One of my favorite marketing books is Book Yourself Solid by Michael Port. The title comes from the desire of most business owners to fill their schedules with good paying client work.

Nothing wrong with that.

However, if you’re not careful, you could easily book yourself miserable instead. And that, trust me, is no fun.

Let me explain…

You see, as a business owner, the quality of your day-to-day work life is determined by the projects you work on and the clients you work with. If your schedule is packed to the rafters with projects you don’t like . . . or clients you don’t like . . . or fees you don’t like . . . then being “booked solid” is going to be a pretty miserable experience.

I know that from personal experience.

Many years ago, near the start of my adventures in self-employment, I was booked solid with work and clients I didn’t like.

In those days, my niche market was ad agencies in the Greater Toronto Area. I had built a fairly decent reputation among these agencies as a go-to business-to-business copywriter and got lots of work. Boy, did I ever! Clients would call me at all hours of the day and evening, even on the weekends. “Steve, we need a press release by noon today.” “Steve, our client hated the ad concepts. Come up with three more quick.” “Steve, we have a client meeting at 9 tomorrow. Be there. And bring the bagels!”

I was booked solid, all right. And miserable.

Now, there are a lot of benefits to working with ad agencies and design firms. I know many writers, designers and consultants who love the pace, excitement and creative energy. The problem for me was, I wasn’t one of those people!

So one day I sat down at a local cafe, got my notepad out, and asked myself this question: “Who is my ideal client?” I considered the type of projects I wanted to work on, the rates I wanted to get paid, the characteristics of the clients who would hire me, and more. By the time I finished my café mocha, my “ideal client” profile filled three pages.

Then I made a brave decision. I decided to devote all my marketing efforts on attracting that specific type of client. It was a transition. Things didn’t change overnight. But over the course of a year or so, I got to a point where the majority of my clients fit that three-page profile that was now pinned to the bulletin board in front of my desk.

My income went up. The quality of work I did for clients went up. And my zygomaticus (the facial muscles used in smiling) went up too.

So if you’re unsatisfied with the type of clients, projects and fees you’re currently attracting to your  business, do what I did. Take a few minutes today, sit down somewhere quiet, and create a profile of your ideal client. Then be selfish. Focus on landing just that type of client. You’ll find — as most business owners do — that “booking yourself solid” is actually easier if you do.

To your success,

Steve Slaunwhite
Marketing Coach & Author