself.
Most of the time spent is going to be doing the work, so if you’re not excited to do that it’s probably not a project you should take on.
10. What will taking on this client prevent you from doing?
Everything has a cost.
It’s worse to take on a mediocre client than to pass on a mediocre client.
Because that mediocre client may prevent you from being able to work with an amazing client who surfaces next week.
11. How much do you need to charge in order to make this worth doing?
Don’t let money dictate your choices, but don’t ignore it either.
Charge a price that ensures the time, effort, and resources required of the job will be properly compensated.
Don’t do a lot of negotiating.
One More Powerful Strategy To Get Your Dream Clients
In this excerpt from my I Want To Know podcast, I explain how to attract qualified clients: