What Is The Difference Between Target Market and Ideal Client?

IMG_2133One of the most important lessons  I have learned on my journey as a business owner is the importance of having absolute clarity.

And things change so it is important to check in regularly and double check you have clarity of what you want? Why you want it? Who you want it for? When you want it? Where you want it? And even how you want it?

Today I want to invite you to think about your ideal client and drill down a little more. Your ideal client will make being in business easier and you will find it much easier to manage your diary.


What is the difference between ideal client and target market?

But let’s just define what I mean by ideal client. You may have already heard the term target market and I do think there is a small differential between that and your ideal client.  I believe target market is general demographics such as:

  • Age
  • Location
  • Gender
  • Budget
  • Problem
  • Desired solution

My target market for example is:

  • Male or Female
  • Generally Hampshire but not exclusively
  • Aged 45 – 55
  • Budget – they know the value of a coach and prepared to invest average £150 per month
  • They have the problem that logically the business doesn’t feel like it is working but emotionally they don’t want to give up and they have lost clarity and confidence in their decisions and their next best step.
  • Solution – they know they need to plan, communicate and generally organise their thoughts and they don’t know who can best support them.

Ideal Client

My ideal client though is more about core values, personality and attitude. I love working with people who believe in collaboration not competition. So I am not a good fit for people who want to bring another business to their knees.

I love working with people that are open to learning new things and willing to look at and inside themselves for some of the answers. So I am not a good fit for those that resist change and just want to hear they are right.

I love working with people that have become aware that blame is not the way forward and whilst they may still find themselves blaming themselves or others they do have a willingness to learn how to change that behaviour. It is not fun working with someone stuck in blame they invariably start blaming you.

I don’t like working with people who believe it is everyone else’s fault. I love working with people who take responsiblity for their part in the communication.

I don’t like working with people who want to win at any cost to themselves and others. I love working with people where success is not just a million pounds but success is having a free head and time with family and friends. Success is having your health and well being.

Why does this matter?

The simple answer is I have to spend quite a bit of time with them so it is more fun spending time with people that have the same core values as me.

When you get really clear who your ideal client is you can attract them and repell the others.

Life is easier and business makes more sense.

Imagine a shop that sells meat that keeps attracting vegetarians. How do you think the typical conversation would go every day?

Not fun, not easy and definitely something you want to do more of. Imagine your energy levels at the end of every day after talking to meat eaters who are trying to convince you that being vegetarian is a bad idea versus engaging with vegetarions and sharing new recipes.

Knowing your demographics is important and it gets you started but it is not everything.

It is the little things that help you attract your ideal client.

My Story

As a mums and daughter coach in the early days I overlooked the fact that working with parents meant I would be expected to work evenings and weekends and that would take me away from my own family. A bit daft when the whole purpose of going self employed was to be a better working mum.

Despite loving what I do I started to resent working. I had clients with the problem I liked to solve. I was earning money. They were getting the results they wanted and yet something was niggling me.

I found myself starting to resent working and questioning if I even wanted to be self employed. At first I questionned my skills and whether I was even capable of running a business. This is so common when we lose clarity and we don’t dig deep enough to find the ‘real’ problem.

I wrestled with “Am I charging what I am worth?” “Am I valuing my knowledge?”

When I drilled down the answer was much simpler. I was working at a time that took me away from my family.

So I started to doubt my rates because to take me away from my family it had to be worth it and it wasn’t.

These clients I was attracting couldn’t work at the time of day that would allow me to be the good working mum I wanted to be.

Small Changes – Massive Differences

So I made a small tweak. I started to market to self employed parents and or parents that were prepared to take time off to work with me. And no surprise I started to love what I do again.

Over the years this has changed time and time again. Sometimes to fit with my family growing, or my own desire to work in new arenas or because my clients presented another opportunity.

But always I know when and where I want to work so that I can attract clients who can work when I work at my best.

Clarity Questions

  • Who are the people you want to work with?
  • Who are the people you love doing business with and bring you the most joy?
  • Where are you when you are working with that kind of client?

If you are still struggling to identify your ideal client or even what works for you to work at your best then please do get in touch.

If you know that chasing the money alone is not working for you and you like to read then I also recommend Helen’s book Successful Business Minds. It is a great read and talks about why businesses don’t survive if you only make decisions with money in mind.


About the Author – Sheryl Andrews – The Strength and Solution Detective

how to improve listening skills

Sheryl Andrews, Founder of Step by Step Listening, is well known for her fast speaking and her passion to make things happen. But what many of you may not know is that in private behind closed doors she was also no stranger to lapses in self belief and an overwhelming sense of not being good enough.

That was until she conquered her sensitivity to criticism and her fear of not being liked.

Today, Sheryl runs safe to speak retreats where you can develop resources and skills to gain clarity and confidence of what you want and how you want to be and all the time you will be improving and changing the way you respond to feedback.

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Published By

Sheryl Andrews, Founder of Step by Step Listening is well known for her fast speaking and highly motivational passion. But what many of you may not know is that in private behind closed doors she was also no stranger to lapses in self belief and an overwhelming sense of not being good enough. Sheryl use to find it difficult when criticised even when she knew they meant well and found it difficult to respond rather than react. A series of 3 events in her personal life exaggerated her emotional overwhelm and forced her to address this problem and conquer her sensitivity to criticism. Today she shares every day stories of every day people and inspires you to discover ways to gain clarity and confidence to change the way feedback and criticism impacts your performance.

View all posts by Sheryl Andrews →

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