There is a question that I’ve been asked a dozen times - by fellow business-owners, teachers, mentors, coaches - a question that I have always struggled to answer:
Who is your ideal client?
I’ve struggled with this for a few reasons:
I feel like if I think too hard about “who I want to attract,” then my focus becomes more on what I think other people want, and less on sharing what I’m truly passionate about.
Describing “an ideal client” feels limiting. I don’t actually know who will resonate with what I’m teaching, and I don’t want to say, “my ideal client is someone with scoliosis/ spinal fusion/ childhood trauma & loss,” because I’ve also had so many wonderful students who don’t have those things... It just doesn’t feel right!
But last week, I had a conversation with my coach about this, and she said something that finally resonated.
I had just shared with her how good I’d been feeling, posting more consistently to my YouTube channel and my blog. “And the really exciting thing,” I told her, “is that every time I catch myself thinking, ‘This isn’t good enough - I need to edit it for the 12th time before it's perfect!’ I ask myself, ‘Is it good enough to share with a friend?’ And if the answer is yes, I post it.”
Her response was immediate: “It sounds like you know who your ideal clients are: your ideal clients are your friends - either the friends you already have, or friends you haven’t yet met.”
I was surprised by this, because it sounded so opposite to what I had been taught, years ago, and so many times since: Your students are not your friends.
But as I thought about it, I thought maybe she was right.
Friends are people I care about, and who care about me.
Friends are people who see me fully, and who invite me to see them.
Friends do not expect perfection; they forgive mistakes, and trust that each other is always learning.
Friends have healthy boundaries with each other, and do their best to respect each other’s boundaries; they understand that respect goes both ways.
Friends admire each other’s strengths, but do not idolize each other; they do not waste time feeling jealous of each other, or wondering what the other thinks of them.
Friends have compassion with each other’s weaknesses; they do not jump at the chance to criticize, nor do they put each other down.
Friends want to support each other, and to see each other succeed.
For so long, I have thought that I have to be perfect at what I do in order to be respected. Despite generally feeling quite confident in my abilities as a teacher and writer, part of me has always felt scared that someone is just waiting in the wings, ready to cut me down. So, for a long time, I have second guessed myself, spending more time editing than writing, more time planning than doing, and ultimately sharing far less than my heart wants to share.
What if they hate my ideas? I think to myself. What if I say something incorrect? What if I have typos? What if my personality is too much? What if I post too much content and people think I’m annoying or self-indulgent?
But recently, when I started asking myself, “Is what I’m about to share good enough to share with a friend?” those questions dissolve. “Even if this isn’t the best class I’ve taught/ post I’ve written/ video I’ve made,” I tell myself, “my friends will forgive me. And chances are, there’s still something good about it, even if it’s not perfect.”
So, y’all. Here’s what I want to say:
Even if we’re not the kind of friends who have each other’s phone numbers, or who even know each other’s names yet, I want you to know that I truly and genuinely care about your wellbeing. I want to see you succeed. I do not expect either of us to be perfect, and I trust that we are (all) always learning - individually, and together. I will do my best to lift you up, and to look for the good in the things you do and share. I will do my best to respect your boundaries, and also my own. I will speak up for what I need, as kindly as I can, and will support you in doing the same.
And if this jives with you, then maybe we can work together - not in a transactional or hierarchical way, but in a mutually supportive, mutually caring, respectful, joyful, loving way. (And I know, people throw around the word “love” almost as much as they throw around the word “friend,” but I hope you know that I mean it - that to me, “to love” is to care deeply, and to act on that caring.) So here are a whole bunch of things coming up that I’d love to share with you - things that can’t, in fact, happen without you!
Thank you so much for being here, y'all. Whether you've been a student or friend of mine since the beginning, or we've only just met through the internet, thank you for being part of my life, and this community. I look froward to practicing together, learning together, laughing together, and seeing this community of friends grow!