Multi-Passionate Customer Profiles: What to Do When ‘ONE Person’ Isn’t Enough

You’re pretty smart, right? You must be; you’re here.

So, I’m guessing you get the concept of the customer profile, and you’ve spent some time imagining your ‘one person‘ to improve your marketing.

But… is one customer profile all you need?

Not every business is so monogamous. If you’re multi-passionate, then your situation may be more complex.

If you suspect that ‘one person’ isn’t enough, I’ve found an interesting way to work with this issue.

As Danny Iny says, “Answers are easy. Asking the right questions is hard.” So let’s start with the big question:

Is There More Than One ‘One Person’ for Your Business?

If you think there might be, then we’re in the same boat.

Turns out this problem is pretty common. You have more than one exciting idea, and you feel like you’re missing out if you focus on just one of them.

For example, I have a successful freelance writing business, but I’ve also started up a blog to help people earn money from freelance blogging. Plus I have this great new business concept that I want to explore in the coming year…

But it’s important not to over-complicate things. The more lines you have to follow, the easier it is to get tangled! So let’s look at the possibility of keeping just one customer profile first.

Do You Have to Split Your Business into Pieces?

Are the different lines of your business entirely separate, or is there some overlap? Could you merge them into a single interdisciplinary superbusiness? Would you want to?

Not every multi-passionate person needs a different ‘one person’ for each of their passions.

You can successfully combine divergent lines of business. Look at Marie Forleo, who coined the phrase “multi-passionate entrepreneur” and embodies it in everything she does. Look at Corbett Barr, who recently merged his personal blog and business blog back into a single concept at Think Traffic.

How can you tell if this approach will work for you? Well, for it to work, you need to find ‘one person’ who loves and wants every single one of your multiple lines of business. And -this is the key—they want it from you, not just from anybody.

In Marie Forleo’s case, that means one person who’s looking to gain self-realisation, personal fitness, and business success, all wrapped in a fun, direct, girl-power package. That’s doable. And Marie has won tens of thousands of followers by talking straight to her one person.

In my case, it would mean someone who wants to gain a successful freelance blogging career and ready-written blog posts from me. That’s unlikely. Some freelance bloggers do outsource writing work, but they don’t outsource it to me – my fees wouldn’t leave a less experienced blogger any profit.

OK, your turn. Grab something to write with, and note down all the things you hope to sell. Can you imagine one person who wants all of it? Do they want it delivered with your style and flavour? Do they have the time, the energy and the budget to engage with all your products and services? If you need a hand getting going – use the Customer Profile Template created by Danny and the Firepole Team!

If so, then congrats! You’ve found your one multi-passionate customer. Think of them while you’re taking care of business, and others will follow.

But if your passions and business ideas don’t merge neatly into a package that appeals to one special person, what’s to be done?

How to Manage Multi-Passionate Marketing

First, absorb Danny’s advice in this video about handling multiple projects without overstretching your energy and attention.

Then, decide how much you can put into an additional project over the next few months. My existing business was already running smoothly when I decided to start my new blog project, but I still got so overwhelmed that I cried sometimes. Make sure you’re not overloading yourself!

I couldn’t create a single, detailed customer persona that worked with all my business avenues, but I had a good picture of my ‘one person’ for each of them.

Now, I think of my collection of ‘one’ people as one family. They don’t have a lot in common, but there’s a pattern of relationships that bind them together. I need to speak to each of them for different reasons, and I can’t address them all alike.

If you have business lines that are divergent enough to need multiple customer personae, you may have a ‘one family’ too.

How can you tell? Take yourself out of the picture, and see what’s left.

Get to Know Your One Family

Now, this is not the same thing as a ‘tribe’. Your one family isn’t defined as, “those people who like and support me”.

Your one family is defined by the relationships between the family members. Not their relationship to you, but to each other.

Each of them has something the others want, even if you step out of the scene.

As long as you are on the scene, it means that you can make those people happier by helping them get what they want from each other, as well as from you.

I can help my readers connect and negotiate with potential clients, and I can improve the blogging services those clients get from my readers. Win-win. Plus a win for me, because I get to make everyone happy while cementing my authority as a freelance blogger.

Who’s Leading Your ‘One Family’?

In your little family of ideal customers, one will tend to be the leader. They’re the one exploring relatively uncharted territory, noticing trends and sharing their favourite discoveries. They dig the grass roots of the internet as well as the multi-million dollar blogs.

