Ideal Client Avatar

Ideal Client Avatar

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Xcelerate Business on LinkedIn

My word for 2023 (new thing for me, but I’m really lovin it!) is FOCUS.

Getting clear on your ideal client creates a focus for your business growth in a way that nothing can. It allows you to get granular and specific in terms of offers, where to find ideal clients, pricing and so much more. It feels counterintuitive; however, it’s one of the most important decisions to make in order to grow your business effectively.

What kind of clients would be ideal for your business?
Here are some reasons why it’s important to get crystal clear on who you’re serving.

1. You’ll skip a massive time waste
2. You’ll be less burned out and more satisfied because those clients are IDEAL for you.
3. Ideal clients bring you energy because you stay in your genius zone.
4. Ideal clients pay on time. Just one part of what garners them this space.

If you don’t have clarity and create content for a distinctive audience, they won’t recognize themselves in your content and that ideal client won’t have their interest piqued.
If you try to please everyone at once, you’re going to end up pleasing no one at all.

Instead, focus on attracting ideal clients who will help you grow your business.

Imagine this for a second.
You enjoy an abundance of incredible leads calling you because you’re so good at what you do.

They’re excited to work with you, and willing to pay a premium rate because you are a specialist in your field with credibility and authority.
Sounds good, right?

It’s certainly possible, but it doesn’t really matter whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been in business for a while.

Consider this as a simple formula.
The first thing in that formula is to draw in the right kind of people who will be the best fit for working with you.


They’re the ones who love your process, personality, and way of showing up for them.
1. Ask yourself WHO your ideal clients are.

2. Specialize. Become known as the go-to guy or gal for a service, you need to create content that solves the problems that your target audience has.

3. Clarity on who you’re talking to elevates you to expert status. You want to become known for your unique skills and knowledge.

If you create content that tries to appeal to everyone, no one will be able read what your expertise is in, so they won’t know who you really are.

And no matter what you think your niche is or where you want to take it, explore ways on how you can dig deep into that niche.

For example, perhaps your job involves helping people plan their finances.

If you get specifically clear on your dream client, you will go further. What if you positioned yourself as a financial planner that helps Millennials with their retirement plans, so they can retire at an early age.

Once you’ve got that level of clarity, you’ll be able to easily create targeted content for specific people and become known as an authority in that space.

You can easily find where they hang out by looking at their social media accounts.

To effectively reach and resonate with people who fit your target audience, you must be able identify them.

Consider another service option and explore defining your ideal client avatar. Let’s say you are a virtual assistant, and you decide that you want to focus on helping realtors who sell commercial properties.

Once you know who you want to talk to, you can start searching for groups on LinkedIn, social media sites, and online forums to connect with them.

And the good news? Because you’ve niched down and gotten clear on your WHO, you won’t be competing against a huge number of other VA’s who are generalists. Instead, you’ll be one of the only VA’s targeting this vertical. It also makes you more memorable an easy for others to refer you to ideal prospects once they know these specifics.

You’ve positioned yourself to be highly sought after by companies in the commercial real estate industry who need help.

You’ll learn their language and the different kinds of forms they need and which software works best in specific tasks. Perhaps your niche is there because of your previous life and professional expertise. Do you have expertise in accounting for the construction industry? Position your expertise around that. Construction firms know when they hire you, they won’t have to overexplain things or have lost time because you may not be familiar with a certain industry standard. It’s easier for the construction firm owner to recognize the value you will immediately bring to them. You are someone who can save them immense time, headache and frustration. Clients are looking for that, even if they haven’t said it out loud.

When you write content that reflects that knowledge and expertise, they will find YOU.
They need someone who can save them.

Imagine how many commercial real estate agents would love to have a virtual assistant who specializes in their industry or a construction firm that can hire a fractional accountant or CFO that knows their industry, jargon and practices.
How to get clarity about who your dream clients are

So here’s how you get a clear picture about who your dream clients are. Once that’s done, it’s so much smoother to create content for them specifically.


Here is a way to start:

Imagine just one individual.

Imagine you’re sitting together having coffee.
Describe this person by giving detailed descriptions of his/her demographics (age, gender, race, etc.) and personality traits (e.g., extroverted, hobbies, how they prefer to spend free time.

List out their wants, needs, and wishes.

