The benefits of being a weirdo

“Normal is a setting on your dryer.”

Normal is also something I’ve never been accused of being, and I’m proud of that.

As a kid, being a strangeling was certainly not pleasant, especially during recess. But as an adult, I’ve come to realize that it’s a strength, not a weakness.

Going against the grain…seeing the world from a different perspective…asking different questions…doing things differently. Those are the hallmark traits of every successful entrepreneur.

If you’re in private practice as a CPA, EA, or tax attorney, you’re automatically part of the weirdo camp, too. Welcome to the club!

Yes, I just called you a weirdo. Wear it with pride.

Why are you and I a bunch of weirdos?

Because we’ve eschewed the cultural norm to just get a job, put in our 40 years, and then die.

You’re a weirdo because you’ve taken the risk of starting your own business.

You’re a weirdo because you going against the grain of the normal tax/accounting career trajectory.

You’re a weirdo because you’ve even chosen to operate your business differently. Different pricing, different service offerings (tax controversy??? are you insane?!?!), different types of clients.

Well guess what?

Normal people obtain normal results.

They have normal, average lives. Mediocre careers. And median incomes.

As this strange, abnormal creature called a “business owner”, you don’t have to settle for average or mediocre anything. Rather, you set the rules. You decide what your income is. You decide the kind of lifestyle you want to live.

I’d like to encourage you to do one more weird thing. It’s one of the weirdest things that any business owner can do. So it’s weird, even in the land of oddballs like us.

I want to encourage you to start turning away business. Start saying “no” to prospective clients that don’t fit YOUR criteria. Become the niche specialist across all the services you offer — tax prep, payroll, bookkeeping, taxpayer representation, advising, the whole nine yards.

Our August issue of “The Profitable Accountant” is focused entirely on this concept. In order to get it, you need to become a Gold member ASAP. Here’s the link: reading

The simplest way to attract better clients

Last week, we discussed how some clients just plain suck, and need to be thrown back.

One of our Diamond members even reported back that he fired FOUR clients last week as a result. A Gold member fired one long-standing client that (until they became a problem child) used to represent 10% of their annual gross revenue.

Kudos to those of you that took action and got rid of the weakest links in your clientele.

That opens up room in your schedule to attract better clients.

Over the past few days, I gave you some simple exercises to complete to help you identify who your best clients are so that you can go out and replicate.

But, there’s an even simpler strategic move you can make to attract better clients.

It’s not only simple, but painlessly easy to implement.

Even better, by doing this one thing, your marketing costs will drop and your conversion rates will improve.

What is it? Niching.

That’s right: Pick a niche, and dominate it.

That’s what I did when I made the decision to focus most of my marketing efforts on small, mom & pop trucking companies in Utah, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado. After making one particular observation, it became a no brainer to focus my marketing efforts here and utterly dominate this tiny sector of the tax resolution market in these particular states.

It’s the principle of becoming a “big fish in a smaller pond”.

The exercises from yesterday and Friday will help you choose a niche based on whom you’re already serving. But don’t forget to take a look outside your existing clientele and ask yourself, “Is there a better market that I could be serving?”

What exactly do I mean by a niche? Basically, a niche is a business category, occupation, hobby, special interest, or pooled affinity.

Examples of niches:

-medical practices
-real estate agents
-Care Bear collectors
-Burning Man attendees

Each of these is a special type of niche. If you want the dictionary definition, a niche is “denoting or relating to products, services, or interests that appeal to a small, specialized section of the population”.

The best niche for YOU to serve may not necessarily be the best niche for ME to serve. In fact, two CPAs with offices right next door to each in the same office building could best grow their practices in totally different ways. One … Continue reading

Who is your IDEAL™ client?

I genuinely hope that you took the time yesterday to make that hit list and start ridding yourself of the clients that are time vampires and non-paying leeches.

Today, let’s move on to a happier topic: Replacing them with better clients.

In fact, replacing them with the best clients. IDEAL™ clients.

You already know that you can’t be all things to all people, it’s a cliche we all hear, all the time. But when it comes to marketing, it’s a cliche that you must embrace. In order for your marketing to be effective, it has to be targeted at specific people in order to elicit a specific response.

Your marketing messages will work best when you have targeted offers that are tailored to specific audiences. For example, it makes absolutely zero sense to market bookkeeping services to people that don’t own businesses. You can’t sell tax prep to people with no filing requirement. Taxpayers that full pay on time don’t need tax resolution. Etc.

For today, I want you to take a critical look inside your business. Turn off your phone. Close the door. Shut down Facebook. Tuck away the newspaper. Grab a pen and paper, and write out some actual answers to some serious questions:

  • What are the real names of my 10-20 favorite clients?
  • What specific things do I like about working with these clients?
  • What are the names of my least favorite clients?
  • What services do I genuinely love providing to my clients?
  • What services do I despise doing?
  • What activities in my business give me the most joy?
  • What activities in my practice make me cringe the most?
  • What outcomes do I truly like achieving for clients?
  • Why am I in business for myself instead of working for somebody else?

These questions are by no means exhaustive and all inclusive. Chances are, when you actually do this, you’ll think of additional questions. Don’t try to self-filter or rationalize any answers you come up with, just write down what comes to mind. There are no rules here, and nobody will ever see this list. It’s just for you.

Spend at least 15 minutes on this. Minimum. If it takes you an hour, even better.

If you take this exercise seriously, it will start to reveal some very important truths. We’ll be exploring many of these truths in the August issue of “The Profitable Accountant”, which will be focused on servicing niche audiences … Continue reading