This is the type of person that your other ‘one people’ are ultimately listening to (often in aggregate) when it comes to trying something new or unfamiliar. They’re like the child introducing the parents to new things. And if you create something they love, they’ll talk about it.

When the leader of your ‘one family’ talks, the others listen sooner or later. We all know how persistent a child can be when they’re fascinated with something, right? A recommendation from the family leader can convert the whole family, since each of them already needs something you offer.

How to Research Your ‘One Family’ Tree

Mapping out your own ‘one family’ is simple. Not always easy, but it is simple. Just follow these 6 steps and you’ll be all set.

  1. Start at the beginning. Read Peter Vogopoulos’ post about your one person – if you already have, read it again! – and fill in the worksheet once for each of your multiple customer profile.
  2. Check your assumptions. Don’t have more people than you need in your ‘one family’. All you need to cover here is your ideal customer, and only for lines of business that can’t have the same ideal customer.
  3. Extend the profile. Go beyond the worksheet and add details you haven’t been asked for. Do they drink tea or coffee? Prefer cats or dogs? Baths or showers? Don’t spend forever on it, but note some of the quirks that make this the one person you’d really love to connect with.
  4. Take yourself out of the picture. You’re not part of the family, so forget what these people do for you and look at their own interests, fears and desires.
  5. Trace the relationships. Look at how the family members influence each other. Do they work together? Buy and sell from one another? Teach each other? Know each other socially? What value does each of them have to the rest of the family?
  6. Figure out who leads your family. Not the decision maker, but the person most likely to be involved in passing on new information. You won’t always be able to identify the leader right away, but with time you’ll see the flow of information. Then you can consciously tap into that flow to help you connect with the whole family.

Believe in Your ‘One Family’

Now you know your one family inside out, and each of them wants what you’re offering.

Great! Go and show it to them.

Go on. Just show them.

…You’re still here. Why are you still here?

Listen, don’t be shy. This is your one family. They love hearing from you, they enjoy everything you bring to them, and they support you. They believe in you. They value you.

They need you.

Now go and help them out!

Sophie Lizard (@sophielizard) teaches writers and non-writers to increase their income and build their professional reputation through freelance blogging. Grab a free copy of her Ultimate List of Better-Paid Blogging Gigs: 45 Blogs That Will Pay You $50 or More to get you started!

Comments

  1. says

    Hey, thanks Danny for letting me share this here! And thanks to Megan, too, for her insightful editing advice. :)

    If you just read this post and you’ve got questions, or a thought to share, drop it here in the comments section – I’ll be hanging out here to listen to you!

  2. Mike Kawula says

    Sophie this is a great post and really like all the content you’ve been sharing everywhere. I like the customer profile article you linked to in this. Best – Mike

    • says

      Hey Mike, thank you!

      Yep, that’s one of the top posts on Firepole Marketing, and it’s easy to see why. I found it incredibly helpful in focusing in on my ‘one person’, and defining my ‘one family’ too, especially with the free downloadable worksheet!

  3. says

    Hey Sophie, yeah it is overwhelming when you have multiple passions and can easily end up doing too much, especially if you have a host of ‘one’s’. Love your idea of seeing them as a family and perhaps mapping them out would make it really clear as well to see those relationships and what they individually need… Keep up the awesome work !!! Jo ;)

    • says

      Cheers Jo, and you’ve hit the nail on the head there – I suffer from chronic “doing too much” all the time!

      I had to find ways to manage my projects, and working out how to understand my multiple ideal customers made a big difference for me. Once I started thinking of their relationships to each other instead of to me, it all started to make a lot more sense.

      Glad you enjoyed it, and keep up the good work yourself! ;)

  4. says

    @Sophie – A nice detailed strategy for thinking persona’s through for those of us who are better with multiple niches than just one.

    I find that when researching persona’s it can be quite easy to slip into false assumptions about who your “family members” are and what they are like based on stereotypes. I find it very useful to just spend some time regularly hanging out in relevant forums and social media groups and comparing who I *think* my “ones” are, versus who the people like them actually seem to be when I meet them. Often, it’s a real eye opener! I know I made a lot of assumptions about who wanted to learn how to successfully get funded on Kickstarter, only to find out I was wrong about real basics like gender and age.

    Anyway, you list of research tips has been very helpful (love the post by Peter Vogopoulos, too). Peter Vogopoulos

    @Danny – It would be great if you could introduce guest posters at the beginning of an article, as it’s quite strange to be partway down and thinking that you’re referring to yourself in the third person. Even if you catch the “In guest posters” at the top, you still have no idea who’s writing it without scrolling to the bottom, which is a bit disorienting.

      • says

        *Chuckle*

        Thanks, Piers, for bringing that point up again about assumptions. I like your approach of hanging out with the people you *think* are your people and then comparing them to the people you’re actually doing business with, that’s very sensible.

        Also, it’s vital not to make assumptions about yourself. We can never assume that our self-evaluations are accurate, and we can’t assume that our own desires and values will stay the same forever, either. This part, I’m still working on. ;)

  5. Susan says

    For the past couple of years I have been trying to fathom out who my ideal customer really was. You see I had the one big idea but it soon separated out into different strands with different approaches. I got into a muddle and recently I have doing a review to try and sort it all out into some kind of manageable order. At least I now know I am not the only one who has managed to do this and that it is possible to make a cohesive whole out of it.

  6. says

    Hi Susan, thanks for sharing your experience – now I’m curious to know what your original unified idea was!

    It’s easy to start feeling confused in this situation, so it’s great that you’re reviewing things to get clear on your ideal customer(s). If you had one big idea at the start, then there will almost certainly be relationships between your ‘one person’ for different business lines.

    All the best & I hope you’ll let me know how it goes!

  7. says

    Very interesting, Sophie. As a freelance translator, my ideal customers are basically either project managers in translation companies or marketing managers in small-to-medium-sized Italian exporters or tourist enterprises.

    But: cats or dogs, baths or showers? How can you possibly get that kind of information with any degree of accuracy? Facebook, perhaps? I could imagine what my ideal customers might prefer, but it’d be total guesswork.

    • says

      Hi Oliver, yep, when you come to these minor quirks of your ideal customer I’m asking you to imagine and invent.

      Just as I can name my ideal customer “Andrew” without excluding the possibility of doing business with non-Andrews, you can add these extra details to help yourself get an understanding of the customer persona. So for example, your special ‘one person’ not only drinks coffee but also frequents little independent coffee shops because he’s a big believer in supporting small businesses.

      I totally made that up, but you can see how I’m building a persona for the ideal customer. These details don’t all have to be grounded in fact, just as long as they make sense for the type of person you want to do business with.

      In your case, ‘one person’ will probably cover all bases, so try filling out the free worksheet at http://www.firepolemarketing.com/blog/2011/04/30/customer-profiles/ and start from there!

  8. says

    I was already doing this, on several counts! Long ago I heard the advice about not spreading yourself too thin, but I said, “My reader spreads herself too thin; I might as well show her how it’s done.” (I write for moms. Moms usually are wives, too, not to mention artists, cooks, teachers, and so forth.) My ideal reader also wants to do things right, not do a half-way job, etc. She spreads herself too thin for her people and I don’t mind doing the same, myself, for her.
    Anyway, I also invented a wife and mom-to-be named “Angela”, to whom I write letters, as her “Ant Victoria”. I write her advice based on pretend questions she has asked me. My readers LOVE reading her mail!!!!! It’s really been working for me.
    So I can sort of testify here that what you are saying is totally great advice, if lots of work. :)

  9. says

    Yeah, spreading yourself too thin is an entrepreneurial hazard! There always needs to be enough of you left to make it through the rest of the day/week/month, so don’t exhaust yourself.

    Nice idea to write entire letters to your ‘one person’… the format might help you get deeper into your ideal customer’s perspective, and it’ll certainly help you keep a conversational tone. :)

  10. Willi Morris says

    I think my family is changing because my skill set is still writing focused, and I have been unable to find a client in the PI business who wants to hire me. Hopefully that will change soon. Great post.

  11. says

    Hey Williesha!

    Your writing and research/interviewing skills are big pluses when it comes to pursuing your interest in PI work; we just need to figure out what type of person needs *you* to do the job.

    I’d love to help, but I don’t know much about the PI industry – is there anyone you could approach for a little mentoring?

  12. says

    This is DEFINITELY me. Don’t know how I missed this post when it came out. It’s good (and inspiring) to see that I’m not alone. Now to find my one person who thinks I’m brilliant in every way possible!

  13. John a says

    Great article as many entrepreneurs struggle with multiple businesses and the one ideal customer profile. Just wanted to point out Marie Forleo didn’t really coin that phrase , Margaret lobenstein did back in 2000 in her book the Renaissance soul .

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