How to Identify Your Ideal Client
I am sure that you have heard the phrase, you cant be everything to everyone. This is definitely the case when you are a therapist. Its a fact, you cant be the best therapist for everyone. You can be the best therapist for a niche or clientele. Identifying the population that you would like to be the go-to person for is very important. Don’t worry, you will still get other clients that may not be in your niche that you enjoy working with. When you can identify who your passion client is you know where to start marketing. Once you do this, your referrals will start pouring in. A way to do this is to create a Client Avatar. Your avatar will represent your ideal client. You should be as specific as possible as to who your avatar is. Right down to the name of your avatar. After a while, you will start referring to your avatar as a way to make your marketing and business decisions. Here are some steps to creating your ideal client avatar. Don’t forget to download your freebie. This detailed worksheet will help guide you on creating your avatar.
Steps to creating your avatar.
1. Â Create a list of 3 populations or types of concerns you enjoy working with. I call this list “Who are your passion people?”. Who are the people that you are excited to work with? The people you know you can make an impact that you could be an advocate for. Here was my list when I first began.
i. Angry Adolescent boys
ii. Individuals that Identify as LGBTQ+
2. Â Take some time with each one of these groups and think about what it is that you enjoy about working with this group. Some questions you may ask yourself are, Is it a population that you feel you can work with for several hours a week without feelings drained? Are you knowledgeable about their needs and willing to learn more? Are you an advocate for this community?After thinking about these questions and checking in with my instinct, I narrowed my niche down to Individuals that identify as LGBTQ+.Â Although I enjoy working with the other two populations I identified as my passion people, I know that working with angry adolescent boys and couples, I put a lot of energy and time into each one of my clients and if I had them on my caseload 20 hours or more a week I know I would burn out fast.Â
3. Now that you have figured out your niche, you are now going to need to identify who your ideal client is. This is the part when you get to be creative. Start off with a name, for example, my avatars name is Kae. Once you have your name, start creating this person by identifying everything about them. Be as specific as possible. Create a life story for them. How old are they? Do they work? Go to School? What’s their family situation? What is their income like? Etc. I have created a worksheet so that this process is easier for you. Here is what my avatar looks like:
Kae is a 24-year-old non-binary identifying individual. They are college educated and artistic. They use Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat on a regular basis. They live alone in an apartment in the city. They are dating, but not in a long-term relationship. They may want to be married in the future. They are active in sports, but enjoy playing video games. Kae is just starting out in the business world, but finds this transition anxiety provoking. Kae has a close relationship with their family. Gender is a topic that causes a lot of stress for my avatar. They are constantly having to deal with transphobia in society and find it difficult to find a place where they fit in.
My avatar is a pretty detailed description of my ideal client. I know that I wont get this exact client on my caseload, but this is where I start. I then can work on creating ways where I can help the Kaes in the world. I know that If I want to market towards avatars like Kae, I probably wont really find them at the local senior citizens center or Sunday paper wouldn’t be the best place an ad. I do know that I want to integrate Instagram and Facebook in the marketing strategy. I also may want to reach out to other therapists that work with clients like Kae.
Creating a client Avatar is like creating a roadmap for how you want your practice to grow. You become knowledgeable about what needs your clients have. You may find that several of your ideal clients struggle with anxiety, and they may benefit from participating in a group. You also learn ways that you may be able to help the population as a whole. Is there advocacy that needs to happen as a way to support your client population. Creating an avatar is one of the most important steps you can do in creating a thriving private practice. I would say my caseload currently consists of 75% of clients that resemble Kae in some way. The other 25% are clients I also enjoy working with such as couples and college students who struggle with anxiety. Carve out time to create your avatar, it will make a world of difference in your practice.
Melissa is a licensed hypnotherapist, coach and founder of East Coast Mental Wellness. She is an expert in the field of transgender and non-binary issues. Melissa is the host of a new LGBTQ podcast titled Pride Connections. More information on Melissa can be found at www.MsMelissaDaSilva.com