What does he value in life? What does he do on his days off? What is her hobby? What is her favorite color? Give them a name.

After doing so, identify your target market’s pain points!

You’re in business because you solve customer problems. You’ve got the experience and the answers for a particular set of problems.
This is why getting “close to them” helps you figure those things out and be able to speak directly to what concerns them in a way that resonates well.
Once you really, deeply understand the challenges, this type of person faces it’s very doable to create products and services they’ll want to buy.

You’ll need to get to know your ideal clients well.

Ask yourself these questions:

What problems does my ideal client face?

My ideal clients’ frustration — and how I can solve it?

What doesn’t my customer like about my competition?

What is causing my customer to waste their time, spend money that doesn’t get them results, be frustrated, stay unhealthy, keep having bad relationships, etc.?

Once you understand your target audience’s pain points, you can cater to them with the services packaged in a way that delivers beautifully. Think hand in glove analogy here.

Write a paragraph describing your ideal customer.

After doing all of these things, write a paragraph describing who she/he is.

For example, a personal trainer might write the following: “My ideal client is someone who wants to get fit but has no idea where to start.”

Maria is a forty-four-year-old married mother of two teenagers who works full time and has no time to exercise. She grabs fast food instead of cooking healthy meals. She also eats too many sweets after dinner. Maria feels unattractive and lacks energy. She wants to lose weight and feel better about herself.

The above is an example. Create your own version.


Now that you’ve done that, what else did you discover about your ideal client? I’d love to know!

If you’re still working with a broad audience what keeps you from narrowing down your focus? What prevents you from picking a specific niche?
If you’d like to discuss how to get more specific on your ideal client, put your question down in the comments section below or DM me at

Ideal Client Profile (Part 1) – Demographic Data
Classic data such as age, geographic location, family, work, income.

Ideal Client Profile (Part 2) – Psychological Data
The demographic data told us who our Ideal Client is.
Psychological data, however, will tell us why they would want to purchase our products or services.

Part 2 will depend largely on your area of business.

Ideal Client Profile (Part 3) – What are they searching for What problems or needs do they have?

Can you take your business any further?

If you’re still working broad, what keeps you from narrowing down your focus? What prevents you from picking a specific niche?
If you’d like to discuss how to get more specific on your ideal client, put your question down in the comments section below and I’ll follow up.

If you know your ideal client is on LinkedIn and you’d like to download my content guide for speaking to your ideal client with content for LinkedIn, click here to receive the complimentary PDF.

Three Steps to Create and Clarify Your Brand Message

Three Steps to Create and Clarify Your Brand Message

Xcelerate Business on LinkedIn

Your brand message is tied into your identity. It represents how you speak, the way you frame things, and what you stand for, where you come from and why people might care about you. It helps you create an effective connection between your company and its potential customers and how they will benefit from being associated with you.
As soon as you start thinking about your company’s branding strategy or messaging, it can feel abstract. It’s not abstract however.
Building a storybrand around your product/service is an excellent way to get people talking about your brand.

  1. To position your ideal client as the main character of your brand story, make sure he or she is featured prominently throughout every aspect of your business.

Don’t get caught up in the spotlight of the company’s narrative. Your services, and your product exist to serve your ideal clients.
When someone contacts you for any reason, whether they’re a prospective customer or not, they should be able to quickly envision who you are and in which specific ways your services are distinctive.

Defining a “buyer persona” (aka buyer types) is important so you can create content that speaks directly to your audience.

ACTION STEP: Think about reaching out to your ideal client. Your focus should be to talk to one particular individual. Speak to his/her needs, desires, wishes and dreams. Show him/her that you understand exactly what he/she is facing and that you can help her/him achieve success.


2. Become an authority

You’ve made sure that your clients are front and center in your business. Does that mean you don’t have an official role anymore?
Your prospective clients should visualize themselves in the role of your brand’s protagonist. They also need to understand exactly who you are in relation to them.

We don’t just compete against others; we want to support our clients’ success.
My branding pages speak directly to my ideal client. They also position me as the person who guides them through their own branding process. Together, these two aspects of our relationship build the foundation for an ongoing collaboration between us.

