A Customer Avatar: Build It Early To Avoid Early Profit-Eating New Business Mistakes | Emilia Gardner | Skillshare

A Customer Avatar: Build It Early To Avoid Early Profit-Eating New Business Mistakes

Emilia Gardner, Learning every day!

A Customer Avatar: Build It Early To Avoid Early Profit-Eating New Business Mistakes

Emilia Gardner, Learning every day!

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6 Lessons (28m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. What is an Avatar

    • 3. When Do You Need an Avatar

    • 4. Examples of Why This Matters

    • 5. Three Steps to an Avatar

    • 6. Class Project

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About This Class


I have worked with online and offline clients for more than ten years. One of my first questions when I get started with a new client is about their customer avatar. In many cases, the response I receive to that question is a blank look or "huh?" 

A customer avatar is different than a target audience or target customer. The target customer of a whitewater rafting shop is anyone who likes whitewater rafting and has money to spend on whitewater rafting. A customer avatar is much more that that. 

Once you have built out your avatar, so many of the early business and marketing hurdles fall away. 

In this class, you will learn what the avatar is, why it is important, and three simple steps to build your own. 

Meet Your Teacher

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Emilia Gardner

Learning every day!



My name is Emilia.

I'm not an expert. I'm learning every day, just like you. I'm here because I am passionate about: "Learn, Do, Teach." I truly believe that teaching is the best way to master a skill or concept. I create content around the topics that I am implementing for myself.



I am obsessed with building passive income streams. When my children arrived, my dreams of the corner office with the view changed. Now I dream of having complete control over my days so that I can be where I am needed, when I am needed. No more trading time for money. My classes focus heavily upon helping others build the same skills that I have learned (and earned) since making my career pivot. 

One of my goals here at Ski... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Hello and welcome. I am Amelia. I have worked with clients and businesses for more than 10 years in the online and offline space. I have worked with brick and mortar business owners, and I have immersed myself in building the skills of online business. I mean, think websites, online stores, driving, traffic, marketing, sales. You got it. I'm currently focusing on helping small business owners and entrepreneurs who are just getting started in business to harness the power of the Internet, get their websites going, start using email lists and doing email marketing and building the power of social media so they could get their first clients and start making money in their chosen niche service or profession. One of the first things I asked fledgling business owners when they come to me, you know, asking for help, trying t get things going on. My asked them, Tell me about your client avatar, your dream customer. Your target markets generally, they're not coming to me asking, you know how to develop their target customer, their target market. They asked me questions like, How can I sell more products or, you know, I'd like to make more money or or How can I make my business successful? But again, before I get down into products or expenses or looking at paperwork, their employees, marketing strategies, anything, I asked them, Who are you selling your product to? Who is your business center around? And you will not believe how Maney business owners cannot provide really adequately the details or information about their customer avatar and my consultations with local business owners and sell a printer's. I just I just asked them first thing. One of the things I asked them, This is Tell me about your business and the first thing they want to tell me about is their product they sell or the service they provide. And this happens every single time. And by the way, these individuals, it can't really punish them or criticize them for thinking this way, because starting your own business is so very personal. We develop businesses based upon our ideas what sort of business we want tohave what sort of interests we have after all this business, it's our baby. We don't want to sell products that we don't know anything about. We don't want to sell products that we don't like ourselves. I mean, how are we gonna saw something we just don't like we don't use? We wouldn't use me. How could you recommend somebody buy something that you think is a bad product? Um, we just can't sell things that we aren't passionate about. I mean, the whole point of having your own business really is to do something that we love, right? Um, unfortunately, that focus on passion and love for the delivery of a product or service is the downfall of so many businesses. You can sell your passion product or service if you know how to sell it and who to sell it to. But if you don't do work early on to develop your client avatar, then this will be incredibly difficult because you don't have a good sense of who it is that you're trying to sell it to. So in this class, I'm going to teach you about this key component of starting your successful business building your client avatar. By the end of this simple beginner's class, you'll know what decline avatar is when in the business planning stage, you should create your avatar. Why having a client after matters and step by step, how to simply build your own client ab time 2. What is an Avatar: All right, let's get into it. What is the client's avatar so quick? Answer the customer or client Avatar is the answer to the question. Who are you going to sell to, Who is going to buy your product? Who is going to give you money and keep your business life? You might be thinking of the avatar's. You're in a dream customer or your target market, but your avatar is going to be more than just your target market. For example, if you own a store focused on selling white water rafting products, you have boats. You have paddles, you have life jackets. Your avatar is more than just generally people who like rafting or who will buy rafting type products. You're gonna have to go and drill down deeper into the this theme of of who it is that will actually buy rafting products. And what sort of characteristics do those rafters have? Because once you know what those things are, then you can more easily sell to them and develop products for them. Your client avatar is going to be your creation, and it's individualized to you in your business. It's not something that you could just go and get from somewhere else online. It is a work up of the person who will, ideally by everything you have to offer. It doesn't matter what it is that you're selling these air people who will buy everything that you have. And here's the key. It's not just what they want to buy. The key is that they want to buy it from you. This is why you can't just choose the same characteristics and details from a competitors avatar. Your competitors. Avatar is not going to work for you. In most cases, to succeed in your business online or offline, you are going to be actively trying to differentiate yourself from your competitors so your client avatar is going to be and needs to be different from that of your competitors. Otherwise, it will be difficult for your ideal customer client to make a decision to buy what you have to offer and creating your after you have to look inside of yourself and not your strengths and weaknesses. Are you someone who works well with beginners? Do you want to work with beginners, or would you rather work with people who have already established some skill and expertise . For example, let's go to, um, Russell runs and in his book dot com secrets. He talks extensively about how he was doing really well, helping people start businesses online, but that he hated the work he was doing because instead of helping people build their dreams, you know, really build their business and scaling their business is the majority of his days were spent helping people set up their hosting and Web sites. He had not really spent any time thinking about who he wanted to work with and who he really wanted to help and instead focused on on what he had to offer people and really, uh, just took an engaged with anyone who had money to buy the service that he had to offer. Once he sat down and created his personal avatar, the focus of his entire business changed because he knew who his customer waas. And once you know who your customer is, you can more easily find them and attract them. Here's another real world example. Garrett. Why is a fairly controversial guy who created a coaching program for a very specific profile of customer? He will tell you outright that he has just stopped trying to sell products and services to people that he doesn't know or can't understand. His programs are aimed specifically at a middle aged men who are married, have kids who are also business owners and really don't mind that he cuss ALS all the time . When he speaks about building his business, you know, conferences or masterminds. He gets a lot of laughs when he speaks about how he doesn't understand women and because he doesn't understand women, he doesn't try to sell products or services to them. In fact, he goes out of his way to repel those individuals who are not in his avatar women. So, um, part of the way he brings people into his coaching programs is with the heavy use of video and movies. Hey, has a whole team creating videos for him aimed at Hiss customer avatar. Before he launches a video, he will ask Hiss wife to sit down and watch his videos, and he asked what she thinks, and if she says that she hates it, he will use it right because she is not his avatar. He doesn't want to attract her, so he wants to push her away, and she hates it. If she wouldn't buy his product, she wouldn't go any further or watch another video that he had produced. That's something that he feels like is a winner, because he feels like it's aimed at his ideal customer, who was not her. And he gets lots of laughs. And I love to when I heard him say this, but he said that if she likes it and she thought, Oh, that was a really good one, honey. Then he sends it backs to his team, and he won't use it because he's really, really focused on just selling, doing his best to reach that one after now. Why wouldn't someone like Garrett White or Russell Bronson want people outside their avatar ? Russell Bronson says that it was soul sucking. It was killing him to serve people that weren't in his avatar. Garrett White found that he just wasn't good at it, and he couldn't actually make good money doing what he was doing, trying to serve people he couldn't understand. They weren't in his avatar. Um, in my experience, you can make more money and generate fewer headaches for yourself by focusing on the client or customer that you could actually do good work for that. You can knock their socks off that you can do amazing things for them, not just anyone who happens to come through the door with the cash to sign up. 3. When Do You Need an Avatar: When should you create your after Now, this may seem obvious, but what I'm going to say is you should create your customer client avatar as early as possible in your business planning. If you can start it at the very, very beginning, as the first thing you do before you do anything else, I would implore you to do that. If you have already started your business, don't worry, it's never too late. All it could possibly do is make your business better. It could only make you a better business woman Businessman. Celebrate our expert consultant and knowing who your target client is. I mean, it can only make it better. But if you are struggling about where to get started on how to get started, you know people get mixed up and, you know, thinking about Elsie's or corporations or, you know, documents. And you know what? They should file on this, that whatever. I just tell them to stop and just focus on who it is that you are trying to serve. Who is it that you want to sell to Who is your dream customer? Okay, once you have done that, so many things will fall into place. Behind that, you will figure out what sort of business it is that you want to have and you know that will tell you. Is this products or services or a combination of both and which products in which services they will all become so clear when you have created your after most people, unfortunately, start with the service or product they want to offer, and then they might get to their customer down the road, if at all. Because once you start signing leases, you start buying products in stock for your business. You start advertising hiring people. It is incredibly difficult to take the time to sit down and really think through this exercise, and this is one of the reasons it's so neglected. I mean people who are starting their own business, working for themselves, there's just not a lot of time. You should also plan to return to your after once you've created it on a regular basis. Every time you evaluate your business, your product service, adding new products, new services, making changes, hiring and firing, make sure that this all fits within your after because if it doesn't, then what you could be creating is a situation war. Your customers might be confused about what it is that you're doing, what you're offering and, you know, they just may go and buy products and services from your competitors who have this avatar thing better lined up. 4. Examples of Why This Matters: the client avatar is a description of your ideal client. If you know your client avatar inside and out, then it will become very easy to sell products to them. If you start with your product, you will have to figure out how to do it in reverse. How to find the customer who wants to buy the product you already have. You might find that this is very difficult, or perhaps impossible based upon the product. You're a geographical location or your advertising budget. It is incredibly discouraging to find out that it costs way too much and add spent to acquire customer for a product that you have already invested in. If you develop your customer avatar, you will be able to develop products and services that they will rave about and by, if you know them, their characteristics, what they look like, what they're passionate about, what their goals and dreams and desires are. You'll know exactly what you can successfully sell to them. You also know where you can find them to sell those things to them. Here are some real world examples of what happens if you don't develop an arbiter, so I worked with the realtor who has tons of experience, and she was looking to make more money coaching other realtors. We talked about what she would use to attract her coaching clients. Now she had gone and prepared a ton of materials, thinking that she would use that to bring in coaching clients. And when we looked at her materials, they were all materials aimed at brand new Realtor. So how to get started? You know, getting that first sale. You know, all these things that would be great for someone who's brand new. Um, and I asked her. He said, Realtor friend is Is this your ideal client? And she said, Well, I mean, sure, you know, they they need coaching. I said, Is that someone who's just getting started? Are they going to be able to afford you? And we thought about it And dance was probably not. So, you know, while it would be great, Teoh toe have ah, brand new realtor who just happened to have money to invest in coaching. Probably her ideal coaching client was going to be someone who had already been out for a year or two and had already made some sales. But They're individuals who are looking at taking their business to the next level, someone who can actually afford high quality coaching. So we developed different bait. I'm gonna put my records bait to attract the right could kind of coaching client for her. Now here's another example of what happens frequently online. All right, we'll call this individual Jenny. Jenny loves jewelry. She decides that she wants to have a business selling jewelry, and she's heard all about drop shipping online. You know she's getting prompt. All kinds of advertisements on Facebook about shop ified would commerce, so she decides to start a store. I mean, why not with Shopify, you can get the first month for free, and it only cost 30 or 40 bucks a month after that. So there's not a lot of downside, especially if you're going to drop ship your products from China because you don't have to buy anything upfront. So she figures that she can sell, you know, just simple, you know, cheap alloy metal necklaces for a couple of bucks, get e packet shipping for free through Ali Express so she doesn't have additional shipping costs, and she doesn't have to do the shipping herself. She'll be good to go. But the problem is, who's her customer, and how much will it cost for her to get that customer in front of her offer to buy it? So those cheap necklaces are being sold all over the Internet, often for less than what Jenny wants to sell them for. She goes on Facebook and starts running ads and discovers that it costs between seven and $10 to get a sale of a $4 necklace. She also discovers that the customers who are interested in buying a necklace for a couple dollars, you know between one and $4 are not great customers. Sometimes they may get confused about the kind of metal they might think that they were really getting silver and are pissed off when they realized that they got a cheap knock off in the mail a couple weeks later. They are folks that generally will have no problems demanding returns. They want refunds, they want their money back, and they are much more of a hassle than they are a customer that you can use to make money . Now. Maybe Jenny could have made the prophet product profitable want Facebook with advertising. But at this point in the process, she doesn't know enough about her customer to develop much of a custom audience of Facebook . She doesn't know what they like, but they dislike who they follow, what videos they watch. She chose the Shopify store because it seemed fun and interesting to her. But in hindsight, she would have been better off thinking through her customer and how and what to sell to them. And I'll just tell you right now, you're customer. Avatar is never going to include broke people or people who can't afford to buy the product you were selling. If you aim your product in advertising at people who cannot afford what you are selling, you are asking for trouble. They might buy it, but they are more likely to want to return, refund or complain about the product to get their money back. And that can include going onto your Facebook business page to complain, to leave nasty comments on any of your ads, um, to go and publish posts on their blog's or anywhere else in the world to complain about you to get their money back 5. Three Steps to an Avatar: alright In this lesson, we're going to go through step by stuff what it is that you will need to do to build your own client after so Step one. It's really simple. But open up a word dark or an Excel spreadsheet. Or just get out a piece of paper and a pencil and sit down free of distractions. And just start writing down the answers to the following questions in as much detail as you can. But ask yourself, Whom is this person who is the person who is going to walk into your store or see your website and want to buy what they look like? I mean, really, get down and think about it. Are these people who are in shape or not in shape? Are they people who are tall or short? Are they of a specific nationality? Your demographic? And this isn't about discrimination here. This is about getting down to what it is that you can do to identify with a specific customer, and so if you are headed down the road of thinking that you want to serve ah, you know the Latino population like it's okay to write those things down it's It's not like you're going to prevent yourself from selling products to people of one color or the other . But you have to know, you know, these things are going to matter. So do not be afraid to say this is who, Uh, I'm I want to sell tour. This is who is my target population. And you're not going to get being legally because your target population happens to be Latino or European or whatever is just, you know. Okay, this is a product that I have in my mind. And this is the dream customer. Or maybe as you're developing this, you said I really want to serve the Latino population. I really want to make my dream customer. This individual group. I really want my ideal customer to be Latino males who are aged 35 to 45 you know? So don't be afraid to get down there and really look at this. But so we're looking at who they are. What do they look like? How old are they, you know, Are they married or not? What level of education have the achieved? Is that gonna be an important component in selling your product? to them. Are they going to be male or female? Are these folks employed or not? Are they retired or they stay at home? Moms are the digital nomads. What is it that they do for a living? And how do they pay their goats? What do they like to do aside from work? Do they like to read? They like to watch TV. Do they like to surf the Internet? Do they like to play basketball? All appalled today? Paint. Do they ice skate? Did they like pottery or underwater basket weaving? You know what are their goals? What would these people like to do? Did these people want to go to college? Do these people want to get an advanced degree? Do they want to start a business? Do they want to lose weight? Do they want Teoh have red hair? Do they want to travel to Europe? You know, knowing what it is that they want. What sort of result that they would love to have in their life makes it incredibly easy to develop products for them because you're going to develop products that people actually want. So once you have this, you know, maybe this is something that takes you a long time to create. Maybe this is something that takes longer than an hour or a day or a couple weeks if you really sit down and think about it. But you might have a pretty big list of characteristics and qualities, you know, and not just do they like television is what do they watch? What specific shows do these individuals like to watch if they're on the Internet? You know what, um, public figures Do they like and follow and like to read block posts about or what podcast did they listen to and we're looking for is many specifics as possible. Step two, Now that you have this giant list is he should go online and look for a random photo of, uh, that person, that customer, you know, what is it that they might look like? This sounds silly, but you know when it's, ah, a spreadsheet of just words down there, you know, it doesn't seem like a person. It doesn't seem like something riel. So if you can find a picture of someone that you could post on your wall above your computer or in your workspace, you know, they could be a male female, one of each. Like you could have a non avatar for male and female. If you're going to market towards both sexes, you know, have their profile developed for each of them. Um, it makes a difference when you know and you have even given a name. You can call them Derek and Shannon that knowing you know who these people are and what they look like. It makes a difference. Um, step three, once you have the list of characteristics of your avatar and what they might look like just for your desk is you need to figure out and again start listing and making a list again is where can you find this person? So if you've done your job in step one and you've made an extensive list of what they like , then it isn't difficult to figure out where to find them. So if they are young and they use the Internet a lot, I would suggest that it would be easy to find them on Facebook or Snapchat or Instagram or any of the other social media sites. Where do they work? You know, if they you want to find them specifically. Where? Where are they working? Are they working in brick and mortar stores? Are the students you know? Are they at university? Are they in clothing stores? You know, Did they work online? Are the lawyers and they work in offices, you know, And if you know where they are for work, you know how it is that you'll get your offers air products in front of them. If there are people who are our online, you know that's gonna make it easier. But if there people who are offline, you will also know that you are able to target them. Um, if you haven't not developed the who, then it will be incredibly difficult to effectively develop the where. I would say that the who and the wear of the Avatar are the most important components for your business. And once you have developed the who and the where you can, then you know, finalize or even develop your products from the beginning because you'll know what they want to buy, and you'll know how to find them to sell it to them. You will know what their pain points are, what they are looking for to solve their problems, what they need, what they don't need and what they're willing to buy. This avatar exercise is particularly useful for selling online because so much of driving traffic on the Internet is about knowing your customer on Facebook. You develop audiences to show your ads to based upon the information Facebook collects. You know what they click on, what they like, what they don't like, what they watch or don't watch, whether they spend money online or not, that pesky little Facebook pixel is following all of us around online. If you don't shut it off, it goes beyond Facebook and knows what you are reading. What you google, what you watch on YouTube as a business, you can harness that data and put your products right in front of people who are likely to be interested and able to buy. The same is true for developing content online. You know what people are searching for and Web browsers. You know, the keywords to create ads around and Google and be knowing all of this about your customer means you can target them efficiently and directly. But the same is true offline. If your customer as a millennial who lives in the city who doesn't drive a car and gets her news from Facebook. You wouldn't invest in face in television, radio or phone book advertisements to sell products to her. If your customer is between the ages of 65 85 who watches news on a television, doesn't use the Internet doesn't is a smartphone, then you wouldn't pursue messenger bots, Facebook ads or Google advertisements. You might consider radio or the Yellow Pages, because this age group still utilizes these devices. Obviously these air some very general examples, but I use them to emphasize this point. You would think it is obvious, but for many who are just getting started, it is not. 6. Class Project: So for the class project with this class, what I'd like to see you do is actually sit down and go through the three steps that we talked about in developing your customer client Avatar. Once you have completed your avatar, you should upload it to the class project section so that other people can see what your avatar looks like and will help them to go ahead and do the same.