3 Reasons You Are Not Attracting GREAT Clients

3 Reasons You Are Not Attracting GREAT Clients


How many times during the middle of a client engagement do you say to yourself, “never again will I work with this type of client.”? Then, a week later, needing some quick cash, you do it again even though you see the red flags? I’ll raise my hand.

You think if I just update my website undoubtedly higher value clients will send me an inquiry. I’ll get better images, obsess over every pixel, and incorporate some new fancy animation/function. I’ll slowly raise my hand again – about (I’ve lost track) times.

Nothing different happens. Inquiries are still slow, and people just don’t seem to value your services.

That’s because, honestly, we are focusing on the wrong things, and we miss what matters. I’ll walk you through the three most common mistakes I’ve learned and what to do instead.

Mistake 1: You Lack Focus.

When I first started my business, it was out of necessity. I had been working for an intellectual property firm as a technical advisor (read: in-house geek) for about seven years before I was diagnosed with cancer.

I quickly had to find something to do on my own to help with household finances. I picked up odd online tech jobs here and there and was asked by several if I “did website design.” Sure (really no), but I convinced myself that I could figure it out and learn. Which I did and well.

I worked with anyone that came along. Seriously. I felt like an imposter and also spun into massive burn out. Having to keep pivoting and pumping myself up to figure out yet another industry.

It wasn’t till I meet my mentor that I learned a better way.

Focus on a specific target audience.

Not going to lie, I had some serious scarcity mindset and resistance at first. Afraid of alienating people and thus missing out on work. The truth is if you serve everyone, you are serving no one.

Your focus comes from the intersection between your passion, your skills, and the validity in the market.

Mistake 2: You Don’t Understand Or Know Your Customers’ Problems

A couple of years back, I hacked away on what I thought was the mac daddy of all service offerings. Three months of building a website, creating workbooks & cheat sheets, spending 100s of dollars on Facebook advertising.

Crickets. I mean not one sale to follow. There were tears, yup.

Have you been there too? We scratch our heads not understanding why in the world someone wouldn’t choose our product or service over a competitor? It’s the best, right? Can’t they see how special and high quality it is?

But that’s not how it works. Why do some people choose a competitor instead?

Because they solve the person’s problem(s).

Before you put your heart, sweat, and tears into creating products, services, or content, make sure it speaks to your target audience’s problems, needs, and desires.

“I often went fishing up in Maine during the summer. Personally, I am very fond of strawberries and cream, but I have found that for some strange reason, fish prefer worms. So when I went fishing, I didn’t think about what I wanted. I thought about what they wanted. I didn’t bait the hook with strawberries and cream. Rather, I dangled a worm or grasshopper in front of the fish and said: “Wouldn’t you like to have that?” – Dale Carnegie, author

You can’t guess or make assumptions here. You have to KNOW that what you are providing is solving a real problem for your audience.

Take some time to:

  1. Find out where your audience hangs out online. Go there and listen. Write down pain points, questions, struggles, needs, life story, and desires.
  2. Do an audit on all your client emails & any content comments. Write down common questions or frustrations that they ask.
  3. Personally, reach out to your past or potential customers and have real conversations. Get to know them and ask questions to uncover struggles, wants, and needs that they have right now.
  4. Create a survey.

Is this a lot of work? Yes, but I promise it will be worth it.

Mistake 3: You Ask Before You Give

When you land on someone’s website (that you don’t know or trust yet) and are immediately hit with a “give me your email, and I’ll give you this thing.” which email address do you give them?

Come on; I know you have more than one email address that you use, and one of them is for downloading “freebies” when you don’t care about reading any of their other content. I do.

Do you have a favorite person or company you follow and eagerly wait to see what they have to say next? I would bet, they gave you tons of value and gratitude before asking for anything in return. Which email address would you give them?

If we want to attract great clients, everything we do, we need to do it with a genuine intention of helping people solve their problems and creating remarkable experiences.

Brand loyalty (aka raving fans) is earned.

Your Turn: What else does it take to attract great clients? Please leave a comment below.

Till next time,


1 Comment

  1. Sagar

    Hi, Carrie, nicely written article.

    I have made the mistake number 3 quite a few times. The reason being, as a graphic/website designer, I have a creative mind (I have to have) and that has its advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is that you always try to do something different and have a design/plan in mind and push yourselves to the limit. The disadvantage is that once you come up with a design/plan, you’re so focussed on them that you forget what the customer actually asked for in the first place.

    The customer starts asking for revisions and you start blaming the customer rather before the idea of changing the design even occurs to you. This was the case with me and it took me a while to figure it out myself.

    Mistake number 1 is the most commonly made mistake by start-up designers/freelancers as they want to make it big too fast too furious by targeting everyone and not the particular audience. Having said that, targeting the audience is not enough. You need to understand the limitations of the target audience too. Now that is an entirely new topic that deserves its own article.

    Apologies in advance for grammar mistakes.


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