It’s where we will work together to solve your issues and help you reach your desired destination. In this type of working relationship, I must learn about your situation before I can offer any kind of solution. Only after I’ve learned everything about you can I begin to formulate a plan to help you achieve your goal. I cannot diagnose until I understand. At that point I can create a pathway to transform your brand message and give you exactly what you’re looking for.

Once you know who your ideal client is, go through your own experience, knowledge, and the success you’ve achieved for past clients to show them that you’re capable of helping them succeed too.

Premium Business Features

3. Identify Your Ideal Client’s Goals — And How You Can Help Them Get There

You need to identify the type of person who would most likely use your service. I absolutely adore envisioning the boss as a mentor, assisting her/his team members navigate their journeys through life. It’s almost like stepping forward and throwing rocks at whatever stands in the way of their success. What a powerful method of considering servicing our clients!

Now that we’ve translated the message into messages for each individual customer, let’s take a look at some commonalities among them.
Their current brand no longer looks, feels, or sounds authentic. They didn’t develop their current brand strategically from the beginning.
Your next step is to identify your ideal clients’ biggest obstacles, and start throwing rocks at those obstacles and helping eliminate them. You can illustrate for your client how they can and will succeed when they hire you.

Listen attentively and don’t offer solutions until it’s clear that you understand the pain, issues, obstacles and struggles as well as the opportunities that exist within the crisis. Once you understand, and can apply your expert skills to help diagnose a potential solution, then you will be creating the vision of the transformation your client is seeking.

While these are the steps, it cannot be a “cookie cutter” solution. That is why defining, clarifying and building a brand message sounds so elusive. It’s creative, but also an analytic process. Those polar opposites must be integrated and aligned to develop a clear brand message and position.

My most favorite way of expressing this is “If you are the jar of jelly, you cannot step outside of the jar and look at the label.” It takes an outside perspective

That’s why it’s critical to get a perspective that will have a viewpoint distinct from yours; can bring key creativity to the process and who is willing to listen and understand. You and your firms’ journey matters and must be integral to brand development ..

What’s been your experience with brand message and positioning?


Author: Iris Culp


Value Investing

Value Investing

Photo edited by Heinz Alvarez

Xcelerate Business on LinkedIn

It has been almost 300 years since Benjamin Franklin wrote this quote, but it still holds true today.

The greatest investment you could ever make is by investing in yourself.

While many are concerned about inflation and the variables of the economy we still have the ability to invest in one of the most dynamic and important resources that exist. Ourselves. Don’t just get knowledge. Apply that knowledge. Acquiring knowledge and implementing it to one’s own circumstances is the best way to achieve success.

I have read that investing in one’s own education and training pays a 30:1 return on investment ratio. If we’re going to invest in anything, investing in knowledge is a smart move…

Knowledge is the most valuable asset we can invest in.

Investing in knowledge means expanding and developing our skillset. It will help us make better decisions.

Knowledge is an asset that never goes out of style. It doesn’t go down in value when stocks fall, so if you invest in knowledge, you won’t be losing any money.

Investing in yourself means gaining wisdom, experience, and giving you the ability to make informed decisions. Warren Buffet also agrees with the perspective on the importance of education.  He says “You are your own biggest asset”.He shares passionately and clearly about that in this classic Warren Buffet video clip.

Why don’t some people invest in knowledge?

One of the reasons why people don’t see the value of improving themselves is because they don’t foresee the benefits of doing so. Those folks take a very short term angle and don’t gain traction long-term.

Investing in yourself is not just about having more money. It also helps one ensure you are leveraging your time wisely as you create present and  future opportunities.


Knowledge is an investment.


An investment is defined as “an outlay of funds with the expectation of receiving financial gain”. In other words, it is a commitment of capital with the hope of earning more than what was originally put into it.

Investing in your education can help you earn more, and the price someone would be willing to pay for your services, and your skills. You can learn new skills  that can make you effective in speaking to potential ideal clients for example. That’s a powerful set of skills and knowledge base to build from.

Knowledge is power. An investment in knowledge pays off. Profit or material results may be found in several different ways:

  • Improved decision making
  • Better understanding of key topics that can grow your business, revenue and/or income
  • Acquiring a new skill or business angle that can generate revenue

Knowledge is important.


Knowing things helps you become smarter, and makes you able to think critically. It can help you develop your critical thinking skills, which can have a huge impact on your life.

