When I first started my writing business I didn’t think about the kind of clients I wanted to attract. If they paid me, then they were great clients! I wouldn’t have thought it possible to turn away ANY client. These were the dark days of the Great Recession and I needed money to pay for my child’s daycare, gas, Constant Contact service, Internet, etc. After spending a lot of time in networking groups, I attracted a lot of business writing clients who needed me to write up their brochures (remember those?), websites and blogs. At this time, I was also writing feature articles for IncTechnology.com and Wake Living, as well as book reviews for The Pedestal Magazine.

As the years passed and the Great Recession became as forgotten as a lost penny, I started narrowing my focus even more by not taking any more business writing clients and solely focusing on my book coaching, workshops, VIP (my correspondence course) clients and book editing business. I did a great job with that focus and have now attracted the right clients for me—these are folks who are writing fiction, memoir and poetry. But, I still wasn’t satisfied. I love teaching workshops and hosting retreats, and I wasn’t attracting the right clients.

How did I know they weren’t the right ones, you ask? These folks complained about everything except the content of my class. If on their feedback forms they complained about what I taught, then I KNEW they were my people! But if they focused their energies on telling the food sucked, or it was so cold in the room or I made them write too much, then they weren’t a good fit for me.

The funny thing is that I didn’t take any action on this problem for a long time because I figured any butts in the seats were a good thing. I was so wrong. My lifelong co-dependent tendencies were rearing up like zombies. Yes, my name is Alice and I am a co-dependent. But I’m aware now! It’s okay not to please everyone and to differentiate yourself. The sooner you learn that not everyone is your client, the closer you’ll be to attracting awesome clients!

Back in January, I had six cancellations for a fiction writing retreat and I was shocked. I had never experienced such an onslaught of refund requests! Some were legit, but others…After returning about $500, I first decided to update my refund policy and then ask for help. I shared my frustrations with a wise editor friend from Charlotte and she told me to post IN WRITING who my ideal workshop client is. She said I probably won’t see that amount of cancellations again. Brilliant! I had said on my workshop descriptions that the class was suitable for intermediate writers (my ideal client), but I had never defined what an intermediate writer was. Now I say that “This class is best suited for intermediate writers—intermediate writers are those who set aside time each week to write, have publicly shared their work and who have taken a few writing classes (prior publication is a not a requirement to be an intermediate writer).” As a result of this clear definition, I had a very successful workshop and ended up with my goal of 12 participants. Since I’ve adjusted my refund policy and my descriptions, no one has asked me for a refund.


It takes trust and faith in yourself to say no, which says yes to who you want to attract. Disregard that nagging voice that says, “You’ll go broke if you don’t open up to everyone!” That’s nonsense. Value yourself and your products and services. Be a hero.


Are you ready to take that leap to attract awesome clients?