Imagine the scene. You’re sitting at your laptop, uploading photos from your latest photoshoot. You’re excited – you KNOW your audience are going to go crazy over what you’ve done this time. You know these pictures are going to just about break the Internet, and those emails are going to start rolling in. Within a week, you’re going to be in multiple email conversations with new clients and customers, firming up their orders and getting contracts back as you write new deadlines into your diary.

What happens when those pictures actually go live?


Lots of “oohs” and “aahs” and three hundred “likes”, but no emails?

A couple of time wasters?

You know you’re doing great work. In fact, you’re working your behind off to get your creative gifts out into the world, but the world just isn’t buying. That’s frustrating, because it’s not as if you’re not giving it your all. You’re giving it your absolute best. Where are the actual customers? Is your work not good enough? Why will no-one open their check book? What is the magic formula for going from “One day I’ll buy something from you” to “When can you fit me in”?

Most people think it’s a numbers game. The more you can get the word out on social media, the more potential clients will see you… and then The Right Customers will magically find you. But you already know that’s not it – makers are sharing like mad all over Facebook and Instagram, and they’re still struggling. Lots of likes of course, but actual customers are thin on the ground… and Facebook likes don’t pay the rent. No, it’s not a numbers game; stop banging your head against that wall!

The secret to finding customers is not to look for more likes. It’s not a numbers game. You need to begin with your Avatar.

 Vintage style wedding gown by Cathy Hay, (c) 2005

Who’s your Avatar?

Your avatar is your ideal client. She’s the person you’re doing all this for. She’s the person you have in mind, whatever you’re making.

She might be a real person or she might be fictional, but she is your number one fan, the person who would look at your stuff and say “Oh my God, where have you been all my life?” She LOVES your work. Your creations express who she is better than she can express it herself. She would buy anything you made in a heartbeat.

Who is that person? What’s her age/location/job/relationship status/haircut? What is she into? Is she Hallowe’en crazy? Mad about fine art? What are her other favourite brands? Is her favourite movie Sex and the City or The Nightmare Before Christmas? What are her hopes and dreams? What keeps her awake at night?

The way to make the leap from likes to “Let’s work together” is to know your avatar like she’s your best friend. Answer the questions above in writing, and create a clear picture in your mind. Have a picture of her on the wall, and always make for your avatar. Seek to delight her. Make her day. Make her life easier. Make her eyes light up. Serve her. Brighten her world.

When you have a clear Avatar, then your message and your brand become crystal clear. It’s obvious what type of person your work is for, and it will start to resonate clearly with people who fit your Avatar’s profile.

The mistake most people are making

Most makers are not only chasing likes, but they’re making to please themselves. They are following their own whims. That’s fine if you’re doing this as a hobby, but if you want to make an impact in the outside world, the focus has to come off you and shift to the person who’s going to buy. She may be a lot like you, but she is clearly defined – probably representing a particular facet of your personality.

So what’s the difference between making for your own pleasure and making for a person who’s like you? The difference is that if your avatar is outside of you, she stays consistent over time, and your brand message is that much clearer. If you are your avatar, then it gets fuzzy, because your audience has to try to keep up with your wandering interests.

A clear avatar is a clear message that can resonate more easily, open conversations… and then open check books.

What if everyone is your avatar?

What if you could see all sorts of people buying your stuff? What if your work has appeal across a broad range of people? Then your avatar is the “early adopter”. She’s the one who found you first (and she’s not afraid to say so!) She was the low hanging fruit who understood what your brand was about right from day one. You had her at “hello”. She’s the one who shares everything you do on social media. She’s the one whose friends come knocking because she can’t stop talking about you. Who is she?

Leave me a comment and tell me… who is YOUR avatar?