Better decision making enables us to choose not only our best investments but also our best life paths. To do so we must always learn and improve ourselves.

Success depends upon one’s own personal definition; however, without knowledge, we cannot achieve any form of success. It has a ripple effect throughout every aspect of our lives, so it’s important to learn as much as we can.

Learning helps you become better at conversing with others for certain. Having more education correlates with reporting higher life satisfaction in a study from a Social Indicators Research article . It does make sense that these things  make you feel happier and more satisfied with yourself. 



Finally, an investment into knowledge is extremely important for your business. This is true across any industry. Due to the fast paced nature of any business, having the knowledge to make the best decision at the right time, is critical to success. Making the wrong choice at the wrong time can be disastrous for your company. Knowledge is power!

For things to change, you need to change. To improve, you need to improve.

There is someone else who has achieved success despite living in the same circumstances and having access to the same opportunities as you but who is still doing better than you.

An investment in knowledge will likely lead to deeper understandings of customer needs, costs, taxes, and employer responsibilities.

An investment in knowledge will improve your decision-making skills and help you anticipate future events or be more prepared for the ever changing landscape of business.

Is LinkedIn Premium worth it?

Is LinkedIn Premium worth it?

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Xcelerate Business on LinkedIn

It depends.The key question here is: will you really use these specific features? Because if you don’t utilize the Premium tools you paid for, the upgrade won’t make any difference for you.

Think of it this way. If you purchase a vehicle with a turbocharged engine and are using that function routinely, then it is well worth it. However, if you make that purchase and never or rarely engage the turbo function, then it is a waste.  

So, back to the answer, it depends on what you want to accomplish. If you simply want to stay in touch with your network, check in occasionally and stay abreast of professional conversation in your network, then the free plan gets the job done.  

With a basic account you can:

  • Find and reconnect with colleagues and classmates.
  • Request and provide recommendations.
  • Search for and view profiles of other LinkedIn members.
  • Receive unlimited InMail messages.
  • Save up to three searches and get weekly alerts on those searches.

Even with the limitations of the free membership, LinkedIn is by far the ideal spot for  B2B businesses and salespeople for what I call the 3 C’s 

  1. Connect
  2. Converse
  3. Convert 

Regardless of which level  you choose, LinkedIn is a standalone as it is related to finding, connecting, conversing and engaging in B2B. 

If you are looking to do granular targeted prospecting, gaining a regular lead channel, conduct unlimited searches toward your ideal client base, then Premium Business or Sales Navigator is required. Every business needs are different and each business leader should think about their presence on this business networking platform. 

I’ve consolidated information into a comprehensive comparison guide that describes the features, tools, costs and benefits of each LinkedIn membership level.

Download that here: LinkedIn Memberships Comparison Chart


Here is a snapshot overview on the premium plans 

There are 4 types of premium LinkedIn accounts. Each has different options to meet certain needs. The following options are designed to help in core ways: 

1. Premium Career:  find a job and access the extensive learning resources to upgrade current skill set and knowledge. 

2. Recruiter: to locate, store and retrieve data on ideal passive and active candidates.

3. Business Premium: grow your network strategically and do some small scale prospecting. 

4. Sales Navigator: research qualified prospects, boost your sales and acquire new customers.

Currently the premium plan options are as follows when paid monthly (less when paid annually):


  • Premium Career: $29.99/month
  • Premium Business: $59.99/month
  • Sales Navigator Professional: $79.99/month
  • Recruiter Lite: $119.99/month

Here is a look at the Business Development Side


  • Premium Business gives you additional information about businesses and unlimited people searches. You also get 15 InMail messages per month.
  • Sales Navigator Core gives you advanced search filters to narrowly define your ideal target client. There are 50+ filters to sort, segment, save and create leads lists within the system.  It also comes with 50 InMail messages, and the ability to make notes on user profiles, as well as advanced tracking tools. It is essential for those who are focused on acquiring new prospects and customers in a very disciplined way.
Premium Business Features

Element included in Premium Business: Like the “Career” plan but with 15 InMail messages; you can browse more profiles — up to 3rd degree; see business insights (e.g. “Employee distribution and growth by function,” “Notable alumni”).

1. Who’s Viewed My Profile

This section lists all the people who have viewed your profile over the last 90 days (you can see only the last five people with a free account.) This feature is one of LinkedIn’s most popular components on the platform. Human nature is curious, especially when it comes to who is looking at us! It can uncover potential leads.

