It doesn’t matter what type of business you’re in – eventually there comes a point where you want to transition away from working with dozens of two-bit clients, and start chasing a few high rollers… the ones who care less about tracking every penny and just want quality results.
More money for less work, right? Sounds awesome.
What no one seems to understand is that it’s very rare to open up shop and immediately start booking $5,000+ clients. Oh, we certainly hear about a lot about it, thanks to internet business gurus who promise you’ll go from making $20 to $200,000 overnight, but that’s just not the reality of things.
I’m not saying that you won’t ever attract those kind of clients, but the process is much longer and much more involved than most people realize.
1. Honor the Journey
We all have to start somewhere, and that’s usually at the bottom of the pile. It takes time to work your way up, client by client, to gain the skills and solid reputation high-ticket buyers expect.
However, just because you have to start small doesn’t mean you have to think small.
No matter how you want to do your planning (quarterly, monthly, yearly, whatever), you should always set both an achievable goal and a stretch goal. The achievable goal will keep your momentum and sense of accomplishment high, but the stretch goal is what will keep you motivated to keep moving.
As you’re setting goals, think about what your clients’ (and their industry’s) biggest pain points and struggles are, and figure out how to anticipate and solve those issues. Being known as someone who can solve seemly overwhelming problems will eventually make you a hot commodity on the market.
2. Network (and network more, and still more)
How on earth is anyone going to know about you and what you do if you don’t talk about it? Putting a few Facebook and Twitter posts out there is fine, but the real momentum comes when you have personal interaction with another human being.
You never know where your next client is going to come from. Network with other pros, even if you’re not looking for work at that moment. If they’re overbooked, they might remember your name and send a potential client your way later.
Also make sure you’re hanging out (whether that’s in real life or online) where your soon-to-be high-end clients are. One time I ended up listening to the people next to me complaining about their fruitless search for a wedding photographer – while I was getting a pedicure! It was super easy for me to start talking to them and casually mention that I’d heard they were looking for a photographer.
Pro-tip on this… don’t be creepy. You’ll get a lot further with genuine, authentic interest and interaction than by pushing your business right off the bat.
3. Showcase your kick-ass work
Just because you’re working with smaller clients doesn’t mean that your work is any less worthy of showing off.
Take the time to build a fabulous portfolio with case studies and testimonials from happy customers that lends credence to your professional chops. And don’t forget about including good photographs or images to properly showcase your products or designs.
Having professionally presented examples of your work with testimonials and statistics could make the difference between landing that high-dollar deal and having them pass over you for someone else.
Presentation is everything, and lackluster photos of a stellar portfolio isn’t going to do you any favors. A professional video goes a long way, too!
4. Deliver high-end results for high-dollar payout
One thing universally understood is that high-end clients expect red carpet treatment and results. They may not care what it takes for you to get there – more of your time, hiring on subcontractors, etc – and don’t mind paying for that service.
Again, look at the problems your high-end clients are dealing with and figure out how you are uniquely positioned to offer a solution to those issues.
5. Contract that shizz
You knew I was going to get here eventually, didn’t you? Once you start taking on fewer clients for more money, you’re risking a whole lot more in your business.
So much more is at stake… their money, your reputation, your financial wellbeing. Having just one big-time client not pay you on time can suddenly represent losing 50% of your income in a month instead of just 5%. Not so cool.
Protect yourself (and your client) by having a contract that clearly spells out the scope of work, what the payment terms are, what happens in the event of late payments, medical emergencies, if they don’t get materials to you on time… etc.
Not only is this just good business practice, a well-written contract also reinforces that you’re a professional and can be trusted to handle their high-dollar project.
Ready to launch yourself into the deep end of the pool? Check out these other blog posts: