My Ideal Client Is…Not Frodo Baggins

It’s a wonderful night for Lord of the Rings references.

As I walked around my study, scribbling barely-legible words and phrases on my big Office Depot easel pad stuck to the wall, I did what many coaches, business articles, and professional development books instruct entrepreneurs to do at the start of a new business. I wrote down the specifics of who my ideal client is, trying to get as specific and be as honest with myself as possible.

It’s a good exercise.

After writing a dozen attributes of an ideal client, I came across one that struck me as odd. I had written, starting in all caps, “WANTS to lessen their workload.” I double-guessed myself, thinking that seemed rather obvious and not worth the space on my coveted easel paper. Of course someone who hired a virtual assistant would want to lessen their workload — why else would they hire one?

I thought about it a little more though. Personally I have fought to delegate my work to others before, not because I loved the strenuous workload or the stress headaches radiating behind my eyes. It was because I had come to one or more of the following conclusions:

  • It will take too much time to explain or train someone on the work.
  • I should be able to maintain the workload I have without any help.
  • The person taking over the work won’t meet my expectations.
  • I am the best person to conduct, perform, and/or complete said work.

When I re-read “WANTS to lessen their workload,” I immediately started mumbling Samwise Gamgee’s British-tinged quote, “Share the loaaaaad,” to myself. Don’t remember that part? Here, this right here.

(It’s the middle of the night and I’m busy Googling what types of accents Hobbits have)

Did you see that look of disdain on Frodo’s face when Samwise, heaven forbid, offered to help him with the ring? Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Frodo does indeed believe that he should be the one to bear the burden of the One Ring alone. Frodo succeeds in doing so, at a heavy cost. He is not looking too healthy at the end of that trilogy.

Perhaps the profound clarity regarding my ideal client will come later, when I have more time to contemplate my target demographic. But I did learn this, preliminary as it may be — I do not want a Frodo Baggins as a client, nor someone who will only allow me to carry his metaphorical lembas bread for him when I can truly help lighten a person’s workload. Like one of those Great Eagles that comes swooping down to save Frodo and Sam from dehydration and lava burns.

Or, you know, a virtual assistant who can help out businesses when they’re busy. Eagles sound cooler though.

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