How To Change the Type of Client I Work With?

This is a question that I often get because I talk a lot about defining your ideal client in order to build recurring revenue in your business. To change the type of client you work with is hard. Maybe almost as hard as it is to have your dog answer the phone for you.

In fact, on the Ask Rezzz podcast, if you want to hear someone ask me directly, here you are.

Thanks Sasha-Shae.

It’s tough because you already have clients that need your concentration and time to work on their projects.

It’s tough because you have clients that don’t fit into your ideal client (anymore).

It’s tough because you are scared that if you shift focus, there will be a bunch of work that could be “missed” out on.

I want to share with you the most effective and best way to be able to start redefining your ideal client and/or projects so that you can build a sustainable freelance business. How do I know? Well because I’ve done it. I went from being a general web developer to an eCommerce specialist in a few short months.

For the sake of this article, I’m going to assume that you’ve done your homework and that there is a market fit for your solution to your new ideal project and/or client.

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1. Stop taking on all new projects and clients

The first step is stop taking on any and all new projects.

If you are working now and have projects on the calendar to be worked on, then those are the last ones that you should do that are not your ideal.

Any new project or lead that comes across your desk, no matter where it came from must meet your new guidelines for your new type of client. Put them through your vetting process. Have them fill out your Project Brief. Make sure that this new lead has a project that will fit into your new workflow.

If you don’t stop doing what you have been, then there’s no way that you’ll be able to change who it is that you work with.

2. There is always more work

The second step is to realize and be comfortable with the fact that you will get work.

If a lead isn’t an exact fit, you have to say “no” and be comfortable with that. Check out this awesome video by Curtis McHale on how to deal with someone that sounds almost like your ideal client.

I know how hard is it so say no to someone that is ready, willing, and able to work with you, especially if they are ready to pay.

You have to protect your time for those leads and projects that you know will be your perfect fit. They are out there because you’ve already landed a few or that you have done your homework in validating that need.

There’s plenty of work to be had out there. Saying “no” to a close enough project today means that you can say “yes” to the perfect projects tomorrow.

3. Ask who understands you the most

The third step is to start asking folks who know you, know what you want to be doing, and understand what it is that you are working towards.

You do this by letting your colleagues and friends know that you are available for work and sharing with them the exact type of work and client you are looking for.

Say you are a general web developer now and looking to focus strictly on sites that are existing and have eCommerce built in (yes, that was me).

You currently have several clients that you are working with right now that require pretty much all your time so there’s no way for you to be able to change up the content on your website, pushing things out to the socials, and even reach back into the archives of past clients and leads to ping those that may be a fit.

There’s just not enough time to shift gears and try to educate someone new about what it is that you are trying to do.

But you do have some colleagues and friends that know exactly what eCommerce means and can understand why you are shifting focus.

It’s time to make a list of those people. Specifically, their email addresses. In fact, I hope that you already have this list and are using it as a part of your warm outreach to get more work.

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Except for this time, you just want to send a few of these folks a quick email asking them for your ideal type work every month.

Then move to the next bunch the following month until you’ve reached out to everyone on the list.

They know what it is that you want because they are in a similar space as you. They can easily be your front-line sales team and filter out the leads that don’t fit. In fact, since you’ve specifically told them what it is that you want to work on, it’s easier for them to identify those types of clients.

Word of mouth is probably where you get most of your projects from, correct? Spread the word back out on the specific projects that you want to work with.

4. Stop getting word of mouth referrals from clients

The final step is the word of mouth referrals from your existing clients.

They see you as a generalist, they don’t see you as the type of person who is becoming a specialist. For example, my Mom thinks I’m a web designer, so certainly I wouldn’t want to take any referrals from her (sorry Mom).

The reason you don’t want referrals from them is because they only partly understand what is it that you do. Your existing clients will hear “website” and think you and send someone your way.


Having colleagues and friends that understand will be a much more effective way in order to receive referrals. They will here “website” and possibly ask or know what it is about the “website” and if it’s eCommerce, send it your way.

You don’t have to educate your colleagues because they may even be looking for the same type of projects as you. If they are, even better, because you know that there’s a market plus if they get overwhelmed with leads and work, they’ll know exactly who to turn to for help.

It’s not hard to shift focus to your ideal client

It will take some time for sure. This is not something that will happen overnight.

You have existing clients that you really cannot take time away so allow your shift in focus to work in the background because you have told colleagues and friends about it.

These folks are the ones that require the least education of your new focus and can keep an ear and eye out for you. When something that comes across their desk that they can’t take on, well they’ll turn it over to you.

Then as you start to go through the process of the new leads becoming clients, you can start writing articles for your blog, starting getting out there in the socials more, and slowly turn the ship in the direction of your new focus.

GBonus: Get The Secret 5th Step to Change The Type Of Clients You Attract
If I can do it, you can too. Much faster too! Because I’m giving you the exact steps to do it.

/ Jason Resnick

Jason is a WordPress developer helping small businesses, design and marketing agencies achieve their goals by specializing in Ecommerce and increasing conversions. Learn more about him here.

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4 responses to “How To Change the Type of Client I Work With?

  1. Jason, great post. You are demonstrating the power of “no.” What we say “no” to is much more important than what we say “yes” to do.

    I would add that existing clients that do fit the profile of your ideal client for new business can be a great source of referrals for the new kind of business to which we should say “yes.”

  2. Nice read Jason, your sense of humor is much appreciated. If someone believes that something can be changed and must be changed, they should go for it without any doubt.

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