Dream Clients: The Definition

After failing four businesses, I came up with the idea to find a client in the face of an agency to support me with new projects, focus on the work, and build side projects for the long term.

Welcome to part two of the series about how to work with dream clients. If you missed part one last week, check it out here.

In the previous article, I talked about reputation, portfolio, unique value, and skill excellence.

If you've been following this blog, you'll know that lately, I wrote a piece on how to get your first clients without followers where the first step to getting your client is knowing who you want to be working with.

The same applies to your dream client. To find and work with your dream client, you first need to identify your dream client.

After failing four businesses, I came up with the idea to find a client in the face of an agency to support me with new projects, focus on the work, and build side projects for the long term.

I touched on partnering with an agency in one of my previous articles.

So for me, the dream client is the client who:

  • Gives you interesting projects

  • Refers you to other people for more exciting projects

  • Gives you the flexibility of schedule

  • Pays you well

Let's do it if you think you are qualified to move on based on the first part.

The Definition of the Dream Client

Defining the Dream Client isn't easy since there are so many nuances to choosing what is suitable for you. I'll help you by providing some questions that allowed me to find my dream client. In the final part of this series, I'll tell my story of how I found my dream client.

To start with, how do you define a dream client? Here are a few ways to think about it:

  1. What area does this company operate in? What are my personal and professional interests and passions that are aligned with this area? 

  2. What is the company's size? Is it a few people or the entire office? Where do I feel most comfortable working: in a quiet environment with a few people or a loud environment with dozens of people? 

  3. What value does the company provide? Are they business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C)? Do they produce or sell tangible goods? Do they offer digital services or experiences?

  4. What does the company stand for? What are their values, and how do they match mine? What about this company makes it an exceptional client for me?

  5. What challenges might this company be experiencing that I can contribute to resolving? Is it necessary for them to improve their branding? A new mobile-friendly website? What is the relationship between that and the services that I'm offering?

Here is a real example of my dream client company (which I'm working with currently):

  1. Digital service provider for various sectors. I love working with projects in different areas, which helps me grow as a designer and feeds my curiosity. I learn and get bored quickly, so I need a company with various projects to work on.

  2. A large company, fully remote. I can work from wherever I want and still be connected to the team. Different time zones allow me to have time for deep work. Remote culture also means more flexibility and responsibility, which I like.

  3. Mostly B2B because it's usually more complex and requires critical thinking. Preferably digital products, services, and experiences.

  4. No strong hierarchy, startup-like organization. The company should value design and be customer-centric. Again, flexibility and responsibility come along. I can work independently and within a team depending on a project.

  5. The company is still growing its design expertise and maturity. Besides the client work, I can help establish a remote culture and design processes and mature design.

Does this look like a pretty solid definition, right? 

But there's one crucial thing about this…

Clients are people, not companies.

Instead, we need to think about the person I'm working with (for) within the company.

  • What is this person's role in the business?

  • What are the challenges they are facing?

  • How can I make their work easier/better?

Let's apply to the example above.

  1. The person is a design lead or design director in a company. They are decision-makers, which means they can hire people, assign projects, and impact the payments process.

  2. This person knows their company needs a better design culture and wants to make the design more mature across the entire organization. 

  3. I can reach out to this person and compellingly present my work to help with client work and improve the company's design culture.

Now we're cooking with gas!

We've identified the type of company we'd dream of working with. More specifically, we identified a person we want to appeal to and a specific challenge we will help them with.

I followed this process to define different kinds of clients at other times of my career. Lastly, I'd add that it's essential to keep the focus here. You can describe as many dream clients as you like. Then pick one or two that you're most excited about and take action on them first.

Now, we're ready to find clients who match this definition.

In the next part, we'll do business research and take the most crucial step: first contact.

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