2. InMail

If you want to send a message to someone with whom you are not yet connected to this will require use of InMail.

InMails can be useful when you want to reach out to a potential prospect before you send them a connection request or if they haven’t accepted your connection request. Interestingly, using InMail has a much higher statistical acceptance rate than email by a significant margin. (LinkedIn does a great job of telling you all about this. This proprietary feature comes only  with a premium subscription. Your account is allocated a certain number of InMails every month. You can certainly purchase more. One way to message someone with whom you are not directly connected is via if you are in a shared group, you can message that member via the group and not use your InMail allocation.

3. Extended LinkedIn Network Access

With Extended LinkedIn Network Access, you have unlimited search results access and don’t fall under the “commercial use access” threshold of the free account.

Activities that do not count toward the limit include:

  • searching profiles by name using the search box
  • browsing your 1st-degree connections from your
  • connections page
  • searching for jobs on the jobs page.

Sales Navigator Premium


LinkedIn offers a free 30-day trial of Sales Navigator. After your free month, you pay $79.00/month or less when billed annually.

With Sales Navigator you get 50 InMail messages, use of highly specified sorting and search tools; the proprietary lead-development tool; lead lists as well as lead recommendations. The focus of this premium subscription is with its highly advanced features and is geared for focused prospecting.


Advanced Search

The extensive search filters found in Sales Navigator offer an intense level of detail and it simplifies automated sorting and filtering. The search filter capabilities alone have upwards of 50+ search filtering options; the resulting ability to get granular on lead prospecting is unparalleled. This service allows one to search for ideal clients with precision while the ability to to receive new results daily, weekly or monthly.

Notes and lead lists

You can add Notes to the profiles of your prospects and/or the companies you wish to follow. You can create multiple “lead Lists” you create and set up multiple tracking tools within the Sales Navigator tool.
Every time you find a prospect or connect with a person, you should add them to a Lead List in Sales Navigator, based on who they are. Common categories would be: a prospect, a strategic partner or an existing client.
One of the most powerful elements within Sales Navigator is the ability to set up trigger events, which notify you of happenings such as a job change within the most recent 90 days.

Sales Navigator makes it incredibly easy to locate prospects with its Recommended leads & accounts features.
Sales Navigator suggests leads based on two parameters:
similarity to leads you have recently saved
sales preferences you saved in your Sales Navigator settings.
You can easily see and interact with the suggested profiles as well as save them as leads.


Premium Business gives you additional information about businesses and unlimited people searches. You also get 15 InMail messages per month.

Sales Navigator Core gives you advanced search filters to narrowly define your ideal target client. It also comes with 50 InMail messages, and the ability to make notes on user profiles, as well as numerous sales tools. It is essential for those who are focused on acquiring new prospects and customers in a very disciplined way.

Many people using LinkedIn for lead generation often choose to upgrade from the free to a paid LinkedIn subscription for the following reasons:

they feel they are missing out on opportunities
they’d like to accomplish more in less time
they are not tapping into the full potential of LinkedIn for their business.

Upgrading to a paid LinkedIn membership may not be right for everyone, but it certainly will make sense for those who can find, connect and build relationships with their ideal clients on LinkedIn.

I hope this comparison helped you decide which LinkedIn membership level will work best for you.

If you find you aren’t needing a premium account at this time and would like to invest $79 monthly in learning how to leverage LinkedIn, feel free to join the IC Growth LinkedIn Membership group, which provides live coaching clinics and access to a private “vault” of tools, templates and tutorials
Not sure if it’s a fit? I invite you to hop on my calendar for a quick conversation at 15 min chat.
Hashtags on LinkedIn

Hashtags on LinkedIn

Photo Credit: Engit Akyurt

Xcelerate Business on LinkedIn | Monthly Newsletter

Hashtags are used across social media platforms to categorize content, so we can search and find content that we are interested in and so businesses and brands can reach larger audiences of people who may be interested in their content.

When you follow a hashtag you will see content in your feed that others have posted about, with a reference to that same hashtag. Content will appear from personal profiles and company pages outside of your network.

I think Steven Bartlett, CEO of Social Chain summed it up well:

“Your news feed is your library. Follow hashtags like #goodnews to see more positive content in your feed every day.”

When you choose three hashtags relevant to your LinkedIn post, your content will be shown on the feeds of LinkedIn users who follow those specific hashtags. They don’t even have to be your connection or follower to see it.

In LinkedIn’s own words, you should use hashtags to:
Establish your credibility and expertise
Reach people who value your insights
Start meaningful conversations over shared interests


✅ Only use 3. Or, if you simply find that too hard to keep that focused, use absolutely no more than 5!

LinkedIn suggests using 3. Anything more and you will hurt the organic reach of your post on LinkedIn.

Here is an analogy on using too many hashtags. You have one big cake.

Each slice is one hashtag. The more hashtags you have, the less impact each of your hashtags has.

Not everything is meant to be a hashtag. Don’t guess, research. You can download a Chrome extension to make it easy, or LinkedIn will tell you when you type in the hashtag, how many followers that specific hashtag topic has.

Overusing hashtags on LinkedIn makes it harder for the LinkedIn algorithm to index your content.
In other words, LinkedIn gets confused about which hashtag to prioritize.


✅ Be consistent. Using different hashtags every day is counterproductive. You can’t develop a consistent audience and following when you are not consistent in the hashtags and content you develop

🚫 Don’t use irrelevant hashtags.

🤪 You might get excited. 😲 Oh wow, look at this hashtag!

It has 107,745,231 followers. And this one has 56,923,190 followers.

🚫 Don’t choose based on followers!

Unless they are 100% relevant to your post, you’re only going to harm yourself.  LinkedIn prioritizes relevancy above all else.

Zero in on popular hashtags that are relevant.

Think of the practicality of this; if a hashtag has 250 followers, that doesn’t mean that all of the 250 people who follow this hashtag will likely be online on a given day.

And even if they are, LinkedIn might show them competing content and not content from your hashtag.

It’s better to have a few medium-sized hashtags with high engagement than gigantic hashtags with no engagement.

Rule of thumb: Moderation is key.
Follower counts: 5,000 – 30,000 followers
Number of hashtags: 3 per LinkedIn post
Type of hashtags: Use a mixture of broad and niche hashtags

Five Extra Tips to Make Hashtags Work for You

1. Hashtags do not work if they are posted in a comment on a post.

2. Hashtags do not work if posted in a LinkedIn article as articles do not appear in hashtags feeds.

3. LinkedIn Hashtags Need some air!

Another common pitfall with LinkedIn hashtags is a lack of spaces BETWEEN hashtags.

If you don’t provide a space in between the hashtags, LinkedIn only will  recognize the first hashtag. For example, if you make a blended set of hashtags like this:

#linkedinstrategy #linkedincontent #linkedintips, only the first hashtag is picked up. Always make the space between each hashtag.

4. Focus on Short LinkedIn Hashtags. Don’t use hashtags that combine more than 2-3 words.  Such as NEVER.

For example, avoid hashtags such as #LinkedInsuperstarcontentwriting

No one is going to logically look for a topic like this.  It’s too long and convoluted.

So, target hitting that middle of the road sweet spot of a decent number of followers using words that make intuitive sense, particularly as you are building your following and growing engagement.

5. Change your LinkedIn Privacy Settings from Private to Public.

In order for others to discover your LinkedIn posts organically through the magic of LinkedIn hashtags, it’s important that your profile is set to public. Otherwise, your content will only be visible to your direct connections and you’re going to miss out on a ton of targeted traffic!


Done well, your approach to hashtags helps anchor your brand and signpost your content themes. Once you get your hashtags rhythm, it takes about 45 seconds to do and really helps you connect with your ideal audience.

💡 Key tips for smart use of hashtags on LinkedIn are below.

  • Use only 3-5 hashtags, max. Never more.
  • Use LinkedIn search to identify hashtag frequency & dial in to your audience interests
  • Place hashtags at the end of content
  • Go big & broad with 1-2 hashtags and use 1-2 niche hashtags.
  • Consistent use of hashtag keywords will anchor your brand and signpost your content themes

Remember the goal here is to reach your target audience on topics they follow and care about  and build your business visibility and brand awareness.

It all starts with your visibility on LinkedIn, and relevant hashtags can bring you the right audience knocking at your inbox.